Who Watches the Watchmen? Audiences Do.

Warner Bros.' long-awaited comicbook adaptation WATCHMEN opened in first place at the weekend box office, earning $55.2 million (including Thursday night showings at midnight). The film, the only wide release of the weekend, had vfx work from CIS Hollywood, Drac Studios, Gentle Giant Studios, Intelligent Creatures, Lidar Services, Moving Picture Company, Proof, Quantum Creation FX, Rising Sun Pictures, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Svengali Visual Effects.

The IMAX release contributed $5.4 million of the $55 million that the film grossed at the domestic box office, on a total of 124 North American IMAX screens this weekend. The picture posted a domestic IMAX per screen average of $43,863. Internationally, the picture generated an estimated $727,000 from 29 IMAX screens, out of an overseas total of $27.5 million from 5,097 theaters internationally for a worldwide total of $83.2 million (per VARIETY). The film's worldwide IMAX opening total was $6.2 million.

Last week's winner, TYLER PERRY'S MADEA GOES TO JAIL (Lionsgate) came in second in its third week out with $8.5M and a total gross of $76.2M. Fox's durable actioner TAKEN dropped only 25 percent in its sixth week out, moving up to third place with $7.3M and a total gross of $117.9M.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Fox Searchlight) came in fourth place with $6.8M and a 17-week cume of $125.3M. Sony's comedy PAUL BLART: MALL COP is also showing strong legs, with a fifth place finish (up one) with $4.1M and an eight-week gross of $133.6M.

Sixth place went to HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU (Warner Bros./New Line) with $4.02M and $84.6M in five weeks in release. Holding at seventh place was stop-motion fairy tale CORALINE (Focus Features, animation by Laika) with $3.3M and $65.6M in five weeks.

Disney's CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC was also up one place in the standings with an eighth place finish and another $3.1M. In four weeks, the film has made $38.3M.

Disney's other big early-year film, JONAS BROTHERS: THE 3D CONCERT EXPERIENCE, dropped about 77 percent in its second week out for ninth place (down from second) and $2.8M. It has a total gross of $16.8M. The film's vfx was by Furious FX and Tippett Studio.

And holding steady in tenth place was cheerleading comedy FIRED UP! (Screen Gems, vfx by Lola Visual Effects) with $2.5M and a three-week total of $13.2M.

In animated films, WALTZ WITH BASHIR (Sony Pictures Classics) made $87,535 in 129 theaters for an 11-week gross of $2.03M. FLY ME TO THE MOON from Summit made $53,320 in nine theaters and $13.1M in 30 weeks.

Box office information from BoxOfficeMojo.com.

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