‘Race To Witch Mountain’ Conjures Box-Office #1

'Watchmen' ticket sales fall 67 percent in second week.

The Box-Office Top Five

#1 “Race to Witch Mountain” ($25 million)
#2 “Watchmen” ($18.1 million)
#3 “The Last House on the Left” ($14.7 million)
#4 “Taken” ($6.7 million)
#5 “Madea Goes to Jail” ($5.1 million)

Moviegoers were largely uninterested in watching (or re-watching) Warner Bros.’ [movie id="302856"]“Watchmen”[/movie] this weekend. Despite screenwriter David Hayter’s pleas for fans to support the film on its second weekend, “Watchmen” dropped a startling 67 percent in box-office gross, bringing in just $18.1 million and a total of $86 million. While box-office analysts point to its drop as a mark of failure, Warner Bros. insists it is happy with the numbers, arguing that the drop-off is normal for a big release.

[movie id="364407"]“Race to Witch Mountain”[/movie] was the big winner this week. Disney’s reworking of the 1975 film “Escape to Witch Mountain” had a solid opening at $25 million. While it gained momentum from being the lone family-friendly offering, exit polls indicated that 18 percent of attendees were without children, which suggests that nostalgia might have played a big part in the movie’s take.

Another 1970s remake, [movie id="307962"]“The Last House on the Left”[/movie] came in at a respectable #3 with $14.7 million. It met Universal’s expectations, but didn’t match the big business of some of the year’s other horror offerings. (For example, 2009′s first horror flick, [movie id="380628"]“The Unborn,”[/movie] also debuted at #3, but with $21.1 million.)

But not all newcomers managed to crack the top five — in fact, [movie id="394410"]“Miss March”[/movie] barely cracked the top 10, landing right at the bottom of the list with a mere $2.4 million in its first weekend. Instead, the top five was once again home to [movie id="340882"]“Taken,”[/movie] which is the first action thriller since [movie id="306605"]“The Dark Knight”[/movie] to spend seven weeks in the top five, and [movie id="388652"]“Madea Goes to Jail,”[/movie] which has taken in a total of $83.2 million, making it one of Tyler Perry’s most successful films.

But overall, the box office was down. The total gross was only $101 million, a 16 percent decline from last year, and one of the weakest weeks of 2009 so far. Time will tell if the drop was due to the films having limited appeal, or if the economy is starting to take its toll.

Upcoming Releases

Julia Roberts and Clive Owen mix business with pleasure in the spy thriller [movie id="372347"]“Duplicity,”[/movie] Nicolas Cage follows the numbers in [movie id="375786"]“Knowing,”[/movie] and Paul Rudd and Jason Segel celebrate their bromance in the R-rated comedy [movie id="375342"]“I Love You, Man.”[/movie]

Check out everything we’ve got on “Race to Witch Mountain,” “Watchmen” and “The Last House on the Left.”

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