Traditionally, Super Bowl weekend isn’t a particularly lucrative one for Hollywood: Even if you’re counterprogramming to non-sports fans, you forfeit a chunk of Sunday box office, and this being early February, the multiplexes are still an island of misfit studio toys. On paper, a found-footage sci-fi/horror movie about telekinesis and a Daniel Radcliffe vehicle not called Harry Potter And The Something Something didn’t seem likely to approach the stratospheric numbers posted by Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour, the best-ever Super Bowl opening at $31.1 million (and on only 683 screens!). But buoyed by solid notices, Chronicle and The Woman In Black did exceptionally well under the circumstances, engaging in a tight, Patriots-Giants-style battle for first place, with Chronicle coming out on top $22 million to $21 million. Both were well ahead of poor Big Miracle, which had to settle for fourth at $8.5 million and catch a lot of flack from this article—right now, in this sentence—for not living up to its title and becoming the unlikely hit no one in their right mind expected it to be.
Despite being the first film director to have her movie open on the same day she performed at the Super Bowl halftime show—John G. Avildsen’s dream remains shattered—Madonna draw a slightly smaller audience for her second feature, W.E., which posted $11,250 per screen on four screens. The good news: It was the highest per-screen-average of any movie to open this week. The bad: It’s still an iffy number. Results for two mostly acclaimed independent horror films, The Innkeepers and Kill List, were dire, perhaps because both ran for a month on VOD before reaching arthouses. The Innkeepers collected $30,500 on 25 screens (that’s $1,250 per screen) and Kill List got $5,900 on one. No accounting for taste.