‘Contraband’ Sweeps Weekend Box Office

Re-release of 'Beauty and the Beast' takes #2 spot over four-day weekend.

This weekend, moviegoers decided that for Mark Wahlberg, nothing is forbidden.

“Contraband” was the #1 movie in America with a solid $28.8 million debut over the four-day weekend, according to studio estimates. The action thriller, which takes places in the world of drug-smuggling, beat Disney’s 3-D re-release of 1991′s “Beauty and the Beast,” which opened to $23.5 million.

Wahlberg’s latest (a remake of an Icelandic flick) kicked off with a stronger opening weekend than his multiple Oscar winner “The Fighter” or previous action flicks “Max Payne” (2008) and “Shooter” (2007). The film has a “rotten” 48 percent score on film review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, but audiences who saw it gave it an “A-” CinemaScore.

“Beauty and the Beast” is off to a great start despite following last year’s $29.3 million debut of Disney’s 3-D re-release “The Lion King.” (“The Lion King” made more than $422 million its first time around, while “Beast” took in less than half that amount.) The re-release will be followed by 3-D versions of fellow Disney classics “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters Inc.” and “The Little Mermaid” over the next two years.

The weekend’s other new wide release, “Joyful Noise” (starring Queen Latifah and country music legend Dolly Parton), opened in fourth place with a lackluster $13.8 million. But it was last weekend’s #1 movie that suffered the biggest disappointment: “The Devil Inside” earned just $9.2 million over the four-day weekend, down 72 percent from its debut. That’s an incredibly steep drop, even for a horror flick, no doubt due to the film’s 6 percent Tomatometer rating and unusually low CinemaScore of “F.” But thanks to its big opening, the low-budget indie’s $46.3 million total is still more than the entire runs of “The Rite,” “Devil” or “The Last Exorcism.”

Box-office receipts were up 4 percent this holiday weekend compared to last year. Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” earned the #3 spot as it collected another $14.2 million for a total domestic gross of nearly $190 million. The Robert Downey Jr.-led sequel “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” was #5 with $10.5 million, for a domestic gross of $172.1 million to date.

This weekend’s new releases will include “Underworld Awakening”; Steven Soderbergh’s action flick “Haywire,” starring Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor and MMA champion/ first-time actress Gina Carano; the George Lucas-produced World War II flick “Red Tails”; and the limited release of Mexican drama “Miss Bala,” among others. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” which earned a Critics’ Choice Award for young star Thomas Horn, will expand into wider release.

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

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