The top 10 movies at the box office this week, in terms of what people paid to see, include three newcomers, three movies which debuted last week, two that are still hanging on from three weeks ago… and some Oscar nominees creeping up the list.

Liam Neeson in "The Grey" preparing to battle wolves

Liam Neeson in "The Grey" preparing to battle wolves

#1 – The Grey – $20 million (first week)

Not surprising given the good reviews it’s getting (77% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.7 out of 10 on the typically stingy IMDB)

#2 – Underworld Awakenings – $12.5 M (down from #1)

Still a decent showing, but they’ll need about 4 more weeks before they turn a profit on the $70 M movie.

#3 – One For The Money – $11.75 M – (first week)

Much stronger opening than I thought Katherine Heigl was capable of getting with this one. I guess the trailer they’re showing where she’s handcuffed to the shower curtain rod and tells a guy she’s naked probably helped its cause.

#4 – Red Tails – $10.4 M – (down from #2)

Only 5 movies in the top 20 had a sharper decline in earnings this past weekend, and it’s only halfway to earning back its budget. The increase in the number of theaters in which its showing is likely to be the opposite of what happens next week as people lose interest.

#5 – Man On A Ledge – $8.3 M (first week)

The previews had me fooled. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 26%, though IMDB has it hovering near 6.5. Sounds like there were some terrible reviews scattered amongst a fair amount of people who enjoyed it. Sounds like an eventual rental.

#6 – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – (down from #4)

The smallest decline in earnings out of any movie in last week’s Top 10 aside from The Iron Lady (which didn’t make much money last weekend, either).

#7 – The Descendants (up from #16)

It was showing in fewer than 600 theaters last week. Now it’s showing in 2000 theaters. Not surprising it hopped up 9 spots.

#8 – Contraband (down from #3)

A very steep decline in earnings doesn’t change the fact that it has already doubled its budget in earnings after only 3 weeks in the theater. Universal is doing something right.

#9 – Beauty And The Beast 3D (down from #5)

#10 – Haywire (down from #6)

Also leaping up were The Artist (up 5 spots from 17 to 12) and Hugo (up 4 spots from 20 to 16), which increased the number of theaters in which they were showing by 33% and 50% respectively.

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