As the nation prepared to sit down to watch Sunday's [Feb 4] clash between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts, the Pang Brothers' latest horror film opened top on an estimated $14.5m.
The film stars Kristen Stewart and Dylan McDermott and takes place on a North Dakota sunflower farm plagued by a supernatural force. It was produced by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert's Ghost House Pictures.
Sony's previous six Superbowl 'champions' were When A Stranger Calls, Boogeyman, You Got Served, Darkness Falls, Black Hawk Down, and The Wedding Planner.
The Messengers opened one place ahead of Universal/Gold Circle's romantic comedy Because I Said So on $13m. Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore star.
Both The Messengers and Because I Said So are sold in international markets by Mandate Pictures.
Overall business was down as football took precedence over cinema. The top 12 films grossed $71.6m, a drop of 12.5% percent compared to last year.
Epic Movie, Fox's number one release last weekend, slipped two places to third on $8.2m for $29.4m, while stablemate Night At The Museum finished fourth and has amassed $225.4m after seven weekends.
Paramount's musical Dreamgirls added $4m to rank seventh in its eighth weekend and is poised to cross $100m. The current cumulative total stands at $92.8m.
Pan's Labyrinth, released in North America through Picturehouse, has now become the biggest grossing Spanish-language film in the US. The fantasy drama added $3.7m for $21.69m in its sixth weekend to hoist the tally past Like Water For Chocolate's previous mark of $21.66m, set in 1993.
The Queen stayed in the top 10 in its 19th weekend on $2.7m for $45.5m.
Estimated Top Ten North America Feb 2-4, 2006
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) The Messengers (Screen Gems) Mandate/SPRI $14.5m -
2 (-) Because I Said So (Universal/Gold Circle) Mandate/UPI $13m -
3 (1) Epic Movie (Fox) Fox Int'l $8.2m $29.4m
4 (3) Night At The Museum (Fox) Fox Int'l $6.8m $225.4m
5 (2) Smokin' Aces (Universal) UPI $6.3m $24.9m
6 (5) Stomp The Yard (Screen Gems) SPRI $4.2m $56m
7 (6) Dreamgirls (Paramount) PPI $4m $92.8m
8 (8) Pan's Labyrinth (Picturehouse) Wild Bunch $3.7m $21.7m
9 (7) The Pursuit of Happyness (Sony) SPRI $3.1m $157.4m
10 (9) The Queen (Miramax) Pathe $2.7m $45.5m