Welcome back to Box Office Report. It was another strong weekend for Hollywood during the typically dead month of February, yet no one can seem to figure out why (though they aren't complaining). Today's edition is just like a day at the races, with a Ryan Reynolds spy movie and Channing Tatum weepie pulling around the final bend for a photo-finish. Trailing behind puking lava, however, is the Ghost Rider sequel.
1. Safe House (Universal): $24 million in 3,121 theaters [Week 2]
2. The Vow (Screen Gems): $23.6 million in 2,958 theaters [Week 2]
As these quintessential chick- and dude-flicks duked it out for B.O. supremacy, each was actually helping the other one out: It's the old, "fine, I'll see your movie if you see mine"-effect. Works every time.
3. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (Sony): $22 million in 3,174 theaters
Sony is feeling pretty chain-whipped this Sunday. Despite their best efforts to diminish the presence of Nicolas Cage in the film's marketing materials, audiences nevertheless caught wind of the fact that it featured the star of such cinematic turds as The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Season of the Witch and Drive Angry, and stayed away in droves. This third-place showing has driven a flaming stake through Johnny Blaze's charcoal heart. (Is that how you kill Ghost Rider? I never read the comics.)
4. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (WB): $20.85 million in 3,500 theaters [Week 2]
On the other hand, this sequel continues to outperform all expectations, dipping only 26 percent in its second outing. It's Rocksanity!
5. This Means War (Fox): $17.5 million in 3,189 theaters
Tom Hardy and Chris Pine play deadly CIA agents and best friends warring over the affections of Reese Witherspoon. Perhaps it would have done better if it starred Ryan Phillippe and Jake Gyllenhaal.