‘Warm Bodies’ Scores Big During Super Bowl Weekend Box Office

Zombie rom-com takes #1 spot at the box office with a $20 million debut.

Super Bowl Sunday didn’t take too large of a bite out of “Warm Bodies.”The zombie-filled romantic comedy was #1 at the box office over the weekend with a $20 million debut, even with most of America parked in front of the small screen to watch Beyoncé rock the Super Bowl.

Studios often smartly place teen-friendly fare at the multiplex during Super Bowl weekend. “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour” holds the record for biggest Super Bowl weekend opening ever, with romantic drama “Dear John” at #2.

“Warm Bodies” ranks #7 on that list, as its mixture of comedy, romance and the supernatural attracted fans of everything from “The Twilight Saga” to “The Walking Dead.” 23-year-old Nicolas Hoult’s successful leading-man debut in “Warm Bodies” bodes well for his big-budget “Jack the Giant Slayer” due next month. In “Warm Bodies,” Hoult plays a zombie who finds himself falling in love with a very much living girl played by Teresa Palmer.

Critics were mostly kind to “Warm Bodies.” Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum called it “a funnier and pleasantly cheaper-grade movie than ‘Twilight’ that aims to draw in both Bella & Edward lovers and haters.” 65 percent of the audience who saw the movie over the weekend were under 25; 60 percent of them were female.

Meanwhile, Sylvester Stallone suffered the second worst nationwide opening of his decades-long career with “Bullet to the Head,” the only other film brave enough to open during the Super Bowl weekend. “Bullet to the Head” made just $4.5 million, the worst opening of 2013 thus far for any movie in more than 2,000 theaters. Sly was the third veteran of “The Expendables” franchise to flop in a solo action vehicle in the past few weeks: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “The Last Stand” was a box-office bomb, as was Jason Statham’s moody “Parker.”

Last weekend’s #1 movie, “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters,” was #2 over with $9.2 million. Academy Awards contender “Silver Linings Playbook” was #3 with $8.1 million, putting the movie’s total past $80 million. Horror flick “Mama” was #4 with $6.7 million. “Mama” star Jessica Chastain is also in “Zero Dark Thirty,” another Oscar contender, which was #5 with $5.3 million. The Osama Bin Laden manhunt drama has made $77.7 million.

In limited release, “Standup Guys” was a blip on the radar, making just $1.5 million as it opened in 659 locations. Dave Grohl’s “Sound City” had a per-screen average of just $4,375, but it debuted on multiple platforms. It’s the #1 documentary on iTunes and boasted a 100 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes when it opened.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Warm Bodies.”