A group of real-life Navy SEALs stormed the box office this weekend, kicking overall theater grosses into high gear for the eighth consecutive week. "Act of Valor" commanded the #1 spot with a $24.7 million debut, which contributed to an overall box-office number up roughly 23 percent from the same period last year.
"Tyler Perry's Good Deeds" was #2 with $16 million during its first weekend in theaters. Meanwhile, the Judd Apatow-produced comedy "Wanderlust" starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd and the Amanda Seyfried thriller "Gone" both flopped.
"Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" was #3 with $13.4 million for a three-week total of $76.7 million. Last weekend's #1 movie, "Safe House," dropped to #4 with $11.4 million for a $98.1 million total. Next week it will likely become the fourth Denzel Washington movie to cross the $100 million mark. "The Vow" rounded out the top five with $10 million for a three-week total of $103 million.
A departure from the filmmaker's "Madea" movies and broader ensemble comedies, "Good Deeds" had the second worst opening for a Tyler Perry film. ("Daddy's Little Girls" opened with $11.2 million in 2007.) Like most of his movies, "Good Deeds" was not a hit with critics, either. "It's indisputable that Perry has improved as a filmmaker throughout his meteoric rise to success, but that growth only brings into clearer focus the deficiencies he has yet to outgrow," wrote Box Office Magazine's Todd Gilchrist.
Apatow also suffered the second lowest debut for a film with his name attached, with "Wanderlust" beating only his 2007 "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story." "Wanderlust" opened with $6.6 million, while "Gone" trailed behind with just $5 million.
Best Picture winner "The Artist" did the best of all of the Oscar contenders at the box office over the weekend, picking up another $3 million and adding an additional 158 theaters for a domestic total of $31.9 million. "The Descendants" made another $2.2 million for a $78.5 million total. "Hugo" made $1.6 million (in significantly fewer theaters) for a total of $69.4 million. "The Help," "Midnight in Paris," "Moneyball" and "The Tree of Life" are all available for home viewing; "War Horse" is due on Blu-ray and DVD on April 3.
"Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace" crossed the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office thanks to the recent 3-D re-release, making the first of George Lucas' "Star Wars" prequels the 10th-highest-grossing film of all time, not counting for inflation. "The Phantom Menace" passed "The Dark Knight" over the weekend.
Other movies that have crossed the $1 billion mark include "Avatar" ($2.7 billion), "Titanic" ($1.8 billion; soon to receive a 3-D re-release as well), "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" ($1.3 billion), "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" ($1.1 billion), "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" ($1.1 billion), "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" ($1.06 billion), "Toy Story 3" ($1.06 billion), "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" ($1.04 billion), and the 2010 "Alice in Wonderland" ($1.02 billion).
Check out everything we've got on "Act of Valor."
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