Super Bowl weekend always throws the box office for a loss, but, if studio estimates hold, fewer tickets were sold this weekend than at any time since the comparable one in 1996, according to box-office trackers BoxOfficeMojo.com. Sony's The Roommate landed in first place -- but with only about $15.6 million. That compares with the $30.5 million that Dear John earned during the same weekend a year ago (while, in the process, breaking Avatar 's nearly two-month hold on the top spot). Universal's Sanctum, the only other new film to open wide, brought in just $9.2 million, to wind up in second place. Despite their unimpressive ticket sales, however, both films will likely turn a profit, given their relatively low budgets. ( Roommate reportedly cost $16 million to produce; Sanctum, $12 million.) Still, the stunted results for Sanctum in particular seemed anomalous, even taking into consideration the competition from the Big Game. It was, after all, exec-produced by James Cameron, whose Avatar was setting records a year ago. But merely having Cameron's name in the credits clearly did not help sell tickets. Cameron's 3D rigs were also dusted off and put to work on Sanctum 's production, and while several critics praised the 3D images, it was clear that few moviegoers are willing to shell out for the 3D surcharge for a film that has relatively little advance promotion and marketing. Overall, the box office was down 25 percent from last year, marking the 13th consecutive weekend that it has been down.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo 1. The Roommate , $15.6 million; 2. Sanctum , $9.2 million; 3. No Strings Attached , $8.4 million; 4. The King's Speech , $8.3 million; 5. The Green Hornet , $6.1 million; 6. The Rite , $5.6 million; 7. The Mechanic , $5.4 million; 8. True Grit , $4.8 million; 9. The Dilemma , $3.5 million; 10. Black Swan , $3.4 million.