Opened in theaters across the U.S. on Friday, March 20, "Knowing" has led the North American box office over the weekend and outsold its strongest competitors, "I Love You, Man" and "Duplicity" in the process. The Alex Proyas-directed thriller which was screened on approximately 4,300 screens at 3,332 sites has collected a solid bow with an estimated $24.8 million.
Starring Nicolas Cage as an astrophysicist who comes across an encrypted message containing prophecy of global cataclysm, the movie has become the actor's fifth-biggest movie opening of his career following "Ghost Rider", "National Treasure" and "National Treasure: Book of Secrets". It also marked Cage's ninth #1 film at the box office since 1997.
Commenting on Cage's role in the film's success, Summit Entertainment's head of domestic distribution Richard Fay shared on where the movie's appeal comes from. "The audience has pretty much bought Nicolas Cage as a big movie star, and they like him in roles where he seems to be unraveling a mystery of some sort," he stated.
"Knowing" has also become Summit's second-largest opening movie. The independent studio has previously scored big in 2008 with romantic vampire drama, "Twilight", which was debuted with $69.6 million bow in North American only. On the studio's achievement, Fay said, "We've got great creative talent at the studio, veterans on the marketing side and I've got a few years under my belt on the distribution side. It's the right people coming together at the right time."
Coming in second to "Knowing" was the 'bromantic' comedy "I Love You, Man". The Paul Rudd and Jason Segel-starring film has hauled in approximately $18 million. "I think the movie debuted at expectations," said Don Harris, Paramount Pictures' distribution VP. "We had the advantage of opening at the beginning of college and high school spring break, so the audience for this film is going to continue to be available. We think the movie will have good legs."
The third place belonged to Julia Roberts and Clive Owen-starrer spy drama "Duplicity" which raked in about $14.4 million. "I think 'Knowing' and 'I Love You, Man' were more like fast food. They were fun and easy. 'Duplicity' was just a little bit more of a challenging film for audiences. I think audiences were looking for a different kind of escapism," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Media By Numbers, said of the movie's attraction.
Rounding up the top five box office were "Race to Witch Mountain" and "Watchmen". "Witch Mountain", which was last week #1 at the box office, has tumbled down three slots to the fourth position with approximately $13 million, while "Watchmen" continued to slip down the chart and landed on the fifth place after bringing in nearly $6.7 million to the total sales of about $98.1 million.
Top Ten Movies at Weekend Box Office for March 20 -22:
1. "Knowing" - $24.8 million
2. "I Love You, Man" - $18 million
3. "Duplicity" - $14.4 million
4. "Race to Witch Mountain" - $13 million
5. "Watchmen" - $6.7 million
6. "The Last House on the Left" - $5.9 million
7. "Taken" - $4.1 million
8. "Slumdog Millionaire" - $2.7 million
9. "Madea Goes to Jail" - $2.5 million
10. "Coraline" - $2.1 million