The last weekend of the first month of 2012 ended with firsts from Liam Neeson (Unknown), Katherine Heigl (New Year’s Eve) and Sam Worthington (The Debt) at the box office.  Action-focused writer/director Joe Carnahan’s (The A-Team, Smokin’ Aces) The Grey with Neeson, Dermot Mulroney (Abduction) and Frank Grillo (Warrior) survived the Alaskan wilderness to premiere at #1 with $19.665 million.  The film is the second movie for Open Road Films but the first #1 for the distributor.

Writer Janet Evanovich’s first novel to movie of the best-selling bounty hunter Stephanie Plum series, One for the Money, surprised the weekend box at #3 with $11.515 million.  The Heigl and Jason O’Mara (TV’s Terra Nova) bit of action and bit of comedy’s audience is much like the book; 79% women and 74% over the age of 35.  Crime thriller Man on a Ledge debuted at the ledge of the box office’s top five at #5.  Worthington’s first of two winter films (the second is the sequel Wrath of the Titans) is director Asger Leth’s first non-fiction feature.  #4 Red Tails dove two spots from #2 with $10.37 million in its second weekend to round out the top five.  Oscar-nominated A Separation (Foreign Language Film), The Artist (Best Picture), The Descendants (Best Picture), Hugo (Best Picture), Midnight in Paris (Best Picture) and Pina (Documentary [Feature]) all received positives after the Academy Award nomination announcement on Tuesday, January 24th.

Second sequel Underworld: Awakening awoke at #2 in its second weekend at the box office.  The Vampires and Lycans fought for $12.352 million but dropped 51.2% with no change in the number of theaters (3,078).  The current domestic gross is $44.978 million, which is on par with the second weekend gross of Underworld: Evolution if comparing to the 2006 movie’s unadjusted gross of $44.607 million.

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