Movie News & Reviews

'Shutter Island' hangs onto lead position at weekend box office

LOS ANGELES — Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese continue to lure movie-goers to "Shutter Island," while James Cameron's "Avatar" has surpassed $700 million domestically.

The Paramount Pictures psychological thriller remained the No. 1 film for a second-straight weekend with $22.2 million, raising its 10-day total to $75.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

"Shutter Island" stars DiCaprio as a U.S. marshal caught in a tangle of delusions and paranoia while investigating the disappearance of a murderess at a remote hospital for the criminally insane.

"It is one of those movies that people, when they walk out of, they want to talk to somebody about," said Rob Moore, Paramount vice chairman. "When you have a movie that engages people and they want to talk about, want to debate, want to think about it, it certainly keeps you in front of mind for people."

James Cameron's science-fiction blockbuster "Avatar" became the first movie ever to top the $700 million mark domestically. With a $14 million weekend, the 20th Century Fox release now is at $706.9 million domestically and $2.5 billion worldwide.

Some of that business comes from people seeing "Avatar" multiple times, but "I do believe first-time viewers are still discovering this movie," said Chris Aronson, head of distribution for 20th Century Fox. "We're getting people who don't go to movies often or never go to the movies. That's how special this movie is."

Debuting in second place with $18.6 million was the Warner Bros. police romp "Cop Out," starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. Opening in third was Overture Films' horror tale "The Crazies' with $16.5 million.

Directed by Kevin Smith, "Cop Out" features Willis and Morgan as veteran detectives trying to retrieve a stolen baseball card from a memorabilia-obsessed gangster.

"Cop Out" exceeded the studio's revenue expectations and did well despite storms on the East Coast that kept some people at home, said Dan Fellman, Warner's head of distribution.

"We lost some money with the weather, but we certainly had a strong weekend," Fellman said.

With a $9.5 million weekend, the Warner Bros. romance "Valentine's Day" became the first movie released in 2010 to top the $100 million mark.

The Academy Awards are coming next Sunday, but the usual Oscar bounce for key nominees has been tough to assess this season. Some nominees, such as best-picture contenders "The Hurt Locker" and "Inglourious Basterds," already had run their course at theaters before the nominations.

A few — including best-picture contender "The Blind Side" and "Crazy Heart," with a best-actor nomination for Jeff Bridges — have hung on at the box office partly because of the awards attention.

For "Avatar," which is tied with "The Hurt Locker" with a leading nine nominations, the Oscars were simply one more reason for people to catch what already had been a runaway box-office sensation.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released today.

1. "Shutter Island," $22.2 million

2. "Cop Out," $18.6 million

3. "The Crazies," $16.5 million

4. "Avatar," $14 million

5. "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief," $9.8 million

6. "Valentine's Day," $9.5 million

7. "Dear John," $5 million

8. "The Wolfman," $4.1 million

9. "The Tooth Fairy," $3.5 million

10. "Crazy Heart," $2.5 million

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