Update: Gnomeo and Juliet was grossly overestimated on Sunday, bumping it down to second for the weekend, though it's still proven to be more than just a winter fling. The animated comedy was just a smidgen behind Hall Pass, which had a modest start but was more respectable than the ditched Drive Angry. Overall business was down eight percent from the comparable timeframe last year, when Shutter Island led, and the period was the least-attended late February weekend in 16 years.
With $13.5 million on approximately 3,500 screens at 2,950 locations, Hall Pass was below par among comparable comedies. While its showing was better than Drillbit Taylor, it was lower than The Dilemma and Hot Tub Time Machine, and its gross was in the same range as the last two Farrelly Bros. movies, The Heartbreak Kid and Fever Pitch, albeit with less attendance. It was, however, the Farrelly Bros.' first No. 1 movie since Me, Myself and Irene in 2000. In its marketing, Hall Pass lacked the go-for-it, wish-fulfillment attitude of movies like Old School and Wedding Crashers and struggled with its potentially off-putting premise. What's more, despite his billing, Owen Wilson was curiously a non-entity as co-star Jason Sudeikis took the spotlight. Distributor Warner Bros.' exit polling indicated that 55 percent of Hall Pass's audience was male and spread out over the key adult age ranges (22 percent 18-24 years old, 25 percent 25-34 years old, 27 percent 35-49 years old and 22 percent 50 years and older).
Drive Angry inspired little road rage, clocking a mere $5.2 million on close to 2,500 screens at 2,290 locations and ranking ninth. That's the weakest launch yet for a major release in the newfangled 3D format, trailing prior low My Soul to Take, and a previous Nicolas Cage driving thriller will describe the aggressively marketed Drive Angry's run: Gone in 60 Seconds. The last Cage movie, Season of the Witch, made $10.6 million in its first weekend, but Drive Angry's start was also worse than Jonah Hex (in their advertising, both movies pushed the young female co-stars, respectively Amber Heard and Megan Fox, over the male leads). Drive Angry's 3D presentations at 2,223 locations accounted for 96 percent of business, and distributor Summit Entertainment's research concluded that 69 percent of the audience was male and 57 percent was aged 30 years and older.
Shrinking 30 percent from last weekend, Gnomeo and Juliet plucked $13.4 million from approximately 3,800 screens at 3,037 locations (its 3D share stayed steady at around 56 percent). With $74.3 million in 17 days, Gnomeo has nearly matched the final gross of Coraline, it's out-pacing Yogi Bear and Meet the Robinsons, and it has an excellent shot at surpassing The Green Hornet as the top-grossing movie from Winter 2011.
Unknown slotted in third with $12.6 million, bringing its tally to $43 million in ten days. Off 43 percent, the Liam Neeson thriller lost further ground to Taken, which held much better and had made $53.6 million through the same point.
Justin Bieber showed greater stamina than Hannah Montana after mopping the floor with the Jonas Brothers. A new 3D-only Director's Fan Cut seems to have helped Justin Bieber: Never Say Never deliver an excellent third weekend hold. Bieber was down 30 percent to $9.4 million, and, with $63 million in 17 days, he edged out Hannah Montana's total through the same point. The movie's 3D share rose to 90 percent, up from 80 percent last weekend.