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Liam Neeson Beats Alex Pettyfer + Justin Bieber Success Story

Liam Neeson Unkown Frank LangellaLiam Neeson in 'Unknown' with Frank Langella.

Liam Neeson 'Unknown' tops domestic box office for last time?

em>Feb. 24, '11, update: Jaume Collet-Serra's thriller Unknown topped the North American box office on Thursday, Feb. 24, '11. Starring Liam Neeson, January Jones, Diane Kruger, Aidan Quinn, Frank Langella, Sebastian Koch, and veteran Bruno Ganz, Unknown collected $1.5 million according to studio figures found at Box Office Mojo.

That probably marked Unknown's last time at the no. 1 spot in the U.S. and Canada. Bobby and Peter Farrelly's lowbrow comedy Hall Pass, starring Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis, is expected to gross around $20 million, thus topping the domestic box office chart on Oscar weekend.

Studio heads, who couldn't give a damn about trophies and critical kudos, are probably oblivious to the irony. After all, they want revenues, and stupidity usually sells. Hall Pass, by the way, has a rotten 29 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.

Liam Neeson, I should add, received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List (1993). He lost to Tom Hanks in Philadelphia.

'Gnomeo & Juliet' beats Adam Sandler, Alex Pettyfer

At no. 2 on Thursday, Gnomeo & Juliet, featuring songs by Elton John, and the voices of James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Matt Lucas, and Maggie Smith, earned $1.38 million.

At no. 3, the Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston comedy Just Go with It, also featuring Brooklyn Decker and Nicole Kidman, pulled in $1.27 million.

I Am Number Four took in $1.21 million at no. 4. Directed by D.J. Caruso, the sci-fi thriller features Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, and Dianna Agron.

Colin Firth beats Justin Bieber

Up two spots at no. 5, Tom Hooper's The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and veteran Claire Bloom (Three Into Two Won't Go, A Severed Head), drew $708,000.

Down one spot at no. 6, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never brought in $690,000. It was followed by the Martin Lawrence comedy Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son with $668,000 at no. 7.

Next in line was Kevin Macdonald-Channing Tatum's The Eagle with $292,000 at no. 8.

Oscar movies 'True Grit,' 'The Fighter'

Rounding out the top twelve were:

Among the top twelve movies, Liam Neeson's Unknown had the highest per-theater average, $494. The Roommate had the lowest, $117.

All but one movie among the top twelve were up on Thursday. True Grit posted the highest Wed.-to-Thu. gains, up 11.5 percent. Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son was the only top twelve movie to post an attendance drop, down a modest 2.5 percent.

Liam Neeson Unknown January JonesLiam Neeson in 'Unknown' with January Jones.

Liam Neeson tops box office once again

Update: Jaume Collet-Serra's Unknown held tight at the top of the North American box office on Wed., Feb. 23, '11, according to Box Office Mojo.

Unknown collected $1.48 million. The action thriller stars Liam Neeson, January Jones, Diane Kruger, Aidan Quinn, Frank Langella, Sebastian Koch, and veteran Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire, The American Friend).

At no. 2, Gnomeo & Juliet, featuring songs by Elton John, and the voices of James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Matt Lucas, Michael Caine, and Maggie Smith, earned $1.31 million.

At no. 3, the Jennifer Aniston-Adam Sandler comedy Just Go with It pulled in $1.25 million.

I Am Number Four took in $1.18 million at no. 4. Directed by D.J. Caruso, the sci-fi thriller features Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, and Dianna Agron.

At no. 5, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never brought in $686,000. The Bieber bio-musical was followed by the lowbrow Martin Lawrence comedy Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son with $685,000.

Next in line were Tom Hooper's The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and Claire Bloom, with $668,000 at no. 7 and Kevin Macdonald-Channing Tatum's The Eagle with $276,000 at no. 8.

'The Fighter' back in the box office ring

Rounding out the top twelve were:

  • Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher's No Strings Attached with $258,000.
  • Leighton Meester-Minka Kelly's The Roommate with $246,000.
  • Jeff Bridges-Hailee Steinfeld's True Grit with $183,000.
  • Mark Wahlberg-Amy Adams' The Fighter, back among the top twelve after a long absence, with $152,000.

Executive produced by Avatar and Titanic's James Cameron, Sanctum was down two spots at no. 14. Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, starring Best Actress Oscar nominee Natalie Portman, was no. 13.

Among the top twelve movies, Unknown had the highest per-theater average, $487. The Roommate had the lowest, $114.

Also among the top twelve, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never posted the highest Tue.-to-Wed. drop-off rate, down 29 percent. The King's Speech posted the lowest, down 9.5 percent. The Fighter was the only top-twelve movie to post gains, a modest 1 percent.

Liam Neeson Unknown MovieLiam Neeson in 'Unknown' movie 2011.

Liam Neeson 'Unknown' movie back at no. 1

Jaume Collet-Serra's action-thriller Unknown regained its position as the no. 1 movie at the North American box office on Tue., Feb. 22, '11, according to Box Office Mojo.

Starring Liam Neeson, January Jones, Diane Kruger, Aidan Quinn, Frank Langella, Sebastian Koch, and Bruno Ganz, Unknown collected $1.96 million.

Down one spot at no. 2, Gnomeo & Juliet, which features songs by Elton John, and the voices of James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, and Matt Lucas, earned $1.79 million.

Up one spot at no. 3, the Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston comedy Just Go with It pulled in $1.58 million.

Down one spot at no. 4, I Am Number Four scored $1.55 million. Directed by D.J. Caruso, the sci-fi thriller features Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Dianna Agron, and Teresa Palmer.

Up one spot at no. 5, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never brought in $963,000.

Martin Lawrence, Colin Firth

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never was followed by the Martin Lawrence comedy Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son with $935,000, down one spot at no. 6. Also in the cast: Brandon T. Jackson, Portia Doubleday, and Jessica Lucas.

Next in line were Tom Hooper's The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and Claire Bloom with $738,000 at no. 7 and Kevin Macdonald-Channing Tatum's The Eagle with $345,000, up one spot at no. 8.

Rounding out the top twelve were:

  • Leighton Meester-Minka Kelly's The Roommate with $315,000.
  • Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher's No Strings Attached with $295,000.
  • Jeff Bridges-Hailee Steinfeld's True Grit with $194,000.
  • Alister Grierson's Sanctum with $179,000. Cast: Rhys Wakefield, Ioan Gruffudd, and Richard Roxburgh.

Among the top twelve movies, Liam Neeson's Unknown had the highest per-theater average, $646. Sanctum had the lowest, $130.

Also among the top twelve, Gnomeo & Juliet – like most kiddie flicks a weekend / holiday performer – posted the highest Mon.-to-Tue. drop-off rate, down 71 percent. No Strings Attached posted the lowest, down 41 percent.

 

Frank Langella, January Jones, and Liam Neeson Unknown images: Warner Bros.

Liam Neeson Unknown thrillerLiam Neeson in 'Unknown' thriller.

Liam Neeson 'Unknown' movie tops President's Day weekend box office

em>Feb. 21, '11, update:Starring Liam Neeson, Jaume Collet-Serra's action-thriller Unknown was the no. 1 movie at the U.S. and Canada box office over the four-day 2011 President's Day weekend (Feb. 18-21). But Monday's success stories are those of the animated feature Gnomeo & Juliet – the day's top picture – and the 3D Justin Bieber documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, as both crossed the $50 million mark today.

If studio estimates hold, after 11 days Gnomeo & Juliet has scored $55.84 million, while the $13 million-budget Never Say Never has reached $51.37 million.

'Unknown' vs. 'Taken'

The $30 million-budget Unknown collected $25.62 million at 3,043 sites according to studio estimates. For comparison's sake: Neeson's action-thriller hit Taken debuted at 3,183 sites on Jan. 30, '09, grossing $24.71 million (approx. $26.4 million today) on its first (three-day) weekend.

Another sort of comparison: In four days, Unknown made more money than another $30 million-budget movie that has been out for 18 days: executive producer James Cameron's 3D adventure Sanctum, whose estimated total is $22.28 million.

Besides Best Actor Academy Award nominee Liam Neeson (for Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List), Unknown features January Jones, Diane Kruger, Aidan Quinn, Frank Langella, Sebastian Koch, and veteran Bruno Ganz (The American Friend, Vitus).

Gnomeo and Juliet'Gnomeo & Juliet,' with Elton John songs.

'Gnomeo & Juliet' beats Alex Pettyfer 'I Am Number Four'

Up one spot at no. 2, Kelly Asbury's Gnomeo & Juliet, which features songs by Elton John, and the voices of James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Matt Lucas, and two-time Oscar winners Maggie Smith (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, California Suite) and Michael Caine (Hannah and Her Sisters, The Cider House Rules), earned $24.82 million.

Down one spot at no. 3, the $60 million-budget sci-fi thriller I Am Number Four took in $22.6 million from 3,154 locations. Directed by D.J. Caruso, I Am Number Four features Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, and Dianna Agron.

At no. 4, the Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston comedy Just Go with It pulled in $21.7 million. It was followed by the lowbrow Martin Lawrence comedy Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son, with a low-key $19 million at 2,821 locations. Also in the Like Father Like Son cast: Brandon T. Jackson, Portia Doubleday, and Jessica Lucas.

At no. 6, Jon M. Chu's Justin Bieber bio-concert movie Justin Bieber: Never Say Never brought in $16.5 million.

More President's Day weekend box office figures: 'The King's Speech,' 'The Roommate'

Next in line were Tom Hooper's The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and Claire Bloom, with $7.93 million at no. 7 and Christian E. Christiansen's thriller The Roommate with $4.5 million at no. 8. In the cast: Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet, Matt Lanter, and Nina Dobrev.

Rounding out the top twelve were:

  • Kevin Macdonald-Channing Tatum's The Eagle with $4.31 million.
  • Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher's No Strings Attached with $3.72 million.
  • Jeff Bridges-Hailee Steinfeld's True Grit with $2.85 million.
  • Alister Grierson's Sanctum with $1.98 million. In the cast: Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffudd, and Rhys Wakefield.

Among the top twelve movies, the Liam Neeson thriller Unknown had the highest per-theater average, an estimated $8,419. Sanctum had the lowest, $1,438.

Also among the top twelve, Gnomeo & Juliet posted the lowest Sun.-to-Mon. drop-off rate, down 14.5 percent. Sanctum posted the highest, down 45 percent. (Note: Following its steep drop, Sanctum was the no. 13 movie on Monday; Michel Gondry's The Green Hornet, featuring Jay Chou and Seth Rogen, was no. 12.)

 

Liam Neeson Unknown thriller image: Warner Bros.

Gnomeo & Juliet image: Miramax.

Liam Neeson UnknownLiam Neeson: 'Unknown' movie.

Liam Neeson 'Unknown' movie tops box office - but trailing 'Taken'

Feb. 20, '11, update: Starring Liam Neeson, Jaume Collet-Serra's action-thriller Unknown topped the middling North American box office in the first three days (Feb. 18-20) of the 2011 President's Day weekend, according to studio estimates. Estimates for the four-day weekend will come out on Monday.

The $30 million-budgeted Unknown collected $21.77 million from 3,043 sites for a good, though hardly outstanding, $7,154 per-theater average.

For comparison's sake: the Liam Neeson action-thriller hit Taken debuted in late Jan. 2009, with $24.71 million (approximately $26.4 million today) from 3,183 sites, averaging $7,765 per theater (approx. $8,294 per theater in 2011). Budgeted at $25 million, Taken went on to gross $145 million at the domestic box office, plus $81.82 million overseas.[1]

Besides Liam Neeson, the Unknown movie cast features the following:

January Jones. Diane Kruger. Aidan Quinn. Academy Award nominee Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon). Sebastian Koch (The Lives of Others). Veteran Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire, Downfall).

Alex Pettyfer I Am Number FourAlex Pettyfer 'I Am Number Four.'

Alex Pettyfer 'I Am Number Four' disappoints at no. 2

Trailing Unknown this President's Day weekend, the Alex Pettyfer star vehicle I Am Number Four performed below expectations, taking in $19.5 million at 3,154 locations. The $60 million-budgeted sci-fi thriller averaged a just passable $6,183 per site.

Unless drop-off rates are unusually low, it'll be an uphill battle for I Am Number Four to even match its production costs at the U.S. and Canada box office. (Exhibitors keep about 50 percent of a film's domestic box office gross.)

In fact, chances are that I Am Number Four will finish the four-day weekend in third place, behind Gnomeo & Juliet, the no. 2 movie on Saturday and the expected no. 1 movie on Sunday.

Directed by D.J. Caruso, besides Alex Pettyfer I Am Number Four also features Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, and Dianna Agron.

'Gnomeo & Juliet' in third place

For the three-day weekend, Gnomeo & Juliet was the no. 3 movie on the domestic box office chart, with $19.4 million (down 24 percent). As mentioned above, things may change once Monday figures are tallied.

Budget information for Gnomeo & Juliet is fuzzy. To date, it has grossed $50.42 million in North America.

In addition to songs by Elton John, Gnomeo & Juliet also has an extensive voice cast that includes James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Matt Lucas, and two-time Oscar winners Michael Caine and Maggie Smith.[2]

At no. 4 on the box office chart was the Jennifer Aniston-Adam Sandler comedy Just Go with It, which collected $18.2 million (down 40 percent) in North America. There's no way this Sony Pictures release will recover its $80 million production budget – not to mention marketing and distribution expenses – in the domestic market. To date, Just Go with It has taken in $60.75 million.

Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son Martin Lawrence'Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son': Martin Lawrence and Brandon T. Jackson.

'Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son' box office: Unlike previous 'Big Momma's' movies

Directed by John Whitesell, the lowbrow Martin Lawrence comedy Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son pulled in $17 million at 2,821 locations. This third installment in the Big Momma's franchise averaged a passable $6,206 per theater.

For comparison's sake: Back in 2000, the original Big Momma's House opened with $25.66 million (about $38 million today) at 2,802 sites. It went on to gross $117.55 million domestically. Big Momma's House 2 opened with $27.73 million (about $34 million today) in 2006. Its total North American gross was $70.16 million.

Despite considerably higher ticket prices, we'll see if Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son manages to reach the $50 million mark.

Also in the Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son cast: Brandon T. Jackson, Portia Doubleday, and Jessica Lucas.

Justin Bieber, Colin Firth: Movie stars

At no. 6, down four spots from last weekend, the 3D Justin Bieber documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never grossed $13.6 million (down 54 percent). Cost: $13 million. Total: $48.47 million.

Justin Bieber can now boast that he's a film star. Well, at least he's a profitable one.

Tom Hooper's The King's Speech drew in $6.56 million (down a measly 9 percent) at no. 7, thus passing the $100 million mark on Saturday, its 96th day out. Total: $103.27 million. Cost: $15 million.

Much like Justin Bieber, Colin Firth can now also boast that he's a bona fide film star. And a profitable one, to boot. Besides Firth, The King's Speech also features Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and veteran Claire Bloom (Alexander the Great, The Brothers Karamazov).

More Top Twelve box office movies

  • Featuring Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet, and Matt Lanter, Christian E. Christiansen's thriller The Roommate brought in $4.1 million (down 49.5 percent) at no. 8.
  • At no. 9, The Eagle scored $3.55 million (down a whopping 59 percent). Directed by Kevin Macdonald, the period actioner stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Mark Strong, Tahar Rahim, and Donald Sutherland. Cost: 25 million. Total: $15.04 million.
  • The Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy No Strings Attached earned $3.12 million (down 46 percent, after the loss of nearly 800 locations) at no. 10. Cost: 25 million. Total: $66.03 million.
  • At no. 11, Joel and Ethan Coen's True Grit raked in $2.4 million (down 37 percent, after losing more than 600 theaters). Cost: 38 million. Total: $164.11 million.
  • Executive-produced by Avatar and Titanic filmmaker James Cameron, Sanctum drew in $1.57 million (down 72 percent, after losing more than 1,400 locations) at no. 12. Cost: 30 million. Total: $21.88 million. Despite Cameron's popularity on Twitter – more than 68,000 followers after just a couple of weeks or so – and the fact that he lists the Sanctum website on his Twitter account, the 3D underwater adventure movie has tanked at the U.S. and Canada box office.

'Unknown' has highest average

Gone from the Top Twelve were Jason Statham-Ben Foster's The Mechanic, Anthony Hopkins-Colin O'Donoghue's The Rite, and Seth Rogen-Jay Chou's The Green Hornet.

Among the Top Twelve movies, Unknown had the highest per-theater average: an estimated $7,154. Sanctum had the lowest: $1,145.

Also among the Top Twelve (barring newcomers Unknown, I Am Number Four, and Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son), The King's Speech posted the lowest weekend-to-weekend drop-off rate, down 9 percent. Sanctum posted the highest drop-off rate, down 72 percent.

Now, it should be noted that The Weinstein Company has repeatedly overestimated the weekend box office take of The King's Speech. In other words, the film's drop-off rate will quite possibly turn out to be higher.

And finally, Icíar Bollaín's Even the Rain, starring Gael García Bernal and Luis Tosar, opened with $53,000 at 8 venues. Average per theater: a so-so $6,625.

[1] As so often happens at Box Office Mojo, the international box office total of Taken is likely incomplete and/or an estimate.

Michael Caine and Maggie Smith: Oscar winners

[2] Michael Caine took home Best Supporting Actor Academy Awards for Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Lasse Hallström's The Cider House Rules (1999).

Maggie Smith was a Best Actress winner for Ronald Neame's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) and a Best Supporting Actress winner for Herbert Ross' California Suite (1978).

 

Liam Neeson Unknown movie image: Warner Bros.

Alex Pettyfer I Am Number Four image: John Bramley / DreamWorks / Walt Disney Studios.

Brandon T. Jackson and Martin Lawrence Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son image: 20th Century Fox.

Alex Pettyfer I Am Number Four MovieAlex Pettyfer in 'I Am Number Four': Sci-fi movie trailing 'Unknown' at North American box office.

Alex Pettyfer in 'I Am Number Four' behind Liam Neeson in 'Unknown': President's Day weekend box office

Feb. 19, '11, afternoon update: Alex Pettyfer in I Am Number Four is trailing Liam Neeson in Unknown. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, and starring Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn, Sebastian Koch, and veteran Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire, Downfall), the action-thriller Unknown topped the tepid North American box office on Friday, Feb. 18, the start of President's Day weekend 2011.

At the lower end of yesterday's early estimates, Unknown collected $6.72 million at 3,043 sites for an okay $2,208 average, according to studio estimates.

For comparison's sake: Neeson's action-thriller hit Taken debuted on Jan. 29, '09, with $9.41 million at 3,183 sites, averaging $2,959 per site. Taken went on to gross $145 million at the domestic box office.

At no. 2, the Alex Pettyfer star vehicle I Am Number Four brought in $6.2 million at 3,154 locations. The sci-fi thriller averaged a somewhat disappointing $1,966 per site. Directed by D.J. Caruso, I Am Number Four also features Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, and Dianna Agron.

'Just Go with It' and 'Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son'

The no. 3 movie was the Jennifer Aniston-Adam Sandler comedy Just Go with It, down two spots from earlier in the week. Just Go with It, which also features Nicole Kidman, collected $5.2 million, at the higher end of yesterday's estimates.

Directed by John Whitesell, the lowbrow Martin Lawrence comedy Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son fared slightly worse than estimated late last night, pulling in $4.8 million at 2,821 locations. This third installment in the Big Momma franchise averaged a modest $1,702 per theater. Also in the Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son cast: Brandon T. Jackson, Portia Doubleday, and Jessica Lucas.

For comparison's sake (not adjusted for inflation): Back in 2000, the original Big Momma's House opened with $7.66 million. It went on to gross $117.55 million in the U.S. and Canada. Big Momma's House 2 opened with $8.37 million in 2006. Its total gross was $70.16 million. Despite considerably higher ticket prices, we'll see whether Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son manages to reach the $50 million mark.

Justin Bieber Never Say Never UsherJustin Bieber in 'Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,' with Usher.

'Gnomeo & Juliet,' 'Justin Bieber: Never Say Never'

Down three spots at no. 5 on Friday was the animated Gnomeo & Juliet, which features songs by Elton John and the voices of James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Matt Lucas, and two-time Oscar winners Maggie Smith (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, California Suite) and Michael Caine (Hannah and Her Sisters, The Cider House Rules). Gnomeo & Juliet collected $4.3 million.

For obvious reasons, animated movies perform much better on the weekend proper and on holidays than during the week (including Friday). Chances are Gnomeo & Juliet will be ahead of – at least – both Just Go with It and Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son when total weekend figures are released. By the time Monday figures come out, it's possible – as mentioned at Deadline.com last night – that Gnomeo & Juliet will come out on top. Not necessarily likely, but possible.

Also down three spots at no. 6, the 3D Justin Bieber bio-musical documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never grossed $3.8 million. That represents a whopping 69 percent drop compared to its (official) debut last Friday. (See also: “'Justin Bieber: Never Say Never' Trailing Adam Sandler?”)

'The King's Speech,' 'The Roommate'

Tom Hooper's The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and veteran Claire Bloom (The Haunting, Islands in the Stream) drew in $1.5 million at no. 7. The King's Speech should be passing the $100 million mark later today or tomorrow at the latest.

Featuring Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet, Nina Dobrev, and Matt Lanter, Christian E. Christiansen's thriller The Roommate brought in $403,000, down one spot at no. 8.

At no. 9, The Eagle scored $1 million. Directed by Kevin Macdonald, the period actioner stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Mark Strong, Tahar Rahim, and veteran Donald Sutherland (MASH, Ordinary People).

The Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy No Strings Attached earned $900,000 at no. 10. Ivan Reitman directed.

No estimates were available for the 3D underwater adventure movie Sanctum and Jason Statham-Ben Foster's The Mechanic. Therefore, it's unclear which of the following movies – along with the aforementioned Sanctum and The Mechanic – will be gone from the top twelve when weekend estimates are released Sunday morning:

  • Joel Coen and Ethan Coen's True Grit. With Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin.
  • Mikael Håfström's The Rite. With Anthony Hopkins, Colin O'Donoghue, Alice Braga, Rutger Hauer, Ciarán Hinds.
  • Michel Gondry's The Green Hornet. Featuring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz, Edward Furlong, and Tom Wilkinson.

Among the top-ten movies, Unknown had the highest per-theater average, an estimated $2,208. The Eagle had the lowest, $436.

Also among the top ten (barring newcomers Unknown, I Am Number Four, and Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son), Gnomeo & Juliet posted the highest Thursday-to-Friday attendance increase, up 324 percent. The Eagle posted the lowest, up 87 percent.

Unknown Liam Neeson thriller January JonesLiam Neeson in 'Unknown,' thriller with January Jones.

Box office: Weak President's Day weekend

Sat., Feb. 19, early a.m.: President's Day weekend won't be exactly stellar at the North American box office. Not a single movie is expected to get even close to $30 million following a tepid Friday. Liam Neeson's action-thriller Unknown is apparently leading the pack.

According to early, rough estimates found at Deadline.com, Liam Neeson's action-thriller Unknown collected somewhere around $7 million at 3,154 locations. At a possible no. 2 – and performing at the lower end of expectations – the Alex Pettyfer sci-fi thriller I Am Number Four grossed around $6.5 million at 3,043 theaters.

It should be noted that as per Deadline's Nikki Finke, estimates have been varying wildly – discrepancies of up to $2 million – depending on her sources.

Both Unknown and I Am Number Four are expected to finish the four-day weekend somewhere in the low-to-mid $20 million range. Finke wonders if the animated Gnomeo & Juliet – no. 5 on Friday – will turn out to be the weekend's no. 1 attraction, as it's also expected to gross within that range.

'Justin Bieber: Never Say Never' plummets

Last Friday's winner, Justin Bieber's 3D bio-musical documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, was down a whopping 70 percent, pulling in about $3.7 million. Never Say Never was no. 6 on the (still quite tentative) chart.

Also, Martin Lawrence's Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son took in about $5 million at 2,821 locations. According to Finke's sources, it'll likely reach somewhere around $20 million by Monday.

The Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston comedy Just Go with It, down about 45 percent from a week ago, brought in about $5 million as well.

In her article, Finke offers a more detailed look at the production end of a couple of the aforementioned films.

Remember: these are early, rough estimates. Official Friday studio estimates will come out Saturday morning. Three-day weekend estimates should be released on Sunday – these have been quite inaccurate in the last couple of weekends – and four-day weekend estimates will be made available on Monday. Weekend box office actuals should come out on Tuesday.

 

January Jones and Liam Neeson Unknown image: Warner Bros.

Usher and Justin Bieber in Justin Bieber: Never Say Never image: Paramount Pictures.

Alex Pettyfer I Am Number Four image: John Bramley / DreamWorks / Walt Disney.

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