Box office looks for love

'Valentine's,' 'Percy,' 'Wolfman' open at b.o.

Moviegoers may feel more romantic than patriotic this Presidents Day weekend.

New Line’s “Valentine’s Day” opens at 3,665 locations, with 20th Century Fox’s kidlit adaptation “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” at 3,356 and Universal’s “The Wolfman” at 3,222, thus offering something for every demo.

The frame’s fresh offerings will look for love overseas as well, with several key day-and-date releases.

At the specialty B.O., Fox Searchlight continues its steady expansion of “Crazy Heart,” widening the pic to 1,005 playdates. Pic scored the biggest post-Oscar nominations boost last weekend with $3.6 million at 869.

With Valentine’s Day on Sunday, studios could benefit from auds in the mood for cinematic love that day, while most filmgoers are out of work and school Monday.

During the same four-day weekend last year, Warner’s R-rated horror franchise installment “Friday the 13th” topped the domestic box office with $43.6 million, while New Line’s romantic ensemble “He’s Just Not That Into You” claimed the No. 2 spot with $22.3 million.

“Valentine’s Day” is tracking strongest among females and older males, with Warners unleashing a slew of holiday-themed promos. Early reviews for R-rated “Wolfman” have been mixed. “Wolfman,” starring Benicio del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, should play best among male auds.

Fox’s “Percy Jackson” is the first installment in author Rick Riordan’s bestselling kids series about a school-age boy who discovers he’s the son of the Greek god Poseidon. Pic is directed by Chris Columbus, who also helmed the first two “Harry Potter” adaptations. “Percy” hopes to lure fanboys as well as families.

Sony will look to follow up a frame-topping launch last weekend with holdover “Dear John” as it enters its soph sesh at 2,975 locations. Pic opened with $30.5 million, ousting Fox’s “Avatar” with $22.9 million in its eighth frame.

“Avatar” topped seven consecutive frames before falling to the No. 2 spot last weekend with a domestic cume of $635.5 million as of Wednesday.

Lionsgate’s John Travolta starrer “From Paris With Love” enters its soph sesh after a disappointing launch last weekend, earning $8.2 million. Blizzard conditions on the East Coast prevented some 200 theaters from reporting grosses, and weather could continue to put a damper on box office performances this weekend.

Specialty pic “Crazy Heart” has grossed $12.2 million since its release on Dec. 16.

Fox Searchlight launches Indian pic “My Name Is Khan,” directed by Karan Johar, at 120 theaters. Fox Star Studios and Abu Dhabi production arm Imagenation teamed up to cross-promote and distribute the film. “Khan” premiered at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday and will screen out of competition at the Berlin Film Fest.

Paramount’s “Up in the Air,” which received nods for pic and director, saw a solid boost overseas, earning $10.5 million at 2,619 screens in 46 territories. The George Clooney starrer opened in nine markets, including Austria and Germany, where it grossed $1.8 million at 242 screens in 46 markets.

Last weekend’s overseas champ, “Avatar,” which has cumed $1.6 billion internationally, will face fresh competition in several key markets. “Percy” will open day and date in such markets as Brazil, France and Italy, while “Valentine’s Day” and “Wolfman” launch in territories including Germany and the U.K.

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