It turns out delaying Shutter Island by four months only meant Paramount had to wait a bit longer to collect its impressive loot. The psychological thriller (with a twist!) was the top choice over the weekend, pulling down a massive $40.2 million to lead all comers. As we do each Monday, here’s a breakdown of the top five at the box office.
1. Shutter Island: $40.2 million ($40.2 million total)
For the team of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, the fourth time was a charm. The duo each set career highs with the opening of Shutter Island, as it topped the starts by The Departed (for Mr. Scorsese) and Catch Me If You Can (for Mr. DiCaprio). While we’re sure Mr. Scorsese is excited—the back-to-back financial successes of The Departed and now Shutter Island probably mean the director will have carte blanche to make whichever of the ten projects he’s attached to in the near future—it’s Mr. DiCaprio who should be doing somersaults. Despite his great reputation, the star has been something of a box office pariah since 2006. Shutter Island has already grossed more than Revolutionary Road and Body of Lies and will pass Blood Diamond next weekend, no matter how much it drops from shaky word of mouth. Combine that with the sure-fire success of the upcoming summer blockbuster Inception, and 2010 is already shaping up as the best year of Mr. DiCaprio’s post-Titanic career.
2. Valentine’s Day: $17.1 million ($87.4 million total)
Look out below! With the actual Valentine’s Day nothing but a distant memory, Valentine’s Day tumbled nearly 70 percent to fall into second place at the box office. Frankly, there is no silver lining here except to say that the Garry Marshall film has already made back its mid-range budget (which doesn’t include the cost of the huge marketing campaign). Still, after a record-setting bow, that Valentine’s Day will only barely scrap past $100 million feels like a loss.
3. Avatar: $16.1 million ($687.8 million total)
As it becomes increasingly clear that Avatar is going to get shut out next month at the Academy Awards (with wins this weekend at the WGA and BAFTA, The Hurt Locker seems like a Slumdog Millionaire-type lock for Best Picture), James Cameron will just have to settle for being incredibly wealthy. In weekend ten, Avatar dipped just 32 percent—shocking considering the other options now available at the multiplex—and its on course to top $700 million domestic. For those keeping score at home that means it’ll eclipse Titanic‘s seemingly unsinkable record by over $100 million.
4. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief: $15.3 million ($58.7 million total)
You have to wonder how much Avatar has hurt Percy Jackson. The fantasy kids film seems squarely aimed at the same demographic that is still lining up around the block to visit Pandora. As a result, Percy Jackson doesn’t look like it’ll wind up being the franchise starter 20th Century Fox had hoped for… a pain we’re sure the piles of money the studio reaped from Avatar will sate.
5. The Wolfman: $9.8 million ($50.3 million total)
The good news is that The Wolfman didn’t shed as much of its audience as Valentine’s Day did. The bad news, however, is that it still crashed nearly 69 percent and can now safely be certified as a bust. Something about Universal Pictures reminds us of the New York Mets: they’re bad 2009 is slowly turning into a bad 2010, and there really isn’t anything on the horizon to stop the freefall.