The top two films at the weekend box office performed well above expectations and helped push the overall gross more than 30 percent above the same weekend a year ago, according to studio estimates. Sony Screen Gems's Underworld Awakening debuted ahead of the pack with an estimated $25.4 million (it made an additional $13.4 million overseas), while the George Lucas-produced Red Tails , released by Fox, soared to about $19.1 million -- nearly twice what most box office pundits had predicted it would earn. In third place was last week's winner, Contraband , starring Mark Wahlberg, with $12.2 million, followed by Warner Bros.' Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close , which tallied $10.5 million as it expanded nationwide. It edged out Relativity Media's Haywire , which nabbed an estimated $9 million in its debut. Overseas, Warner Bros.' Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows remained in first place with $18.1 million from 57 countries. Its overseas gross now comes to $261 million, and it is virtually certain to top the foreign total of 2009's $315-million total.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo 1. Underworld Awakening, $25.4 million; 2. Red Tails , $19.1 million; 3. Contraband , $12.2 million; 4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close , $10.5 million; 5. Haywire, $9 million; 6. Beauty and the Beast , $8.6 million; 7. Joyful Noise , $6.1 million; 8. Mission Impossible ‹ Ghost Protocol, $5.5 million; 9. Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows , $4.8 million; 10. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, $3.75 million.

23/01/2012