Looks like Americans decided to put down the remote, video game controller, iPad and other distracting devices and go back to the movies this weekend. That's great news for studio heads and executives, who have probably bitten their nails down to the cuticle waiting for box office numbers to rebound, and especially good news for the makers of Contraband. The action-thriller starring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale grossed a higher-than-expected $28.8 million... impressive for a January movie that doesn't come with a Happy Meal promotion or an Oscar campaign.
Speaking of Happy Meals, Disney's 3D re-release of Beauty and the Beast earned $23.5 million, coming in second place and proving that Belle has some mileage. The updated classic earned the added distinction of breaking the record for best January opening for an animated film. It beat previous record-holder Hookwinked!, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Queen Latifah's Joyful Noise opened at a respectable No. 4, coming in just behind Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible--Ghost Protocol and bringing in $13.8 million on the strength of faith-based audiences. The film stars Latifah and Dolly Parton as competing church choir directors.
Let's see if audiences continue to sing Hallelujah for the Queen next weekend, when Joyful Noise competes for audiences with Red Tails and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
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(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for HFPA)