Love beats action as ‘The Vow’ bows with $41.7M

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“Journey 2” stars Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson and Vanessa Hudgens in a follow-up to the 2008 hit “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” a modern take on Jules Verne’s sci-fi classic. The sequel gives a similar twist to Verne’s “The Mysterious Island.”

The movie began rolling out overseas three weeks earlier than its domestic release. It added $25.5 million in 29 overseas markets this weekend to raise its international total to $74.7 million and putting its worldwide take at $102.3 million.

Domestically, “Journey 2” started modestly Friday, behind “The Phantom Menace.” But family crowds swamped theaters for “Journey 2” on Saturday.

“For us to win that family battle this weekend was a tremendous coup for the film,” said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., which released “Journey 2.”

The PG-rated “Journey 2” filled out that family niche on a weekend that gave viewers wide choices.

“I’ve always felt the market is healthiest when there’s something for everyone, and there is something for everyone now. `The Vow’ has a specific audience, `Safe House’ has a specific audience, `Journey 2’ found its audience. And `Star Wars’ is `Star Wars,’” said Chris Aronson, head of distribution for 20th Century Fox, which released Lucas‘ sci-fi franchise. “It’s one of those really rare jewels in the film universe.”

While business was strong for “The Phantom Menace,” it came up short of the $30.2 million debut for last September’s 3-D re-release of “The Lion King.”

“The Phantom Menace” reissue added $20.5 million in 61 overseas markets, bringing the 3-D version’s worldwide haul to $43.5 million. Added to the $924 million global total from its original 1999 release, the movie is climbing toward the $1 billion mark.

Release dates for 3-D versions of the remaining five “Star Wars” flicks have not been announced, though the initial plan for Fox and Lucas was to put out one a year.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “The Vow,” $41.7 million ($9.7 million international).

2. “Safe House,” $39.3 million ($10.2 million international).

3. “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” $27.6 million ($25.5 million international).

4. “Star Wars: Episode I _ The Phantom Menace” in 3-D, $23 million ($20.5 million international).

5. “Chronicle,” $12.3 million.

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