Ordinarily going to a movie theater on Super Bowl weekend is like attending a wake for a particularly unlikable relative -- not many others are in attendance, and those who are are seem somewhat abashed about being there. Not this weekend, however. According to studio estimates, 20th Century Fox's Chronicle earned $21 million, edging out CBS Films' The Woman in Black with $21 million -- surprisingly strong results. Those estimates are based on actual ticket sales for Friday and Saturday and an educated guess on how the two films will do on Super Bowl Sunday, when audiences are overwhelmingly composed of women and children. A few analysts have suggested that Woman could very well overtake Chronicle when final figures are released on Monday inasmuch as the Daniel Radcliffe horror film is particularly female-friendly. In any case, each film performed far better at the box office than even the most sanguine forecasts had indicated. (Based on previous box-office returns on Super Bowl Sunday, several analysts had figured that they would be lucky to earn $10 million apiece.) Their surprising strength pushed overall sales up 36 percent over last year's Super Bowl weekend. A third opener, the family film Big Miracle, opened with an estimated $8.5 million, in line with projections. Among holdovers,last week's champ, Open Road's The Grey , dropped a respectable 52 percent, to place third with about $9.5 million.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo 1. Chronicle , $22 million; 2. The Woman in Black , $21 million; 3. The Grey , $9.5 million; 4. Big Miracle , $8.5 million; 5. Underworld Awakening , $5.6 million; 6. One for the Money , $5.3 million; 7. Red Tails , $5 million; 8. The Descendants , $4.6 million; 9. Man on a Ledge , $4.5 million; 10. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close , $3.9 million.