Ringing in with a better-than-expected $19.1 million, Red Tails is second only to the fourth Underworld film in this weekend’s box office numbers. It’s a strong debut, bolstered by support from the African-American community and good word-of-mouth. (CinemaScore audiences have rated the movie a solid “A-.”) Viewers increased 40% from Friday to Saturday as well – a good sign for next weekend’s numbers, according to Entertainment Weekly. Box Office Mojo notes that this is 20th Century Fox’s best opening for “a non-franchise title” since last year’s Rio.
Also of note to Star Wars fans, given the February 10 release of The Phantom Menace 3D, is the performance of Disney’s recent release of Beauty and the Beast in 3D. It’s not doing near as well as the 3D version of The Lion King did last year, plummeting 52% this weekend. (It was #2 last week.) Lion King 3D spent a surprising two weeks at #1 in September. On the other hand, there’s little doubt that the 3D revenues from Underworld: Awakening helped bolster the film to #1. Who can say what it all really means for TPM?