Film Weekend Per Total
1 Monsters Vs. Aliens $58,200,000 $14,181 $58,200,000
2 The Haunting in Connecticut $23,010,000 $8,422 $23,010,000
3 Knowing $14,705,000 (-40.2%) $4,407 $46,220,000
4 I Love You, Man $12,600,000 (-29.3%) $4,637 $37,007,000
5 Duplicity $7,556,000 (-45.9%) $2,930 $25,639,000
6 Race to Witch Mountain $5,637,000 (-55.9%) $1,725 $53,295,000
7 12 Rounds $5,300,000 $2,274 $5,300,000
8 Watchmen $2,755,000 (-59.5%) $1,371 $103,296,000
9 Taken $2,700,000 (-33.5%) $1,377 $137,074,000
10 The Last House on the Left $2,611,000 (-54.8%) $1,160 $28,459,000

This just in: A box of rocks. Hope you’re smarter than it.

So, Monsters Vs. Aliens opened. This is not all that surprising, it did a little over what I expected. The question becomes the expectations game. Next week it could conceivably still top the Box (depending on how well Fast and Furious does), but on 4/10 Dragonball and Hannah Montana amp up the kids film factor. By then it should be comfortably be over $100, but by 5/1 it’ll be old news (most things will be, actually). The question becomes if it can crack $200. These things can play long and the 3-D might add some buoyancy, but critical response was mixed. I’d still bet it does three times what it opened to, and gets to around $180.

Horror films have become about Fridays and opening weekends, so the $23 million The Haunting in Connecticut got to suggests that it might get to $50, but could just as easily top out at $40. Since there are no names, and the Friday to Saturday drop off wasn’t that bad, I wouldn’t bet against getting to a $50-60 stopping point, though the core demo of a film like this is getting sold to hard next week, it will be the only horror film going for a while. But regardless, I’m sure Lionsgate is pleased, as they can’t always be counted on to get a film open.

I thought this would be the week where I Love You, Man passed Knowing on the charts, which will happen if their respective drops continue, but I guess next week will be that magic hour. I expect Man to have a higher domestic than Knowing, but there’s still a nine million dollar difference. That’ll keep getting smaller and smaller, that. Still, you’ve got to give it to Knowing, enough people liked it to not have it shit the bed second week. Which means $70 isn’t out of the question.

Duplicity didn’t do well, even though a lot of people liked it. It just didn’t click, which makes me a little concerned for the fate of The Brothers Bloom, which looks to mine similar territory of crosses and double crosses. This may be a genre that filmmakers love more than audiences. If that’s the case, audiences are wrong. Race to Witch Mountain looks to be a misfire, but a quiet one. Spoilers: I was told they make it Witch Mountain, so maybe it’s because there’s not much surprise, or the title’s name-value was so meaningless, or maybe people didn’t much truck with The Game Plan. Hard to say.

12 Rounds is one of those films that I’m sure the studio hoped they could fool the audience for one week, but Cena’s career as a lead is pretty much done at this point in studio films. Maybe he can play a bad guy or something.

Word of mouth never kicked in for Watchmen. There are three ways to look at this. One is that they got it open, and there was nothing you could do after that, so in that way, it was successful, even if the film does not make back its production budget theatrically. The second is the doom and gloom. Which is fair, it was a big opening, and it may not double its opening weekend, which is the sign of audience rejection. That said, I’ve heard that Cloverfield (which similarly shit the bed) was a big home video winner, which has fueled some of the sequel talk. Unless that goes into production a week after Star Trek hits, I don’t think C2 will happen. But Cloverfield was cheap (or so they say) and Watchmen is expensive (or so they say). The third viewpoint is the god’s eye view. Watchmen has existed in the public consciousness as a film for 23 days now. There will be a director’s extended cut later this year, which will surely have people revisiting the title. And there is a sense that for many the first pass – with all of its loaded expectations – may not have been as satisfying as the next couple of viewings. I’m not a hard-core faithful of the source material (though I think the comic is inarguably one of the medium’s finest achievements), but there was a great sense of weight on the film. And how the film ages and is re-assessed will be the most interesting facet of the film. But unlike Blade Runner or The Thing, I don’t think you can say this thing flopped, because a flop suggests no one saw it theatrically. People saw it, they just didn’t love it. Maybe it’s not a thing to be loved.

Taken is finishing its victory lap, Last House is going to get to $30, and hope the unrated DVD gets it some more attention. Next week promises one good movie, and a last ditch effort for Vin Diesel to show that he’s a movie star.