‘Roommate’ Is Top Film at Theaters With $15 Million

The thriller “The Roommate” opened in first place at U.S. and Canadian theaters this Super Bowl weekend, taking in $15 million in ticket sales for Sony Corp.’s Screen Gems.

The 3-D action film “Sanctum” came in second place, with $9.4 million in receipts for Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

Sales were hurt by the Super Bowl telecast. The weekend of the U.S. professional football championship game typically is among the year’s worst for ticket sales, with revenue dropping as much as 60 percent on Sunday from Saturday, according to Hollywood.com. Sales declined for a 13th straight weekend.

“The box office is down because the movies have been largely unappealing, especially the ones that are supposed to be mainstream,” said Brandon Gray, president of Box Office Mojo. “Some of the Oscar contenders have done well, like ‘The King’s Speech’ and ‘True Grit,’ but the mainstream fare has been severely uninspiring.”

Receipts have declined in part, too, due to the December 2009 release of “Avatar,” which lifted sales during January and February of 2010. James Cameron’s 3-D movie went on to become the highest-grossing movie of all time.

According to Hollywood.com, the record for continuous sales declines is 19 weeks, set between February and July 2005. Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith,” “War of the Worlds” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” were among the No. 1 movies during that period.

‘Sanctum’

This week’s top film, “The Roommate,” stars Leighton Meester as a college freshman who becomes obsessed with her new roommate, played by Minka Kelly. The film was made for about $8 million, according to the Internet Movie Database.

“Sanctum,” about an underwater diving expedition that goes wrong, includes “Avatar” director Cameron as executive producer. In the film, made for an estimated $30 million, a team of divers is forced to stay in a deep underwater cavern they were exploring after a tropical storm hits the surface. The movie stars Ioan Gruffudd and Rhys Wakefield.

The romantic comedy “No Strings Attached” fell to third from second with $8 million for Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures. The movie, starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman, is about a man and woman who agree to a relationship of uncommitted sex.

‘The Green Hornet’

Weinstein Co.’s “The King’s Speech” was fourth with $7.7 million. The film, which stars Colin Firth as King George VI of England, secured 12 Oscar nominations on Jan. 25. The movie chronicles the monarch’s relationship with his unorthodox speech therapist.

“The Green Hornet,” from Sony’s Columbia Pictures, had $6 million in sales, dropping to fifth place from fourth. The film, based on the 1930s radio program and comic books, features Seth Rogen as a wealthy newspaper heir who secretly fights crime and Jay Chou as his sidekick Kato.

Domestic box-office sales this year total $987.8 million, down 24 percent from a year earlier. Attendance is off 25 percent. Revenue for the top 12 films this weekend was $73.4 million, down from $99.6 million a year earlier, according to Hollywood.com.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for Feb. 4-6.

                         Rev.            Avg./   Pct.  Total
Movie                   (mln) Theaters  Theater  Chg.  (mln) Wks
================================================================
 1 ROOMMATE, THE        15.0   2,534    5,921     --    15.0   1
 2 SANCTUM               9.4   2,787    3,390     --     9.4   1
 3 NO STRINGS ATTACHED   8.0   3,050    2,625    -40    51.4   3
 4 THE KING’S SPEECH     7.7   2,584    2,985    -30    83.5  11
 5 THE GREEN HORNET      6.0   3,033    1,967    -47    87.1   4
 6 THE RITE              5.6   2,985    1,872    -62    23.7   2
 7 THE MECHANIC          5.3   2,704    1,958    -54    20.0   2
 8 TRUE GRIT             4.6   2,902    1,599    -38   154.9   7
 9 BLACK SWAN            3.4   1,977    1,707    -34    95.9  10
10 THE DILEMMA           3.3   2,545    1,290    -42    45.6   4
11 THE FIGHTER           2.8   1,662    1,708    -28    82.4   9
12 YOGI BEAR             2.2   1,807    1,245    -29    95.4   8


Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $73.4         $99.6        -26


Year-to-date Revenue

     2011          2010
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $987.8        $1,297.5     -24

Year-to-date Attendance:      -25%

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net; Kristen Haunss in New York at khaunss@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo in Los Angeles at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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