Warner Bros. got a jump on Valentine's Day with the Matthew McConaughey-Kate Hudson adventure romance "Fool's Gold," the weekend's box-office leader with an estimated $22 million in ticket sales.
Heavy marketing and appealing stars helped the movie, produced for about $65 million, open toward the upper end of expectations despite harsh reviews from critics.
The Martin Lawrence comedy "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins," from Universal Pictures, opened at No. 2 with an estimated $17.1 million, matching pre-release expectations.
Walt Disney Co.'s 3-D movie "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour" ranked third in its second weekend, taking in $10.5 million with a steep 66% drop.
Overall revenue for the weekend was down about 1% from the same period in 2007, according to data tracker Media by Numbers, as box-office results cooled off a bit after this year's hot start.
"Fool's Gold," which reunited its sexy, sunbaked stars for the first time since 2003's "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," and "Roscoe Jenkins" both averaged about $7,000 per theater.
But the Warner Bros. movie benefited from a wider release, with an additional 700-plus theaters. The audience for "Fool's Gold" was 62% female, as expected, and 57% was older than 25.
In CinemaScore surveys, patrons rated the movie a moderate "B-minus," but Goldstein said the calendar set the picture up for a solid run. With Valentine's Day falling on Thursday, the movie will compete for customers on three "date nights" this week and get a boost from the President's Day holiday weekend, he said.
"Roscoe Jenkins," produced for about $35 million, drew crowds that were fairly balanced between males and females, young and old, said Nikki Rocco, Universal's president of domestic distribution.
The audience was 32% non-African American, which Rocco took as an indication the movie was "playing beyond its core audience."
She said she was encouraged that business for "Roscoe Jenkins" jumped 51% from Friday to Saturday, versus 22% for "Fool's Gold," and that CinemaScore respondents graded it an "A-minus."
"Hannah Montana," produced for about $7 million, fell sharply after its $31.1-million opening weekend, a Super Bowl record. Still, it continued to benefit from the higher ticket prices exhibitors can charge for 3-D movies, in some cases $15 to $20.
The pop concert movie, whose star has a huge fan base among teenage and younger girls, averaged $15,000 per theater for the weekend -- by far the best in the top 10. It has grossed $53.4 million through 10 days of release.
Most of the 687 theaters showing the movie will keep it for a third week, said Chuck Viane, Disney's distribution president. "Hannah" was originally billed as a one-week-only event.
National Geographic Cinema Ventures, which released the rock concert movie "U2 3D" at 61 Imax theaters Jan. 23, now must wait until Feb. 22 for a broader nationwide expansion to hundreds of non-Imax, digital 3-D theaters. National Geographic originally planned a "national break" this Friday.
Many Imax theaters will switch to Paramount Pictures' fantasy "The Spiderwick Chronicles" on Thursday, when this week's new films come out, while most digital 3-D venues will hang on to "Hannah," so the U2 picture is likely to lose screens this week.
Even so, "U2 3D" is faring well with adult audiences. It averaged a solid $12,000 per theater over the weekend and has grossed $3.1 million to date.
Friday's other nationwide release, "Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show," bombed with an estimated $507,000 at 962 theaters, or $527 per location.
The concert movie featuring up-and-coming comedians was produced for about $5 million and distributed by Time Warner Inc.'s Picturehouse.
Among the weekend's limited releases, Focus Features' comedy thriller "In Bruges" fared best, averaging $17,000 per theater at 28 locations.
Along with the family-oriented "The Spiderwick Chronicles," this week's major releases include 20th Century Fox's science-fiction thriller "Jumper," Disney's dance sequel "Step Up 2 the Streets" and Universal's romantic comedy "Definitely, Maybe."