Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Wanderlust

Universal Pictures

The stars may the focus of tonight's Oscars, but they were not necessarily needed at the movies.

Act of Valor, the low-budget, action flick featuring active-duty members of the Navy SEALs, scored a direct hit at the box office.

New films from bold-faced names Jennifer Aniston and Amanda Seyfried, meanwhile, just plain bombed.

Aniston's Wanderlust, costarring Paul Rudd, debuted on the wrong side of the Top 10, in eighth place, with just $6.6 million, per Friday-Sunday estimates.

The Seyfried thriller Gone was even weaker: ninth place, $5 million.

For Aniston, Wanderlust marks her worst wide-release opening since 2005's Rumor Has It.

In other words, yes, The Switch opened bigger.

Nothing was bigger this time out than Act of Valor, which captured No. 1 with an expectations-exceeding $24.7 million.

The $12 million film was sold to young men, and it was seen by young men, who liked it. A lot. The movie was graded an A by opening-weekend audiences.

Wanderlust and Gone received discouraging grades of B-minus and C-plus, respectively.

Elsewhere, Tyler Perry reminded that a star name does matter—or, at least, that his star name matters. His new romantic drama, Tyler Perry's Good Deeds, took second place with $16 million, a solid number for a non-Madea movie.

Among the holdovers, the Denzel Washington hit Safe House dropped from first to fourth, but came up on $100 million domestically, while Channing Tatum's The Vow became the first film of 2012 to break the magic nine-figure mark.

Things went from bad to worse for Nicolas Cage's Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, which saw its already-soft ticket sales fall by more than half.

On the eve of its presumed Best Picture win, The Artist perked up, but didn't crack the standings—and what else is new? 

After 13 weekends in theaters, the last six of them in wide release, The Artist has yet to post a Top 10 finish. Even after nearing $32 million domestically, it remains poised to be the Oscars' least-popular Best Picture winner of the last 30-plus years after The Hurt Locker, which wasn't even in theaters during awards season.   

The 3-D rerelease of Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace dropped from the Top 10. Its two-weekend stay was quick and seemingly uneventful, but it did push the prequel to the $1 billion mark worldwide. It's the first Star Wars movie to reach that milestone, and it's now 10th on the list of all-time global hits.

As Jar Jar Binks would say if he spoke intelligibly: Who's your daddy now, fanboys?

Here's the rundown of the weekend's top movies, per Friday-Sunday domestic estimates as reported by the studios and Exhibitor Relations:

  1. Act of Valor, $24.7 million
  2. Tyler Perry's Good Deeds, $16 million
  3. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, $13.5 million
  4. Safe House, $11.4 million
  5. The Vow, $10 million
  6. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, $8.8 million
  7. This Means War, $8.5 million
  8. Wanderlust, $6.6 million
  9. Gone, $5 million
  10. The Secret of Arrietty, $4.5 million
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