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Weekend Box Office: Unknown Now Well Known, Number Four Settles for Number Two

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By Chris Kavan - 02/20/11 at 10:33 PM CT

It looks like audiences were more interested in watching Liam Neeson lay the smack down then checking out the latest in emo aliens.

Unknown, marketed as the spiritual successor to Taken, took the top spot with $21.8 million. While it wasn't quite as good as Taken's $24.7 million, compared to recent action/thrillers Edge of Darkness and The Next Three Days.

In the second spot was the much-advertised aliens-meets-Twilight film, I Am Number Four. The $19.5 million doesn't bode well for any future installments, as it couldn't even equal the numbers of Jumper or Percy Jackson. It looks the the main flaw of the marketing is it couldn't capitalize on enough action for the guys or enough romance for the girls.

The other new wide release, the third Big Momma's film, opened in 5th place with $17 million. It may not seem impressive, and it made much less than the two previous films, but after a five-year hiatus, the number doesn't look so bad. Still, I can only hope this put a fork in a series that should never have been popular in the first place.

The biggest winner of the week might be the third place Gnomeo and Juliet, which only fell 24% to come in third with $19.4 million and could even leapfrog I Am Number Four when President's Day is taken into account. The animated film has made over $50 million, well above what the last animated film, Yogi Bear, made in the same time period.

Not faring so well was Justin Bieber, whose Never Say Never dropped 54% to wind up in 6th place with $13.6 million. Still, the $48.5 million looks good compared to the Jonas Brothers, though it is currently running behind Hannah Montana and Michael Jackson after ten days.

The King's Speech continued its impressive run, dropping just 9% and crossing the $100 million mark. In fact, at $103.3 million, it now tops The Social Network and Black Swan in total box office numbers.

Next week two films are opening Oscar weekend, and I guarantee that will be as close to Oscar as they get. On one hand you have Nicolas Cage driving angry in Drive Angry while Owen Wilson tries to get his comedy mojo back with Hall Pass. We'll see if audiences are going to be in the mood for either.


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