'Safe House ' and 'Vow' elbow for No. 1 spot

  • Updated: February 20, 2012 - 9:26 AM
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“This Means War,” with Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hardy, was No. 5 in estimated movie receipts as of Sunday.

Photo: Kimberley French, Associated Press

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LOS ANGELES - The President's Day weekend box office was too close to call as the action tale "Safe House" and the love story "The Vow" competed for the No. 1 spot.

Based on Sunday's studio estimates, Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds' "Safe House" had a slim lead with $24 million from Friday to Sunday. That put it a fraction ahead of Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum's "The Vow" with $23.6 million.

The winner won't be known for certain until Tuesday, when studios report final numbers for the long holiday weekend.

No matter which one finishes on top, the movie business remains unusually brisk for winter, typically a slow season at theaters.

The top five movies were bunched up tightly, with Nicolas Cage's sequel "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" opening a close No. 3 with $22 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Tuesday.

1. "Safe House," $24 million.

2. "The Vow," $23.6 million.

3. "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance," $22 million.

4. "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island," $20.1 million.

5. "This Means War," $17.6 million.

6. "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" in 3-D, $7.9 million.

7. "Chronicle," $7.5 million.

8. "The Woman in Black," $6.6 million.

9. "The Secret World of Arrietty," $6.4 million.

10. "The Grey," $3 million.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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