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Weekend Box Office: SEAL Valor Beats Good Deeds; Wanderlust, Gone Tank

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By Chris Kavan - 02/26/12 at 11:54 PM CT

It was a bit of good news/bad news for the new releases over the weekend. While patriotism and Tyler Perry managed decent debuts, news wasn't so peachy for Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston and Amanda Seyfried.

Opening in the top spot, the "Featuring Active Navy SEALs" film Act of Valor took in $24.7 million on a budget of $12 million (though the insane marketing probably pushed up costs juuuuust a bit). Without any big name stars, it looks like audiences were in the mood for some good, old-fashioned American patriotism. Compared to similar films, it was a bit behind Jarhead ($27.7 million) but ahead of Behind Enemy Lines ($18.7 million). The audience was mostly male (71%) and 60% over 25 - they awarded it an A, hoo rah.

Opening up in second was Good Deeds, a rare non-Madea role for Tyler Perry. Yet with just $16 million in the bank, it is the second-worst opening for Perry behind Daddy's Little Girl's ($11.2 million). It may be that this dramatic turn just didn't click as well as his ensemble comedies. Still, the mostly older, female audience still gave it an A.

Still Perry can count his blessings, as the other two new films of the week arrived DOA. All the way down in eight place, the $6.6 million opening for Wanderlust is lone of the worst for Judd Apatow's production company, and is also behind Aniston's resent disappointing openings for The Switch ($8.4 million) and Love Happens ($8.1 million). Here's hoping Rudd has better luck with This is 40, because Wanderlust certainly won't be high on his list of accomplishments.

Seyfried has to update her resume, Jennifer's Body ($6.9 million) is no longer her lowest-grossing debut, as Gone opened in ninth place with just $5 million. Thanks to a pretty much non-existent marketing effort and completely generic plot, it crawled into theaters with no fanfare and will exit in much the same way. The mostly female audience awarded it a C- and you won't see it stick around long.

It was also good news for The Vow, which might have dropped about 57% but still became the first film of 2012 to pass the $100 million mark as it took fifth place with $10 million and now stands at $103 million. Soon to join that club will be Safe House, which took a 52% hit and wound up in fourth place with $11.4 million. It now stands at $98.1 million and should cross the $100 mark in the next few days. It's on pace to become Denzel Washington's second-highest grossing film of all time (tracking just behind American Gangster).

Journey 2 continued its strong run, dropping just 32% to wind up in third place with $13.5 million and now stands at $76.7 million - $16 million ahead of the original Journey. Meanwhile Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance took a huge 60% hit (more than the 56% of the original Ghost Rider), dropping to sixth place with $8.8 million. The $37.8 million total represents less than half of the original film's $79 million through the same point.

Even with the good and bad taken in, overall box office was up a whopping 20% compared to last year and things are still looking healthy for Hollywood. Just two films are opening wide next week, the family film Dr. Suess' The Lorax and the "careful what you wish for" ultimate party film Project X. Hopefully it will be enough to keep things rolling in the right direction.


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