Mall Cop Stands Over Multiplex
Astonishing box-office experts, a small PG-rated comedy that cost only $26 million to make, had no bankable star, and was slotted into a January release schedule when ticket sales are generally light wound up earning $39 million during its opening over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Paul Blart Mall Cop produced the second-best January opening ever (after 2008's Cloverfield, which opened with $46.1 million) and far exceeded the $26 million earned by second-place Gran Torino , which grossed $26.2 million. The Clint Eastwood film had been favored to win the box-office race, and in fact it dropped only 25 percent from the previous weekend over the Monday-Friday period. Also making an impressive debut was Lionsgate's My Bloody Valentine 3-D, which grossed an estimated $24.2 million -- 80 percent of the total coming from the 1,000 theaters that showed it in 3-D. (The horror flick averaged a whopping $19,000 per 3-D theater and just $3,000 per conventional theater. Lionsgate distribution chief Steve Rothenberg told Daily Variety that the result demonstrated that moviegoers are willing to pay more to watch 3-D films.) Yet another impressive opening was recorded by Fox Searchlight's Notorious , the biopic of rapper Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher Wallace) which earned $24 million in 1,638 theaters, or an average of $14,652 per theater. Finally, the family film Hotel for Dogs came in fifth, but also beat expectations by a lot. The DreamWorks/Paramount movie earned $22.5 million. Together all five films helped set a record for the MLK holiday.