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    Mark Wahlberg Takes Down a Beast—Upset!

    Contraband, Mark Wahlberg Patti Perret/Universal Studios

    Last fall, The Lion King 3-D rerelease ate up the newbie box-office competition.

    This weekend, the Beauty and the Beast 3-D rerelease was expected to do the same.

    But Mark Wahlberg's Contraband wasn't taking second to no old cartoon. 

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    The R-rated heist flick, Wahlberg's biggest action opener since Four Brothers, was the surprise No. 1 with a $24.5 million Friday-Sunday gross.

    Add in today's projected Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday take of about $4 million, and the $25 million movie is already in the black.

    Beauty and the Beast. meanwhile, settled for second place, and came in under Sunday's estimates. On the upside, Disney has picked up a tidy $23.5 million through today for a 21-year-old catalog title.

    Beast only suffered in comparison to The Lion King, which scored a blockbuster $30 million-plus when its 3-D version opened last September.

    Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton's Joyful Noise performed like Cher and Christina Aguilera's Burlesque with critics, drawing mostly bad reviews, and with audiences, coming away with a respectable $11.3 million, per estimates.

    Elsewhere, The Devil Inside, last weekend's box-office champ, didn't just take the usual horror-movie plunge, it took a dive for the ages, with ticket sales down 77 percent, as of Sunday's numbers—Hollywood's worst hold, per Box Office Mojo stats, since the floor fell out from under the Jonas Brothers' concert movie.

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    Meryl Streep marked her Golden Globes win with the wide release of The Iron Lady, which broke into the Top 10.

    Matt Damon's We Bought a Zoo dropped out of the Top 10 after three weekends. Its domestic total is at an OK $65 million.

    Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin likewise exited the Top 10 after three weekends. Its domestic total, however, isn't OK.

    Considering Tintin's nearly $200 million budget and Spielberg's name, the movie's $67.7 million take so far is a disappointment. The film, based on a classic Belgian comic strip, just never took hold here. And while it's done better overseas (it even scored with the Hollywood Foreign Press), it hasn't ended up doing eye-popping business there, either. The movie's worldwide take stands at about $330 million. (Exhibitor Relations says $350 million, but still…) By comparison, Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, which has been playing in some countries for months less than Tintin, is at nearly $500 million.

    In limited release, the Tilda Swinton Oscar vehicle We Need to Talk About Kevin returned to two theaters to post a weekend-best $22,000 per-screen average.

    Here's an updated look at the weekend's top movies, as compiled from the studios' Friday-Sunday domestic totals and estimates, as well as Exhibitor Relations and BoxOffice.com stats. Projections for the four-day holiday weekend are also noted:

    1. Contraband, $24.5 million ($28.8 million Friday-Monday)
    2. Beauty and the Beast 3D, $17.7 million ($23.5 milion Friday-Monday)
    3. Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, $11.5 million estimated ($14.2 million Friday-Monday)
    4. Joyful Noise, $11.3 million estimated ($13.8 million Friday-Monday)
    5. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, $8.4 million estimated ($10.5 million Friday-Monday)
    6. The Devil Inside, $7.9 million estimated ($9.2 million Friday-Monday)
    7. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, $6.7 million ($8.1 million Friday-Monday)
    8. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, $5.9 million ($7.8 million Friday-Monday)
    9. War Horse, $5.9 million ($7.2 million Friday-Monday)
    10. The Iron Lady, $5.4 million estimated ($6.5 million Friday-Monday)

    (Originally published Jan. 15, 2012, at 9:47 a.m. PT)

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