SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: Yes, I went AWOL from Friday night’s North American box office. But can you blame me? With these two pics opening this Super Bowl weekend?

UPDATE: So Sony Pictures spinmeisters respond: “Clint Culpepper is one of the most successful executives in this industry. The film over performed. He makes genre movies and he makes them well. Easy A was one of the best films of the year. What was mysoginistic about that, or Burlesque or Country Strong or Dear John. And if strong women characters at the center of two very popular franchises (Resident Evil and Underworld) is somehow demeaning to women, I would love to understand why.”

Increasingly, Sony Pictures’ Screen Gems has become the Odd Lots of movie divisions: you never know what you’re going to find there, but you know it’s cheap crap. Worse, Clint Culpepper is one misogynist dude when it comes to picking plots: it’s always woman getting victimized in horror movies or most recently women fighting woman, ad nauseum. Obsessed, Burlesque, and now The Roommate, the blatant rip-off of Single White Female and every uber-bad Lifetime movie about deranged college girls starring  Tori Spelling or Shannon Dougherty. Seriously, Clint, this is how you counter-program Super Bowl weekend? SERIOUSLY? Worse, this pic doesn’t even feature two legitimate stars: instead, it’s B-level TV actors Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights) and Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl). Even the parent company is embarrassed by this drek: the execs can’t even bring themselves to give me pre-release briefings on Screen Gems stuff anymore. All they would tell me is, “We counter programmed Super Bowl weekend  with a title appealing to teen girls/young women as we have done so successfully in the past with Screen Gems titles during the Super Bowl frame.” They claim the movie overperformed and was only supposed to make between $10M and $12M this weekend. Oh, and they say it cost $16M which means the pic nearly grossed its negative cost during the first three days of release and became the 8th film since 2001 that Sony has opened to #1 during Super Bowl Weekend. The film played stronger to females and overall the film skewed younger, with 65% of the opening weekend audience female and 61% under age 21.

Relativity and Universal did what they could to market James Cameron’s connection to Sanctum 3D and the fact that he exec produced it. But the public didn’t buy it: they want him directing before they turn out in droves. Good thing Universal and Relativity claim they paid only around $12 million for the flick, which Uni also opened day and date in the UK and Australia and earned $3.1M, and debuting in New Zealand on February 17, and Japan on April 22nd. I really thought this film could connect because it used the same 3D techniques which Cameron used in Avatar, only this time the film and the technology took audiences into the furthest reaches of the subterranean world. But the story for this so-called action thriller was weak, as evidenced by only a “C+” CinemaScore. According to exit polling, moviegoers were 47% male vs. 53% female, and 35% under age 30 years vs. 65%  over age 30. Of the theater count, 178 ran the film in Digital 3D Imax which accounted for 17% of the gross.

1. The Roommate (Screen Gems/Sony) NEW [2,534 Theaters]
Friday $6.4M, Saturday $6.8M, Weekend $15.6M

2. Sanctum 3D (Relativity/Universal) NEW [2,787]
Friday $3.6M, Saturday $4.4M, Weekend $9.2M

3. No Strings Attached (Paramount) Week 3 [3,050 Theaters]
Friday $2.9M, Saturday $3.9M, Weekend $8.4M, Cume $51.7M

4. The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co) Week 11 [2,584 Theaters]
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $4M, Weekend $8.3M, Cume $84.1M

5. Green Hornet 3D (Sony) Week 4 [3,033 Theaters]
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $3.2M, Weekend $6.1M, Cume $87.2M

6. The Rite (New Line/Warner Bros) Week 2 [2,985 Theaters]
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $2.7M, Weekend $5.5M, Cume $23.6M

7. The Mechanic (CBS Films/Sony) Week 2 [2,704 Theaters]
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.6M, Weekend $5.3M, Cume $20M

8. True Grit (Paramount) Week 7 [2,902 Theaters]
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $2.5M, Weekend $4.7M, Cume $155M

9. The Dilemma (Universal) Week 4 [2,545 Theaters]
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $1.7M, Weekend $3.4M, Cume $45.7M

10. Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Week 10 [1,977 Theaters]
Friday $1M, Saturday $1.7M, Weekend $3.4M, Cume $95.8M

For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.