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''The Messengers'' takes No. 1

The suspense thriller debuts with $14.5 mil, while Diane Keaton’s ”Because I Said So” settles for No. 2

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The Messengers, Kristen Stewart

Knowing that male eyes would be glued to the Super Bowl, Hollywood purposefully went after female audiences to fill their coffers this weekend. The champ? Sony’s The Messengers, a suspense thriller starring Panic Room‘s Kristen Stewart as a troubled teen whose family moves from Chicago into a haunted house in South Dakota. Grossing an estimated $14.5 million, the $16 million film skewed young and female; over half the audience was under 21 and of the female persuasion. The film was also the third horror film from Sony to steal the top spot during the same weekend, following When a Stranger Calls last year and Boogeyman in 2005. Already slated for next year? A remake of Prom Night, naturally.

Women also made up the majority — specifically 82 percent — of the ticket buyers for the weekend’s No. 2 film, Because I Said So. Starring Diane Keaton as the single mother of three daughters (played by Mandy Moore, Piper Perabo, and Lauren Graham), the poorly received film (scoring only a 7 percent thumbs-up rating at Rotten Tomatoes) still managed to take in an estimated $13 million. Interestingly, the rom-com was produced by Gold Circle, which opened Debra Messing’s The Wedding Date to $11.1 million during Super Bowl weekend 2005.

Meanwhile, last weekend’s top-grossing film, Epic Movie, dropped more than 50 percent, as expected, as did the hit-man drama Smokin’ Aces and the romantic comedy Catch and Release. Originally held over from last January, the Jennifer Garner turkey dropped more than 65 percent of its box office intake from last weekend.