‘No Strings Attached’ Is Top Film With $19.7 Million

The romantic comedy “No Strings Attached” opened in first place at U.S. and Canadian theaters, taking in $19.7 million for Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures.

The superhero movie “The Green Hornet” dropped to second place from first in its second weekend of release, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

“No Strings Attached,” about a man and woman who agree to a relationship of uncommitted sex, failed to reverse a box- office slump that extended to 11 straight weeks. This year’s films have been overshadowed by “Avatar,” the top-grossing movie of all time. Hollywood’s worst losing streak came in 2005, when sales plunged for 18 weeks, according to Hollywood.com.

“The big issue here is the lack of exciting product,” said Gitesh Pandya, editor of Box Office Guru.com. “Most of the movies are doing well. But we don’t have a big film that brings in all audiences.”

Sales for the weekend’s top 12 films fell to $88.8 million from $128.1 million a year earlier, according to Hollywood.com. This year’s domestic box-office sales total $730.2 million, down 25 percent from a year earlier. Attendance is off 28 percent.

Waiting for Sequels

“No Strings Attached” stars Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman as a couple trying to keep their sexual relationship free from emotional attachment. The film was expected to take in $19 million in sales, according to Pandya’s forecast.

“It’s a good opening,” Pandya said of the film. “It’s a female-skewing, counter-programming move against the big football playoffs this weekend.”

Hollywood studios are also relying on sequels of film series including “Pirates of the Caribbean” and Harry Potter” to reverse last year’s 5.2 percent attendance drop and drive box-office sales to a projected $11 billion, the estimate of Hollywood.com Box-Office President Paul Dergarabedian.

Sales in the U.S. and Canada last year were $10.6 billion, slightly below 2009’s record.

“The Green Hornet” is based on the 1930s radio program and comic books. It stars Seth Rogen as a wealthy newspaper heir who secretly fights crime while hiding behind a playboy image. With $17.7 million this week, the movie has taken in a total of $63 million.

In third place was the Vince Vaughn comedy, “The Dilemma,” directed by Ron Howard and co-starring Kevin James and Winona Ryder. It had sales of $9.1 million. Vaughn plays a man who discovers his best friend’s wife is having an affair.

‘King’s Speech’

“The King’s Speech,” starring Colin Firth as King George VI of England, held onto fourth place with $7.9 million in receipts. The story chronicles the monarch’s speech impediment and struggle to overcome it when he’s forced to give a radio address to rally his people. It also features Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush.

“True Grit,” the remake of a western classic by directors Joel and Ethan Coen, fell to fifth place from third with sales of $7.3 million. Jeff Bridges stars as Deputy U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, a role that won John Wayne the best-actor Academy Award in 1970.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for Jan. 21-23.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
 1 NO STRINGS ATTACHED 19.7    3,018   6,512    --     19.7    1
 2 THE GREEN HORNET    17.7    3,584   4,932   -47     63.0    2
 3 THE DILEMMA          9.1    2,943   3,095   -49     32.7    2
 4 THE KING’S SPEECH    7.9    1,680   4,676   -14     57.3    9
 5 TRUE GRIT            7.3    3,464   2,116   -33    138.0    5
 6 BLACK SWAN           5.9    2,407   2,439   -30     83.3    8
 7 LITTLE FOCKERS       4.3    2,979   1,450   -40    141.1    5
 8 THE FIGHTER          4.2    2,275   1,831   -18     72.7    7
 9 YOGI BEAR            3.8    2,510   1,522   -29     88.6    6
10 TRON: LEGACY         3.6    2,018   1,807   -36    163.2    6
11 TANGLED              3.1    1,860   1,657   -23    186.4    9
12 SEASON OF THE WITCH  2.3    2,307     996   -50     22.2    3

Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
     $88.8        $128.1      -30.7

Year-to-date Revenue

     2011          2010
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
    $730.2        $978.7      -25.4

Year-to-date Attendance:     -27.7%

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net; Prashant Gopal in New York at pgopal2@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sylvia Wier at swier@bloomberg.net

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