Nicolas Cage thriller nabs $8.9 million Friday

Summit Entertainment’s Nicolas Cage sci-fi thriller “Knowing” outsmarted two other wide releases yesterday grossing an estimated $8.9 million off 3,332 engagements.

Pic about a professor who attempts to thwart a global disaster after uncovering a series of cataclysmic predictions marks the second best opening day for Cage outside the summer and holiday frame following 2007’s “Ghost Rider” which chalked up $15.4 million.  Among all of Cage’s opening days, “Knowing” ranks fourth with 2007’s “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” being his highest at $16.7 million. 

“Knowing” is also the second best opening day for Summit after November’s “Twilight” ($36 million) since launching its domestic distribution arm in 2007. 

Directed by Alex Proyas, “Knowing” is the helmer’s first film since his 2004 Will Smith sci-fi hit “I, Robot” which racked up $144.8 million at the domestic B.O.  “Knowing” looks to retain its hold on the number one spot through the weekend and should clear past $20 million.

Paramount/DreamWorks’ R-rated buddy comedy “I Love You, Man” starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel slotted second with $6.3 million off 2,711.  Pic’s opening day is in sync with last spring’s R-rated male laffer “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” which made $6 million on its first Friday and a three-day weekend of $17.7 million.  Segel headlined and wrote “Marshall” while Rudd co-starred in the pic.

The Julia Roberts-Clive Owen romantic caper “Duplicity” from Universal took third with $4.7 million off 2,574.  Directed by Tony Gilroy of “Michael Clayton” fame, “Duplicity” has been receiving a positive reaction from critics.  Among Roberts’ headliners, “Duplicty’s” opening day came in ahead of 2007’s “Charlie Wilson’s War” ($2.8 million) and below 2000’s “Erin Brockovich” ($8.1 million) for which she won an Oscar for best actress.

The trio of wide entries pushed Disney’s No. 1 film from last weekend, “Race to Witch Mountain,” to fourth.  Pic collected $3.8 million, down 44%, from 3,187 for an eight-day haul of $35.5 million. 

Warner Bros./Par’s fanboy film “Watchmen” grossed $2 million off 3,510 in fifth, down 62% in its third Friday for a running domestic cume of $93.3 million.

On the specialty side, Magnolia’s “The Great Buck Howard” starring Colin Hanks, Emily Blunt and John Malkovich generated $29,000 at 55 sites for a per theater of $535.  Focus Features’ Spanish-lingo drama “Sin Nombre” about Central American immigrants fleeing to the United States charted a per theater of $3,783 from six engagements or $23,000.

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