First look: ‘Blind Side’ tops box office as four new movies disappoint, ‘Up in the Air’ soars

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A relatively modest post-holiday drop put box-office phenom ‘The Blind Side’ at No. 1 on its third weekend in theaters.

Meanwhile, four new movies in wide release opened to less than $10 million each, meaning that despite their modest budgets, all will probably struggle to reach profitability. In limited release, however, Paramount Pictures saw a very strong start for its well-reviewed George Clooney drama ‘Up in the Air.’

‘The Blind Side’ fell 49% to a studio-estimated $20.4 million, a sign of continued strong interest after its spectacular performance over Thanksgiving. The inspirational drama starring Sandra Bullock, which cost Alcon Entertainment only $35 million to produce, has sold $129.3 million of tickets in the U.S. and Canada.

War drama ‘Brothers’ was the biggest of the new movies, though it also came with the strongest expectations thanks in part to a cast that includes Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman. It debuted to a soft but not disastrous $9.7 million. The movie, which was distributed by Lionsgate, cost Relativity Media $26 million to produce. ‘Brothers,’ an adaptation of a Danish film, may have been hurt by mixed reviews that could have turned off some given its weighty subject matter.


‘Armored,’ the latest action thriller from Sony Screen Gems, opened to just $6.6 million, making it a rare misfire for the studio’s genre label. It cost about $20 million to produce and stars Matt Dillon and Laurence Fishburne.

The last release from Miramax Films before most of its operations are folded into parent Walt Disney Studios failed to impress. ‘Everybody’s Fine,’ which was co-financed by Radar Pictures for a little more than $20 million, collected just $4 million in its opening. The family comedy, which stars Robert De Niro, is the latest in a string of disappointments for the once hugely successful highbrow and genre label.

Start-up distributor Full Circle’s first effort, horror comedy ‘Transylmania,’ was an absolute disaster, collecting just $274,000 on its first weekend.

‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’ continues to decline quickly after its massive opening, dropping 63% on its third weekend to $15.7 million. The teen vampire drama, which cost Summit Entertainment about $50 million to produce, remains huge overseas, grossing $40.7 million. Its worldwide total is a monstrous $570.1 million.

‘Up in the Air,’ which was named the best film of the year Friday by the National Board of Review, debuted to a very strong $1.2 million at only 15 locations. Its average take of $79,000 per theater is the third-biggest for any movie this year, behind only ‘The Princess and the Frog’ and ‘Precious.’

-- Ben Fritz