January 22, 2012 by staff
Underworld Awakening, 2012 continued its box office winning streak this weekend, as Kate Beckinsale replaced herself at the top of the chart.
Her new movie, Underworld Awakening, a 3D fourth installment of the popular vampires vs. werewolves franchise, debuted in first place with $25.4 million, good for a $8,252 per theater average. Awakening improved upon the opening weekend of its predecessor, 2009?s Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, which started with $20.8 million (and did not feature Beckinsale), but fell short of 2006?s Underworld: Evolution, which kicked off its run with $26.9 million. Sony/Screen Gems paid $70 million to make the 3D action film, but if past Underworld performances are any indication, Awakening, which earned an “A-” CinemaScore grade, will have trouble recouping its costs.
The first Underworld earned 2.5 times its opening weekend (that’s known as a mulitplier of 2.5) and finished with $51.8 million. The second notched a 2.4 multiplier and earned $62.3 million. The third only managed a 2.3 multiplier, a sure sign of sequel fatigue and frontloadedness, and grossed $45.8 million. With Kate Beckinsale back in the picture, Awakening may find a larger total than Lycans, but with a very young audience (only 7 percent were 50 or older), it should continue the frontloaded trend and finish with about $56 million.
In second place, George Lucas’ passion-project Red Tails, a $58 million film starring Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. that chronicles WWII’s African-American Tuskegee airmen, took off with $19.1 million in its first three days. The strong debut came out of 2,512 theaters, which gave Red Tails a hefty $7,604 per theater average, the second-best in the Top 20. A few weeks ago, these high-flying numbers seemed unlikely. But in the week leading up to release, the film gained momentum.
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