Weekend Box Office: Jan. 20-22, 2012

1. Underworld: Awakening – $24,400,000

2. Red Tails – $19,100,000

3. Contraband – $12,200,000

4. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – $10,545,000

5. Haywire – $9,000,000

6. Beauty and the Beast 3D – $8,556,000

7. Joyful Noise – $6,075,000

8. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – $5,540,000

9. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – $4,805,000

10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011 ) – $3,750,000

Underworld welcomes back star Kate Beckinsale to the series by claiming the number one spot with $25.4 million dollars. The IMAX 3D bump had a heavy hand in the numbers, but it looks like people still love the Underworld series. Awakening is the return for Beckinsale, who took a break during the prequel; Rise of the Lycans. The film will most likely be front loaded, so don’t expect it to make massive amounts of cash. It’s still impressive for a fourth entry in an R-rated series.

The George Lucas produced Red Tails, the story of the African American Tuskegee pilots, dropped in at number two with $19.1 million. The rumor has it that George sunk in a good $100 million into the project, so number two isn’t exactly a win for them, but the film was always considered a tough sell from Fox’s point of view. The true test will be how well the film holds in the coming weeks. If it drops too fast it might have troubles recouping its budget.

The Mark Wahlberg film Contraband fell to the number three spot with $12.2 million. The film is doing extremely well for an R-rated generic January action film. I really don’t see the appeal, but I guess people can’t get enough of Mr. Wahlberg.

The possible Oscar contender Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock came in on the soft side with $10.5 million. The 9/11 drama has been getting some rather nasty reviews for its cheap attempted grab at America’s heart, using 9/11 as the back story to the film only for hopes of getting more tears from the audience. I wasn’t sold on the film and I see its soft opening as a positive sign for the rest of the world.

The best film of the weekend by a long stretch, Haywire, opened at number five with only $9 million bucks. I see that as a decent haul, considering the films main star; Gina Carano isn’t exactly a household name and director Steven Soderbergh tends to make specific films for a specific audience. The marketing was also a little too vague for non-Sodbergh fans. I doubt it will find an audience, but chances are he made it for cheap.

The sure-to-be Oscar contender The Artist went wider this past week and still barely managed to make some change. It brought in $2.3 million dollars, in number seventeen. Awards or not, audiences aren’t catching the black and white/silent film fever.

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