Martin Luther King Jr. Day isn't until tomorrow, but already Exhibitor Relations says this weekend (Friday, January 16 to Sunday, January 18) is Hollywood's biggest-grossing MLK weekend ever, and one of its top 10 highest grossing weekends of all time.
Those were the findings from a monster weekend at the box office that was led, surprisingly, by Kevin James' Paul Blart: Mall Cop, (poster pictured right) a $26 million, mustache-sporting goof that grossed a serious $33.8 million Friday-Sunday, per studio estimates compiled today by Exhibitor Relations.
Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino ($22.2 million), last weekend's No. 1 film, slipped to second, but stayed strong. Notorious ($21.5 million), the Sean Combs-produced biopic about his friend, the slain rap star, debuted in fourth, but made more money per theater than any film reporting grosses.
Notorious earned its multimillions the hard way, debuting on 1,500 fewer screens than Paul Blart, and nearly 900 fewer than My Bloody Valentine.
Here's a recap of the top-grossing weekend films based on estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:
1. Paul Blart: Mall Cop, $33.8 million
2. Gran Torino, $22.2 million
3. My Bloody Valentine 3-D, $21.9 million
4. Notorious, $21.5 million
5. Hotel for Dogs, $17.7 million
6. Bride Wars, $11.8 million
7. The Unborn, $9.8 million
8. Defiance, $9.2 million
9. Marley & Me, $6.3 million
10. Slumdog Millionaire, $5.9 million
(Written by Joal Ryan-E! Online, edited by Cool Black)
Cool Black's Mad Commentary: Screens, screens, and did I say screens is the key to box office success boys and girls. It's simple math, the more screens you are playing, the more money you will make. A "mainstream" movie like Paul Blart: Mall Cop will always debut on more screens than a movie like Notorious especially where one is a "family friendly" rated PG comedy and the other is a R rated "hip hop" film.
Since Notorious "made more money per theater than any film" perhaps you can consider this film a box office success, but I was hoping it would be #1. I guess to quote Biggie, "it was all a dream".
You can read my review of the film Notorious here and read more about the film here