‘Safe House’ tops box office earnings

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“Safe House,” a CIA-based thriller starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, topped the North American box office over the weekend, industry estimates showed Sunday.

“Safe House” earned $24 million in ticket receipts from Friday through Sunday, narrowly edging last week’s winner, romantic drama “The Vow” starring Rachel McAdams, which took in $23.6 million, Exhibitor Relations said.

McAdams stars as a newlywed wife struggling with memory loss after an accident, and Channing Tatum plays the husband fighting to win back her heart.

“Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance” starring Nicolas Cage as the devil’s bounty hunter, opened in third place, taking in an estimated $22 million.

The movie is a 3D sequel to a 2007 movie also starring Cage that first brought the motorcycle-riding Marvel Comics character with the flaming head to the big screen.

In fourth place was “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” a family-friendly movie starring former wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, with a projected $20.1 million in ticket sales.

“This Means War,” a comedy about two CIA operatives in love with the same woman, opened at $17.6 million, while “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace” — the 3D version of the 1999 George Lucas film — raked in $7.9 million.

“Chronicle,” about three teenage friends gaining superpowers, slid to seventh on takings of $7.5 million, while horror film “The Woman In Black” starring Daniel Radcliffe was in eighth place, with sales of $6.6 million.

“The Secret World Of Arrietty,” a well-reviewed Japanese animated film from Studios Ghibli based on the children’s book “The Borrowers,” opened in ninth place with $6.4 million.

Rounding off the top 10 is adventure thriller “The Grey” starring Liam Neeson, which pulled in $3 million.

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