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©Fox/ Bruce Willis in "A Good Day to Die Hard"
© Fox/ Bruce Willis in "A Good Day to Die Hard"
'Die Hard' wins in a squeaker at the box office

By Todd Cunningham

Bruce Willis and "A Good Day to Die Hard" are winning the President's Day weekend box office, but it's no runaway and two over-achieving female-skewing movies -- "Safe Haven" and "Identity Thief" -- nearly stole the show.

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The fifth installment in the "Die Hard" action franchise, and the first in more than five years, is on track to make an estimated $39 million over the five days since it opened on Thursday. That's about what the distributor Fox had projected, though more bullish industry analysts had predicted it would hit  $50 million. It took in roughly $25 million between Friday and Sunday. That was less than the $33 million three-day haul taken in by "Live Free or Die Hard" in 2007, but enough to give it the edge over last week's No. 1 movie, "Identity Thief," which was running second.

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While older males were driving the "Die Hard" sequel, Universal's R-rated Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman comedy showed real staying power and was running second. It took in $23.4 million over the three days, just a 32 percent drop from its first week, and it is looking at more than $27 million for the four days, which will bring its domestic total to around $75 million.

"Safe Haven," the Nicolas Sparks adaptation starring Josh Duhamel and Juliette Hough and directed by Lasse Halstrom, was in third at $21.5 million between Friday and Sunday. Its four-day haul will be around $25 million. With its  $9 million Valentine's Day debut added, the Relativity romance's total for the five days will be an impressive $34 million – nearly $10 million over analysts' projections.

Hough plays a mysterious young woman who lands in the small town of Southport, N.C. and finds romance before a dark secret from her past surfaces. Not surprisingly, 71 percent of the "Safe Haven" audience was female, and 68 percent was under 25 years of age.

The strong strong showing by "Safe Haven" cut into the grosses for "Beautiful Creatures," which also debuted Thursday and likewise targets female audiences. Alcon Entertainment's supernatural romance was running a disappointing sixth with $7.6 million between Friday and Sunday and is looking at a five-day total of around $11 million. That's just over half the total that analysts has predicted for the film, which distributor Warner Bros. had hoped would tap into the young "Twilight" crowd.

Both "A Good Day to Die Hard" and "Safe Haven" were beat up by the critics but earned a B+ grade from audiences, according to Cinemascore. "Beautiful Creatures" received a B grade.

The weekend's other wide opener, the Weinstein Company's 3D computer-animated "Escape From Planet Earth," was fourth and will take in around $16 million over the three days. The reviews have been poor and it wasn't heavily promoted, but "Escape" is the first animated feature to hit the market this year. With kids out of school Monday it should hit $21 million for the five days. The voices of Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rob Corddry and William Shatner are featured.

The zombie romantic comedy "Warm Bodies" was fifth. It  will have a three-day total of $9 million in its third week of release for Summit Entertainment and is on pace for $10.6 million for the long weekend, which would up its domestic total to nearly $52 million. Then came "Beautiful Creatures" and Open Road Films' pharmaceutical thriller "Side Effects," which will take in $6.3 million over the three days and should finish $7.7 million over four days.

Weinstein's "Silver Linings Playbook" is poised to become the sixth Best Picture Oscar nominee to cross the $100 million mark after adding about $6 million between Friday and Sunday and raising its domestic total to $98.4 million. The other Best Picture nominees in the $100 million club at the box office are "Lincoln," "Django Unchained," "Les Miserables," "Argo" and "Life of Pi."

Rounding out the top ten was "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters," which will take in $3.4 million over the three days and is looking at $4.1 million for the four days, and Sony's "Zero Dark Thirty." Director Kathryn Bigelow's Best Picture Oscar nominee will bring in $3.1 million and now has a domestic total of $88 million.

The opening for "Good Day to Die Hard" breaks a downer trend for aging action stars. Arnold Schwarzenegger's "The Last Stand" and Sylvester Stallone's "Bullet to the Head" both tanked last month. It was in a market-high 3,553 locations, including 302 Imax screens, which brought in $4.25 million. 

"Good Day," in which Willis reprises his John McClane role and travels to Moscow to battle terrorists, also debuted overseas in more than 40 markets this weekend.

Here are the top 10 movies at the box office (Friday-Sunday):
"Good Day to Die Hard," $25 million
"Identity Thief," $23.4 million
"Safe Haven," $21.4 million
"Escape From Planet Earth," $16 million
"Warm Bodies," $9 million
"Beautiful Creatures," $7.4 million
"Side Effects," $6.3 million
"Silver Linings Playbook," $6 million
"Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters," $3.4 million
"Zero Dark Thirty," $3.1 million

More from TheWrap:
'Silver Linings' Oscar Nominee Jennifer Lawrence Shares Her Acting Secret: Never Sweat
'Argo,' Warner Bros. Capitalizing on Awards at Box Office

Feb 17, 2013 5:17PM

A fantastic action hero guy flick and it plays on Valentine's Day! Sweet revenge!!

Feb 17, 2013 3:50PM
How come you never see any of the movies nominated for academy awards in the top movies at the box office?
Feb 17, 2013 6:57PM

This movie was Great, Action, Action through and through, Bruce did it again.

Feb 18, 2013 1:26PM
great to make another die hard . hope the sixth has a gruber and other things that made the series popular.
Feb 18, 2013 7:22AM
They just don't make'em like John Mclean anymore....
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