Film Weekend Per Total
1 Paul Blart: Mall Cop $33,800,000 $10,751 $33,800,000
2 Gran Torino $22,235,000 (-24.6%) $7,481 $73,232,000
3 My Bloody Valentine 3-D $21,900,000 $8,642 $21,900,000
4 Notorious $21,500,000 $13,126 $21,500,000
5 Hotel for Dogs $17,707,000 $5,413 $17,707,000
6 Bride Wars $11,750,000 (-44.2%) $3,640 $37,577,000
7 The Unborn $9,849,000 (-50.3%) $4,175 $33,088,000
8 Defiance $9,206,000 (+13,401.9%) $5,146 $9,547,000
9 Marley and Me $6,325,000 (-44.5%) $2,143 $132,734,000
10 Slumdog Millionaire $5,900,000 (+56.0%) $10,137 $42,737,000

This just in: Blood, everywhere.

Since the Internet often is filled with blowhards, and people of limited intelligence, let it be said that I am a man happy to admit when he is wrong, and begrudges nothing its success or failure in accordance to that. There is a level to which the success of something like Paul Blart (rhymes with fart): Mall Cop is the sort of film that makes people say “look how stupid America is.” And though I have problems with No Child Left Behind, and the general attitude evinced toward teachers and teaching in America, the success of something like PB:MC says nothing about that. What it says is that the film was well sold, and that people wanted to see a comedy that wasn’t a rom-com. You have a couple funny moments in the trailer and TV spots, and Kevin James is someone people like enough to keep a show on for nine seasons, while his show has been off the air for a while, and so he might be someone they want to return to. Regardless of quality. This is a strong January opening, and the film may yet get to $100, especially because next week doesn’t really offer competition (Inkheart, Underworld: No Beckinsdale, and some Academy expansions). What this means is: more Kevin James. I was very wrong about the weekend, though would suggest that – as with all of this stuff – had this come out in December, it might have done Joe Somebody business. You never know.

That My Bloody Valentine only got to third place may look like some form of defeat, but the number is excellent, and did more business than last week’s The Unborn. If $50-$60 is a winning number, expect another. And Unborn manages to not shit the bed, so $50 is not out of question. People often think October is a good time for horror, but it seems first quarter is a good place to put a B movie like a horror film and if you do it on the cheap, you can turn that trick out.

Gran Torino only fell 25%, and such suggests that it’s a crowd pleaser or that audiences love it, and though I think Eastwood will have to settle for the nomination unless things change drastically over the next month, it’s a big fat hit. That it’s behaving like a film from twenty years ago bespeaks the audience, who probably doesn’t go like the kids today with their iPhones and their Google Chrome. $100 is all but assured.

Notorious also did better than expected. Biggie’s still got an audience. I can also guarantee that lass that 1% of the audience is likely to know that there’s a Hitchcock film called Notorious as well. It’s an opening weekend picture, so if $40 is what they were aiming for, it looks like they got it. Hotel for Dogs may play a bit longer, and will likely have a bigger total in the end, but a January kids picture is likely something done for the quick dollars. But when the top five of the weekend do over $100, perhaps that’s how people are dealing with the shit economy, and that mostly escapist entertainment that appears to be exceptionally escapist are dominating is not that surprising.

Bride Wars is looking like a misfire. Anne Hathaway probably doesn’t attract the rom-com crowd with a film that looks this stupid. Or the Princess Diaries crowd didn’t go for this. And that audience seems to have turned on Hudson, so what may have looked like an easy sell doesn’t have the playing power of 27 Dresses. And that film is shit.

Defiance gets this weekend. Such as it is. But Slumdog is gaining some momentum, and will gain more this week, and though $100 is probably too far away at this point, it’s going to do nothing but keep playing for a while. Maybe it’ll even get to $70-80 when it’s all over. That’s not bad, but it’s not Juno. Juno has the benefit of having more white people, though. Perhaps if it keeps expanding, and word of mouth keeps growing it could get past $100, but all I know is one thing: don’t put anything past Fox Searchlight. Benjamin Button crossed $100 this weekend, and may yet come back into the top ten once the nominations are out, but there’s no way it’ll come close to matching the production budget ($150). But next weekend brings the surge of Academy expansions, so films like Frost/Nixon may yet gain some traction. If that picture doesn’t, it won’t bode well for its Oscar chances.