Weekend Box-Office: January 27-29, 2012

The Grey gets the green!

A movie about people stranded in freezing weather may not seem like appealing escapism during the chilly month of January, but a chance to watch Liam Neeson battle voracious wolves in the Alaskan wilds was enough to propel THE GREY to the top this weekend with $20 million. Not quite the heights of Neeson's last couple of winter-released actioners (TAKEN - $24.7M, UNKNOWN - $21.9M) but still a solid opening, especially considering the moderate budget (around $25M).

Kate Beckinsale's leather-wrapped vampire was powerful enough to defeat Katherine Heigl, as UNDERWORLD: AWAKENINGS held second place with another $12.5M over ONE FOR THE MONEY's $11.7M debut. The fourth in the bloodsuckers-vs.-lycanthropes series dropped 50% from last week, while Heigl's latest has the dubious honor of a rare single-digit critic rating at Rotton Tomatoes.

Despite a strong cast, the heist thriller MAN ON A LEDGE couldn't soar higher than the second weekend of RED TAILS. The Sam Worthington-led flick (supported by Ed Harris, Elizabeth Banks, Anthony Mackie and Jamie Bell) only managed an $8.3M opening for fifth place, while George Lucas' Tuskegee Airmen story had some fuel left in the tank, dropping 44% from last week and collecting another $10.4M.

On the bottom half of the list, EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE did fairly well in its second week thanks to the recent Oscar nominations, losing just 28% from its wide release last weekend. And George Clooney's THE DESCENDANTS popped back into the Top 10 with another $6.5M, bringing it close to $60M after 11 weeks in theaters (it finally expanded onto 2000 screens this weekend).

Mark Wahlberg's action movie CONTRABAND seems to still have ammunition remaining, also coming up on the $60M mark (on a $25M investment), but Gina Carano's HAYWIRE is just clinging to the chart. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL finally makes its exit from the Top 10, while awards fave THE ARTIST still struggles to climb into it. Also of interest: TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY has crossed $50M worldwide, somewhat impressive for a movie that while compelling, let's be honest, largely consists of British guys having conversations.

Next weekend (Super Bowl!) starts kind of a depressing-looking month for releases with the dolphin drama BIG MIRACLE, the superpowered teen "found footage" thriller CHRONICLE, and the Daniel Radcliffe-starring horror movie THE WOMAN IN BLACK. What February release are you most looking forward to seeing? VOTE HERE!

1. The Grey $20 M
2. Underworld: Awakening $12.5 M $45.1 M
3. One for the Money $11.7 M
4. Red Tails $10.4 M $33.7 M
5. Man on a Ledge $8.3 M
6. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close $7.1 M $21.1 M
7. The Descendants $6.5 M $58.8 M
8. Contraband $6.5 M $56.4 M
9. Beauty and the Beast 3D $5.3 M $41.1 M
10. Haywire $4 M $15.2 M


Source: Box Office Mojo



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