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Box office report: 'Warm Bodies' alive and well with $20 million; Sly Stallone's 'Bullet' misfires

Young women drove Summit’s zombie-themed romantic comedy Warm Bodies to the top spot at the box office over Super Bowl weekend, while Sylvester Stallone’s Bullet to the Head got tackled, leaving the action icon with the worst debut of his career.

Warm Bodies, which was financed for about $35 million, earned an estimated $20 million from 3,009 theaters in its first three days. No, that’s not a Twilight-sized number, but no one was expecting Warm Bodies to be the same sort of blockbuster. Sure, they’re both about romances between a teenage girl and an undead boy, but the Isaac Marion novel upon which it is based is certainly popular, but it never experienced the utter ubiquity that the Twilight books did.

Warm Bodies opened with a bit less than the 2009 comedy Zombieland, which debuted with $24.7 million, but its star was in line with the debuts of both Chronicle and The Woman In Black, which opened on Super Bowl weekend last year to $22 million and $20.9 million, respectively. Much like the latter film, Warm Bodies played primarily to young ladies. According to exit polling, the film’s audience was 60% female and 65% under 25.

Warm Bodies earned a solid “B+” CinemaScore grade from crowds, and thanks to relatively strong reviews, its legs may not rot away as quickly as other teen-targeting titles, and a finish in the $50-60 million range seems likely. For star Nicholas Hoult, who has a slew of high profile releases — including Jack the Giant Slayer, Mad Max: Fury Road, and X-Men: Days of Future Past — on the horizon, Warm Bodies is a nice start to his run as a leading man.

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Box office update: 'Warm Bodies' warms up the chart with $8.7 million on Friday

Its main star may be a dead guy, but Summit’s new release Warm Bodies exhibited nothing but life in its first day at the box office.

The zombie-themed romantic comedy (zom-rom-com?) easily topped the chart on Friday with $8.7 million. Last year, the teen superpower adventure Chronicle earned $8.6 million the Friday before Super Bowl Sunday and finished the frame with $22 million. Since Warm Bodies, which is based on the popular novel by Isaac Marion, already has a built-in following, it’s likely that it will be more frontloaded and finish the weekend with about $20 million. Still, that’s a tremendous start for a high-concept comedy that cost about $35 million.

The weekend’s other new wide release, Sylvester Stallone’s R-rated action flick Bullet to the Head, got off to an even worse start than Arnold Schrwazenegger’s The Last Stand did two weeks ago. Bullet to the Head, which cost a reported $55 million, only bulleted a fifth place start with an anemic $1.7 million from 2,404 theaters. The film is headed to a truly terrible $4.5 million weekend.

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Box office preview: 'Warm Bodies' to tackle 'Bullet to the Head' over Super Bowl weekend

It’s Super Bowl weekend, and that means the box office is about to get sacked.

Since much of the American moviegoing public will will be glued to the tube on Sunday to watch the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers, box office receipts are expected to plummet, though some brave souls will venture out to see this week’s new wide releases: the zombie romance Warm Bodies and Sylvester Stallone’s shoot-em-up Bullet to the Head.

Here’s how the slow frame may play out:
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