"Safe House" leads movie box office charts

Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:22pm EST
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By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Denzel Washington thriller "Safe House" rose to the No. 1 spot at movie box offices through Sunday, narrowly leading love story "The Vow" over a long holiday weekend in the United States.

"Safe House" took in $24.0 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters from Friday through Sunday, taking the top slot after a second-place finish when the film debuted a week earlier. The movie earned an average of $7,680 from 3,121 theaters, according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters.

Distributor Universal Pictures projected "Safe House" would gross $28.5 million domestically through Monday, the U.S. Presidents Day holiday. Also on Monday, the film's global sales to date were expected to cross $100 million.

The movie stars Washington as a fugitive on the run with a rookie CIA operative played by Ryan Reynolds. Privately held Relativity Media helped finance the film.

Close behind "Safe House" was last weekend's winner, "The Vow," with $23.6 million domestically from Friday through Sunday, or an average of $7,978 at 2,958 locations. Ticket sales were projected to reach $27.4 million through Monday.

The movie stars Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum in the story of a man who must win back his wife's heart after she loses her memory in a car crash. Spyglass Entertainment co-financed the film, which has brought in an estimated $108.3 million around the world since its release.

The weekend's strongest new release was third-place "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance." It opened with $22.0 million domestically for three days and was poised to reach $25.5 million through Monday. The per-theater average was $6,931 on 3,174 screens.

The 3D movie starring Nicolas Cage as the devil's bounty hunter is a follow-up to the original "Ghost Rider," which opened over Presidents Day weekend in 2007.   Continued...