‘Chronicle’ Leads Weekend Box Office With $22 Million in Ticket Sales

“Chronicle,” the film about three teens who acquire psychic powers, opened as the top movie in theaters in the U.S. and Canada, taking in $22 million for News Corp. (NWSA)’s Twentieth Century Fox.

The ghost story “The Woman in Black,” featuring “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe, was second in its debut with revenue of $20.9 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement. “Big Miracle” opened in fourth place with $7.8 million.

Theaters, which normally face competition from the National Football League’s Super Bowl championship for viewers, had no trouble attracting filmgoers this past weekend. Receipts for the top 12 films were up 28 percent from the year-ago period, according to Hollywood.com.

The game “didn’t have that much of an impact” this weekend, said Paul Sweeney, an analyst at Bloomberg Industries in Skillman, New Jersey. “It’s a slow time of the year for Hollywood and even so, it’s performing quite well and is ahead of last year.”

“Chronicle” follows three teenagers who acquire remarkable powers. The movie, filmed to look like amateur video shot by the characters, was expected to take in $15 million, according to BoxOffice.com.

With a cast of little-known actors, “Chronicle” cost about $12 million, according to researcher BoxOfficeMojo.com. The film features Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan and Alex Russell.

‘The Grey’

“The Woman in Black,” based on the novel by Susan Hill, is Radcliffe’s first feature film as an adult leading man. In the picture, the 22-year-old actor portrays a recently widowed attorney who travels to a remote English village to handle a probate case. He gradually is drawn into a mystery surrounding his client’s death. Ciaran Hinds co-stars in the film, which is being distributed by CBS Films.

The Liam Neeson action film “The Grey” fell to third from first, taking in $9.3 million for Open Road Films, the distributor founded last year by the two largest U.S. theater chains. Owned by Regal Entertainment Group (RGC) and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the company was a response to shrinking output by major studios.

Neeson’s character in “The Grey” leads a group of oil-rig workers who are threatened by wolves after their plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness. Dermot Mulroney co-stars.

‘Big Miracle’

“Big Miracle,” based on the true story of gray whales trapped by ice near Alaska, stars Drew Barrymore as an environmentalist who tries to save the creatures. She joins forces with a news reporter, who also happens to be her former boyfriend, to build support for the cause. John Krasinski co- stars in the film from Comcast’s Universal Pictures.

“Underworld: Awakening” dropped to fifth from second with sales of $5.5 million for Sony Corp. (6758) The movie, the fourth film in the vampire-versus-werewolf series, has taken in $54.3 million since it opened on Jan. 20.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films rose to $94.1 million from a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Year to date, revenue is up 12 percent and attendance is up 13 percent. The amounts below are based on actual tickets sales for Feb. 3 through Feb. 5.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
================================================================
 1 CHRONICLE          $22.0   2,907   $7,569    --    $22.0    1
 2 THE WOMAN IN BLACK  20.9   2,855    7,311    --     20.9    1
 3 THE GREY             9.3   3,207    2,900   -53     34.6    2
 4 BIG MIRACLE          7.8   2,129    3,645    --      7.8    1
 5 UNDERWORLD AWAKENING 5.5   2,636    2,087   -55     54.3    3
 6 ONE FOR THE MONEY    5.2   2,737    1,902   -55     19.6    2
 7 RED TAILS            4.7   2,347    2,018   -54     41.1    3
 8 THE DESCENDANTS      4.6   2,038    2,234   -29     65.5   12
 9 MAN ON A LEDGE       4.4   2,998    1,451   -46     14.6    2
10 EXTREMELY LOUD       3.8   2,505    1,518   -46     26.7    7
11 CONTRABAND           3.4   2,047    1,665   -49     62.0    4
12 THE ARTIST           2.6   1,005    2,600   -21     20.6   11


Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
     $94.1         $73.4       +28


Year-to-date Revenue

     2012          2011
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
      $964          $850       +12

Year-to-date Attendance:     +13%

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net

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

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