Adam Sandler, one of the industry’s most dependable performers at the box office, just lost to an “Eenie Meenie” Bieber. Well, at least for one day. The 3-D concert pic Justin Bieber: Never Say Never topped the charts on Friday, grossing $12.4 million from 3,105 theaters, according to early estimates. That’s more than 2008′s Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour, which tallied $8.7 million its opening day. It’s also the largest opening day of 2011 so far. However, the real test for Never Say Never comes today and tomorrow — will it have enough steam to hold off Sandler and win the weekend? Or, in other words, just how front-loaded is the G-rated movie’s Friday figure? By comparison, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus jumped 51 percent on Saturday, while Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience fell 5 percent. At the moment, Never Say Never is estimated to finish the weekend with about $29 million, and will fall just short of Sandler’s Just Go With It, which is on pace for $30 million. But should Never Say Never hold up better than expected today, that outcome could easily flip.
The romantic comedy Just Go With It, which stars Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, landed in second on Friday with $9.7 million. Assuming it finishes the weekend with $30 million, it’ll represent a middle-of-the-road debut for Sandler. It will fall short of hits like Grown Ups, Click, The Longest Yard, Anger Management, and Big Daddy, which all opened to more than $40 million, but it’ll beat some of Sandler’s less successful projects, like Funny People, Reign Over Me, Spanglish, and Little Nicky. For Aniston, however, Just Go With It will likely become her best debut since 2008′s Marley and Me.
In third was Disney’s Gnomeo & Juliet, which earned $6.1 million. The 3-D animated film, which fulfilled William Shakespeare’s dying wish to see one of his plays performed by lawn ornaments, is on pace for a $22 million opening weekend. The movie’s stellar result is proof that one should never underestimate a new family film after there has been a long drought of said films. Things didn’t turn out as rosy for The Eagle, though, which marched into fourth place with $2.8 million. The Roman Empire action film, starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell, will likely finish the weekend with a mere $8 million. And rounding out the top five was the college-thriller holdover The Roommate, which plummeted 60 percent for $2.6 million. Check back here on Sunday for the complete box office report.
1. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never — $12.4 mil
2. Just Go With It — $9.7 mil
3. Gnomeo & Juliet — $6.1 mil
4. The Eagle — $2.8 mil
5. The Roommate — $2.6 mil
Box office preview: Justin Bieber and Adam Sandler duel for pop-culture supremacy