By Joshua Rich
Updated December 20, 2019 at 09:08 AM EST

The 3-D animated event Monsters vs. Aliens opened in first place, as expected, with a super-solid $58.2 million gross, according to Sunday’s estimates from Media by Numbers.

Assuming that early figure holds, DreamWorks Animation’s movie garnered the year’s biggest debut so far, besting Watchmen‘s $55.2 mil. It also got, of course, the top premiere of 2009 among 3-D movies like My Bloody Valentine 3-D and Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.

The family film achieved said success by screening in a variety of fashions — in regular theaters, on IMAX screens, in 2-D, and in 3-D. In fact, less than a third of its showings were in 3-D, but it still earned a whopping 56 percent of its money (about $32.6 mil) from those 3-D locations, where tickets were more expensive. An additional nine percent of its total (about $5.2 mil) came from 143 higher-priced IMAX shows. Overall, Monsters vs. Aliens played in 4,104 theaters and averaged a stellar $14,181 per. The movie also drew a nice A- CinemaScore review from an audience that was 62 percent under the age of 25. Yeah, it’ll be sticking around for several weeks to come.

Meanwhile, The Haunting in Connecticut (No. 2) fared surprisingly well in its opening, grossing $23 mil — a total that would ordinarily sew up a win. Indeed, had Monsters vs. Aliens not also come out this weekend, The Haunting in Connecticut‘s big bow would be an even bigger story (guess all those strange and banal posters and trailers served it well!). Even with a weak B- CinemaScore grade from a crowd that was 58 percent female, the fact-based horror flick gave Virginia Madsen the best premiere — by far — of her career as a lead actor.

Reigning champ Knowing (No. 3), starring Nicolas Cage, held on well during its second weekend, dropping just 40 percent to earn $14.7 mil. I Love You, Man (No. 4) stayed even stronger, declining a mere 29 percent to gross $12.6 mil. Duplicity was off 46 percent from its first-weekend figure, banking $7.6 mil at No. 5. And this weekend’s other big new release, the WWE-produced action thriller 12 Rounds (No. 7), starring John Cena, got pinned with only $5.3 mil.

Overall, the box office was up more than 39 percent from the same frame a year ago, when 21 was the big opener. To be sure, 2009’s box office winning streak continues.

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