‘Chronicle’ Makes Fourth Highest Super Bowl Debut

Found-footage film earns $22 million, beating out Daniel Radcliffe's 'Woman in Black.'

The Super Bowl couldn’t stop another found-footage flick from topping the box office. Box-office receipts were up more than 30 percent from last year’s Super Bowl weekend as “Chronicle” took the #1 spot with Daniel Radcliffe’s first post-”Potter” flick, “The Woman in Black,” close behind at #2. “Chronicle” took in $22 million while “Woman in Black” earned $21 million, according to studio estimates.

The feel-good Alaskan whale story “Big Miracle,” starring Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski (“The Office”), debuted at #4 with $8.5 million. Meanwhile, Super Bowl halftime performer Madonna saw her “W.E.” open with a ho-hum $45,000 in four theaters. Despite the film’s director earning a Golden Globe for her song from the movie, “W.E.” has suffered from mostly negative reviews.

While it didn’t open as strongly as the “Paranormal Activity” movies, “Cloverfield” or last month’s found-footage flick, “The Devil Inside,” teen superhero-centered “Chronicle” enjoyed the fourth highest Super Bowl debut ever and took the #1 spot internationally. Considering the movie’s estimated production budget of $12 million, the found-footage phenomenon will undoubtedly continue.

The modest success of “The Woman in Black” was good news for Radcliffe, who had yet to top-line a movie in a role as anyone other than “Harry Potter.” Its numbers were comparable with the 2006 remake of “When a Stranger Calls,” which was also a horror flick directed at teens that opened on Super Bowl weekend. Both Radcliffe’s ghost story and “Chronicle” earned mostly positive reviews.

Last weekend’s #1 movie, “The Grey,” dropped to #3 with $9.5 million. The Liam Neeson vehicle, which, like “Big Miracle,” takes places in Alaska, has made $34.7 million thus far. “Underworld: Awakening” rounded out the top five with $5.6 million for a $53.4 million total.

Awards season favorite “The Artist” and “The Iron Lady” (which has earned Meryl Streep another Oscar nomination) both passed the $20 million mark over the weekend. Each movie is playing at roughly 1,000 locations; “Chronicle,” by comparison, opened in 2,907.

This weekend’s new releases include “The Vow,” which sees Rachel McAdams returning to source material from “The Notebook” author Nicholas Sparks, opposite Channing Tatum; Denzel Washington’s “Safe House”; “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, which is already doing solid business overseas; and the 3-D re-release of “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” which is the first in a series of planned “Star Wars” 3-D re-releases over the next few years. Woody Harrelson’s corrupt cop drama “Rampart,” which reunites the actor with “The Messenger” writer/ director Oren Moverman, will open in limited release.

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

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