Huffpost Entertainment

'Watchmen' Slays Competition With $55.7 Million

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LOS ANGELES — "Watchmen" easily ruled the weekend box office with the biggest opening of 2009 _ and at a time when movie attendance continues to rise.

The Warner Bros. superhero flick debuted at No. 1 with $55.2 million. In a distant second place, the Lionsgate comedy "Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail" locked down $8.5 million in its third weekend. "Taken," the 20th Century Fox thriller starring Liam Neeson, took the No. 3 spot with $7.3 million.

For the year, movie attendance continues to soar, with revenue at $1.9 billion, up 16 percent through the same point in 2008. Even factoring in 2009's higher ticket prices, movie attendance is running 14 percent higher than last year.

Not sharing in that success was Disney's "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience," which dropped from No. 2 to No. 9.

"Not every film can be a hit," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Media By Numbers, "even during this box-office bonanza we're having right now. It dropped about 78 percent the second weekend. It's a young audience. The ones that wanted to see the Jonas Brothers came out last weekend."

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Media By Numbers LLC:

1. "Watchmen," Warner Bros, $55,214,334, 3,611 locations, $15,291 average, $55,214,334, one week.

2. "Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail," Lionsgate, $8,532,412, 2,151 locations, $3,967 average, $76,237,739, three weeks.

3. "Taken," Fox, $7,334,814, 3,016 locations, $2,432 average, $117,933,922, six weeks.

4. "Slumdog Millionaire," Fox Searchlight, $6,808,383, 2,890 locations, $2,356 average, $125,324,813, 17 weeks.

5. "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," Sony/Columbia, $4,146,316, 2,558 locations, $1,621 average, $133,588,995, eight weeks.

6. "He's Just Not That Into You," Warner Bros., $4,017,326, 2,445 locations, $1,643 average, $84,644,583, five weeks.

7. "Coraline," Focus Features, $3,255,852, 1,959 locations, $1,662 average, $65,627,777, five weeks.

8. "Confessions of a Shopaholic," Disney, $3,100,298, 2,290 locations, $1,354 average, $38,335,114, four weeks.

9. "Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience," Disney, $2,832,454, 1,276 locations, $2,220 average, $16,838,775, two weeks.

10. "Fired Up," Sony/Screen Gems, $2,478,381, 1,798 locations, $1,378 average, $13,238,432, three weeks.

11. "Gran Torino," Warner Bros., $2,036,359, 1,520 locations, $1,340 average, $141,612,344, 13 weeks.

12. "The Reader," Weinstein Co., $1,925,918, 1,175 locations, $1,639 average, $29,860,949, 13 weeks.

13. "Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li," Fox, $1,485,028, 1,164 locations, $1,276 average, $7,252,297, two weeks.

14. "Friday the 13th," Warner Bros., $1,444,126, 1,705 locations, $847 average, $63,285,318, four weeks.

15. "The International," Sony/Columbia, $1,330,046, 1,184 locations, $1,123 average, $23,740,662, four weeks.

16. "Pink Panther 2," Sony/MGM, $1,291,517, 1,219 locations, $1,059 average, $34,590,360, five weeks.

17. "Push," Summit Entertainmnet, $1,139,887, 1,142 locations, $998 average, $29,649,680, five weeks.

18. "Hotel For Dogs," Paramount, $1,076,641, 1,120 locations, $961 average, $69,216,612, eight weeks.

19. "The Wrestler," Fox Searchlight, $744,172, 677 locations, $1,099 average, $24,711,985, 12 weeks.

20. "Milk," Focus Features, $582,593, 447 locations, $1,303 average, $31,111,155, 15 weeks.

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Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Rogue Pictures are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co.; Sony Pictures, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; DreamWorks, Paramount and Paramount Classics are divisions of Viacom Inc.; Disney's parent is The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is a division of The Walt Disney Co.; 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox Atomic are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros., New Line, Warner Independent and Picturehouse are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a consortium of Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Sony Corp., Comcast Corp., DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Quadrangle Group; Lionsgate is owned by Lionsgate Entertainment Corp.; IFC Films is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp.