‘Watchmen’ Guards Box-Office #1

'Madea Goes to Jail' knocked to #2; Jonas Brothers drop to #9.

The Box-Office Top Five

#1 [movie id="302856"]“Watchmen”[/movie] ($55.7 million)
#2 [movie id="388652"]“Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail”[/movie] ($8.8 million)
#3 [movie id="340882"]“Taken”[/movie] ($7.45 million)
#4 [movie id="364450"]“Slumdog Millionaire”[/movie] ($6.9 million)
#5 [movie id="368253"]“Paul Blart: Mall Cop”[/movie] ($4.2 million)

Who wasn’t watching the “Watchmen” this weekend? The hotly anticipated comic adaptation opened with a solid $55.7 million, the highest opening of 2009 so far. But box-office analysts have practically declared its debut a failure, since it fell short of expectations and director Zack Snyder’s “300,” which broke March records with a debut of $70.9 million in 2007. However, considering that the Warner Bros. film was based on a graphic novel many moviegoers are unfamiliar with and starred lesser-known actors, the film did remarkably well. Repeat viewings from “Watchmen” fans and a weak adult slate next weekend will probably see it hold strong.

Though “Watchmen” kept business up at the box office, it was one of the calmer weekends 2009 has seen. The lack of new competition meant that the rest of the top five was made up of familiar faces. At #2, “Madea Goes to Jail” brought in $8.8 million in its third week of release, for a box-office total of $76.5 million.

“Taken” also held in there, climbing back up the chart to #3 with another $7.45 million. The film has earned an astonishing $118 million in its five weeks of release.

Still going strong after its Oscar triumph, “Slumdog Millionaire” dropped a spot but brought in another $6.9 million. The little film that could has earned $125 million total and will now turn its attention to DVD sales, as it hits shelves on March 31.

Determined not to be forgotten just yet, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” climbed back into the top five, bringing in another $4.2 million. Its box-office take dulls the shine of “Slumdog” a bit, as the Kevin James comedy has earned a shocking $134 million in eight weeks. Here’s where the culture vultures can start predicting the death of cinema again.

Kicked out of the top five completely were the Jonas Brothers, whose “3D Concert Experience” dropped all the way to #9 with a mere $2.79 million. Considering it was the one offering friendly to young female audiences, it’s surprising to see the heartthrobs suffer such a steep drop. They’ve only brought in $16.8 million total, which begs the question: Are young girls more into “Watchmen,” “Paul Blart” and “Madea”? Or did they steer clear of theaters altogether?

Upcoming Releases

Fox’s comedy [movie id="394410"]“Miss March”[/movie] opens wide, while two remakes will try to take on “Watchmen”: Disney’s family-friendly [movie id="364407"]“Race to Witch Mountain”[/movie] and Universal’s horror flick [movie id="307962"]“The Last House on the Left.”[/movie]

Check out everything we’ve got on “Watchmen.”

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