In all, it is shaping up to be a strong four-day weekend at the box office, with five movies — "Safe House," "The Vow," "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance," "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" and "This Means War" — on track to gross more than $20 million.
Studio estimates have Universal's "Safe House" taking $24 million over three days and $28.5 million for the four-day holiday weekend. "The Vow," from Sony's Screen Gems and Spyglass Entertainment, grossed $23.6 million over three days and $27.4 million over four days.
This weekend, "Safe House" passed the $100 million mark worldwide. Its domestic take is an estimated $82.8 million and its international gross is $19.6 million. It has yet to open in 28 international territories. Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds star in the action film.
While "Safe House" and "The Vow" movies battled for the top spot, Sony's "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" and New Line's "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" fought for third place.
The PG-13 "Ghost Rider" debuted to $22 million in its first three days, while "Journey 2" took $20 million.
But the two are still neck-and-neck for the four days.
Considering that the PG-rated "Journey 2," which stars Dwayne Johnson and Josh Hutcherson, opened to $27 million, the numbers are especially impressive.
Meanwhile, Fox's "This Means War" exceeded expectations in its opening weekend, taking an estimated $17.55 million over the three days. That puts it on track for about $20 million for the four-day weekend.
The movie had soft tracking, but the audience polling firm Cinemascore gave it an "A-" rating. That is the opposite of "Ghost Rider," which had extremely strong tracking — especially among young men — but got an unenthusiastic "C+" Cinemascore.
The final movie opening wide this weekend was "The Secret World of Arrietty," which Disney acquired from the Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli for North American release.
"Arrietty" took an estimated $6.4 million over three days and is on track for an $8 million weekend — about what Disney had anticipated.
The box office in general enjoyed a solid weekend.
Once again, it is up compared to the same time frame in 2011. The four-day weekend is 10 percent higher than the same period last year.