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January 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

After a significant improvement in ticket sales on Saturday, Sony estimated that The Green Hornet would wind up with $34 million for the three-day weekend and $40.5 million for the four-day Martin Luther King holiday. On Saturday, the studio had estimated that Friday’s gross had totaled $11.2 million, at the low end of analysts’ estimates. But it said today (Sunday) that sales rose 13.4 percent on Saturday to $12.7 million, and it figured that the movie would add $10.1 million today and another 6.5 million on Monday. But while The Green Hornet appeared likely to defy critics’ put-downs and earlier bad buzz — no pun intended — the other new release, Ron Howard’s The Dilemma, got off to a disappointing start. Universal estimated that its three-day total would come to just $17.4 million and its four-day, to $20 million. Still riding high in the saddle, however, was the Coen Brothers’ True Grit, which held on to third place with $11.1 million for the weekend and $13.3 million for the holiday to bring its gross to date to $128.5 million. Still, two so-called specialty films proved to be the stand-out performers of the weekend. The Weinstein Co. expandedThe King’s Speech into 1,583 theaters where it took in about $9.1 million, while Fox Searchlight expanded Black Swan into 2,328 locations, where it took in around $8.1 million. Overall, however, the box office remained in a deep slump. If estimates hold, total ticket sales will probably come to $115.2 million, down 25 percent from a year ago, when Avatar was well on its way to breaking sales records.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:

1. The Green Hornet, $34 million; 2. The Dilemma, $17.4 million; 3. True Grit, $11.2 million; 4. The King’s Speech, $9 million; 5. Black Swan, $8.1 million; 6. Little Fockers, $7.1 million; 7. Tron: Legacy, $5.6 million; 8. Yogi Bear, $5.3 million; 9. The Fighter, $5.1 million; 10. Season of the Witch, $4.5 million.