It's a good week to be Natalie Portman or Jeff Bridges. Both stars have two movies in the top 10 at the box office this weekend. The edge, however, goes to Portman, who had the only new wide release movie this week, 'No Strings Attached,' which debuted atop the box office chart.
The Portman-Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy earned an estimated $20.3 million, in line with predictions and well on the way to topping the modest $25 million the movie reportedly cost to make. Credit the absence of other new releases, better-than-expected reviews, a relative dearth at the multiplex of movies targeted at women (who made up a reported 70 percent of the 'No Strings' audience), and Portman's high-profile Golden Globe win for 'Black Swan' earlier in the week. In fact, 'Black Swan' (holding strong in sixth place this weekend) may have paved the way for the success of 'No Strings'; would you really buy Portman as a sexually assertive friend-with-benefits if you hadn't seen her go to town with Mila Kunis in the ballet drama?
Last week's champ, 'The Green Hornet,' dropped to second place in its second week. Due to decent word-of-mouth, the masked-hero saga slipped only 46 percent, to an estimated $18.1 million. The Seth Rogen vehicle has earned $63.4 million in 10 days, making it unlikely that it'll eventually top the career-best $148.8 million earned by Rogen's 'Knocked Up' in 2007.
Last weekend's other new release, 'The Dilemma,' also fell just 46 percent -- not bad considering its poor word-of-mouth and its competition for the same adult-romance audience as 'No Strings Attached.' This weekend, 'Dilemma' earned an estimated $9.7 million, for a 10-day total of $33.3 million.
At No. 4, 'The King's Speech' experienced no drop at all from last week's business (though it added 137 theaters, so its per-screen average was slightly smaller). Its estimated take was $9.2 million, for a total to date of $58.6 million. Colin Firth's Golden Globe win probably helped the movie's ticket sales, while the film's upset win over 'The Social Network' at the Producers Guild Awards last night should only add to its Oscar prospects, which will in turn boost its box office even further.
In fifth place was 'True Grit,' down just 27 percent from last week and adding another estimated $8 million to its coffers. Its total so far is $138.6 million, so it should cross $150 million within a couple weeks. Eventually, it may even surpass Bridges' other current film, 'TRON: Legacy,' which this week, hung in there at No. 10 and brought its total up to $163.3 million.
The full top 10:
1. 'No Strings Attached,' $20.3 million (3,018 screens), new release
2. 'The Green Hornet,' $18.1 million (3,584), $63.4 million total
3. 'The Dilemma,' $9.7 million (2,943), $33.3 million
4. 'The King's Speech,' $9.2 million (1,680), $58.6 million
5. 'True Grit,' $8.0 million (3,464), $138.6 million
6. 'Black Swan,' $6.2 million (2,407), $83.6 million
7. 'The Fighter,' $4.5 million (2,275), $73.0 million
8. 'Little Fockers,' $4.4 million (2,979), $141.2 million
9. 'Yogi Bear,' $4.1 million (2,510), $88.9 million
10. 'TRON: Legacy,' $3.7 million (2,018), $163.3 million
•Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.