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"Underworld 4" opens with $25.4 mln to dominate N. America box office

(Xinhua)

12:36, January 23, 2012

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- "Underworld: Awakening" is projected to dominate the North America box office this weekend with a better-than-expected opening of 25.4 million dollars, followed by Lucasfilm's latest production "Red Tails," as the market is poised to usher in another good showing despite an inopportune snowstorm in the U.S.

The fourth installment on the nine-year-old vampire-and- werewolf franchise produced by Screen Gems, a Sony subsidiary, " Underworld: Awakening" opened in 3,078 locations in the U.S. and Canada as the second highest grosser in the series. The horror actioner, starring Kate Beckinsale who skipped the second film in the series, is the first film in the "Underworld" franchise presented in 3D and IMAX format. It costs about 70 million dollars to make.

The film garnered an "A-" CinemaScore from movie-goers who have seen it, according to the studio. It also received a 80 percent approval rating on Flixster from over 26,000 Flixster users. Fifty- five percent of the audience was male, and as many as 60 percent was above 25 years old.

The North America is poised for another good weekend, which is estimated to rake in 125 million dollars in ticket sales, or 30 percent up from 2011.

"Red Tails," Lucasfilm's World War II movie featuring a predominantly African American cast, debuted in second place with 19.1 million dollars, a bigger-than-expected feat from 2,512 venues. The film, released by Fox, garnered an "A" rating from CinemaScore, and 51 percent of the audience was male.

Universal's "Contraband," which was No. 1 last weekend, was relegated to No. 3 this weekend, taking in 12.2 million dollars in sales, or a 50 percent decrease from previous weekend. It is on track for a gross of 46.1 million dollars in two weeks.

Sept. 11 drama "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" took in 10.5 million dollars this weekend in fourth place, as the Warner Bros. drama opened to wide release. Rounding out the top five most popular films in North America is "Haywire," a Relativity Media actioner which is estimated to grab nine million dollars and received a terrible "D+" CinemaScore.

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