Weekend Report: Mall Cop Makes Good

The biggest movie this weekend was, as Paul Harvey said, “something called Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” Somehow this movie exceeded everyone’s expectations, including Sony Pictures. It was the only new movie that is really accessible to all demographics and it took advantage of it.

Paul Blart made me look pretty stupid for predicting $13,028,182. The total for the three day weekend came to $31,832,636. Unfortunately my formula is unable to account for the tastes of American moviegoers. One weekend it’s an aging actor in what could be his career-defining role (Gran Torino), the next it’s a critically-bashed Die Hard-esque family comedy. Go figure. For those interested, blart is a portmanteau of the words blood and fart.

My Bloody Valentine 3-D came in third at $21,241,456. I nearly nailed this prediction, off just 4%. Valentine was released in digital 3-D in 1,033 theaters, the most ever for the format, and it did give the movie a solid boost- reportedly as much as 80% of the gross came from the 3-D showings. It’s another milestone along the path as 3-D marches toward becoming the dominant format. I hope someone finds a narrative use for 3-D effects because the excitement of seeing things pop out at you will only last so long. (It felt like there was a “that’s what she said” joke in there, but I couldn’t quite find it.)

I predicted $23,844,302 for Hotel for Dogs, but it fell short at $17,012,212. No doubt it was hampered by the undeniable charisma of Mr. Blart. I would say that it might be signalling the decline of the dog comedy, but $17 million for a second-rate kid movie is still pretty good.

Notorious exceeded the expectations of most, hauling in $20,497,596, an impressive $12,514 per theater, the highest of any movie this weekend. Despite mixed reviews, people flocked to the movie, with each showing averaging around 50% full.

In all, this was the second biggest three-day weekend since July of last year. Next weekend might not be quite as big, but there will be lots of competition: two new wide releases and a bunch of Oscar hopefuls expanding to more theaters.

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