With one of Mark Wahlberg's best openings ever, Universal’s Contraband managed to hold off Disney’s 3D release, Beauty and the Beast, to claim first place over the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. Chart mainstay Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol took third place ahead of newcomer Joyful Noise, while The Devil Inside had one of the worst second weekend drops ever. The Top 12 made around $116 million this weekend, which is about on par with the same frame last year.
Contraband debuted to an estimated $24.1 million for the three-day weekend, which ranks seventh all-time for star Mark Wahlberg. Most of the movies ahead of it are either established brands (Planet of the Apes) or ensemble pieces (The Departed), though, and Contraband wound up ahead of similar movies like Four Brothers ($21.2 million), The Italian Job ($19.5 million), and Shooter ($14.5 million). It also outperformed January action movies Edge of Darkness ($17.2 million) and Smokin' Aces ($14.6 million), and it was even close to matching Taken's $24.7 million.
After the resounding success of The Lion King's 3D re-release, Disney opted to give Beauty and the Beast the re-release treatment as well. Its $18.5 million debut was less than The Lion King's $30.2 million, though it was more than the Toy Story/Toy Story 2 double feature ($12.5 million) and seems to confirm that there is a decent audience for re-issues of classic movies.
Paramount’s Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol fell 42 percent to an estimated $11.5 million, which brings its impressive total to $186.7 million. On Saturday, the movie passed the original Mission: Impossible's $181 million to become the second highest-grossing entry in the series, and it will next try to top Mission: Impossible II's $215.4 million.
Warner Bros.’ Joyful Noise opened to an estimated $11.3 million, which is down a bit from Queen Latifah's Last Holiday ($12.8 million), but up from some of her other recent leading roles like Just Wright ($8.3 million) and Mad Money ($7.7 million).
Warner Bros.’Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows held well in its fifth outing. The sequel dipped 39 percent to an estimated $8.4 million, and has so far earned $170 million.
After easily taking first place last weekend, Paramount’s The Devil Inside fell all the way to sixth place this week with an estimated $7.9 million. Its 76.6 percent decline is the 19th-biggest drop on record, although the movie has now made $46.2 million on a budget of less than $1 million.
The Weinstein Company’s The Iron Lady expanded in to 802 locations this weekend and earned an estimated $5.4 million. Its $6,716 per-theater average is nearly identical to that of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy during its similar nationwide expansion last weekend. Carnage didn't fare quite so well in its expansion—the Roman Polanski-directed theater adaptation netted $786,000 from 494 venues for a poor average of $1,591.
Box office numbers were obtained on boxofficemojo.com .