An impressive face-off between two low-budget underdogs resulted in a surprisingly robust box office for a Super Bowl weekend. It's a record-breaker, in fact: The first time in history that two movies opening in the shadow of the big game have earned over $20 million. Let's now take a closer look at the numbers as we play Sunday afternoon quarterback:
1. Chronicle (Fox): $22 million in 2,907 theaters
Chronicle cost just $12 million to make and comes from first-time feature director Josh Trank, 26, who earned generally positive reviews for this found-footage movie in the vein of Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity. It's about a trio of high school buddies from Seattle who develop extraordinary superpowers -- and in a refreshing turn of events, none of them are a thinly veiled metaphor for puberty.
2. The Woman in Black (CBS Films): $21 million in 2,855 theaters
After a couple false starts, CBS's feature division has its first hit. Actually, it's an acquisition: The Edwardian ghost story, which stars Daniel Radcliffe in his first non-Harry Potter role, was produced by storied horror production outfit Hammer Films. Congratulations, Daniel: You have escaped the Harry Curse with ease.
3.The Grey (ORF): $9.5 million in 3,208 theaters [Week 2]
Liam Neeson's Alaskan adventure of wolf-hunted-turned-wolf-hunter tumbles 52 percent in its second week. Perhaps it suffered from a lack of endorsement from Sarah Palin, who reportedly felt that while it was a fairly accurate depiction of her February afternoons, it needed more moose.
4. Big Miracle (Universal): $8.5 million in 2,129 theaters
We're not entirely certain how a pitch as foolproof as "Drew Barrymore and the guy from The Office meets Free Willy" failed to connect with cinemagoers, but there's no accounting for taste.
5. Underworld Awakening (Screen Gems): $5.6 million in 2,636 theaters [Week 3]
Hailed by fanboy critics everywhere as Kate Beckinsale's "tightest costume" yet, the fourth Underworld film clings to the Top 5.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.