RED TAILS is coming in at Number 2 for the weekend, only to Underworld Awakening. Note that Red Tails opened in 2512 theaters (and no international distribution) while Underworld opened in 3078 theaters.

1. Underworld Awakening (Screen Gems/Sony Pictures) NEW [3,078 Theaters]
Friday $9.3M, Saturday $10.2M, Weekend $25.2M

2. Red Tails (LucasFilm/Fox) NEW [2,512 Theaters]
Friday $6M, Saturday $8.6M, Weekend $19.4M

Hollywood studios were stunned by how well this George Lucas banner film Red Tails did in matinees Friday. Until they discovered that the Lucasfilm/Twentieth Century Fox marketing inside the African-American community resulted in busloads of midday filmgoers for the Tuskegee Airmen’s true story. Despite fears that this pic appeared frontloaded [not true], it went up a whopping +40% from Friday to Saturday. It boasted an ’A’ CinemaScore from audiences even if historians and critics chide this film as a whitewash. Directed by Anthony Hemingway (Treme), it had a stream of other writers working on it over the years but John Ridley (who also has story credit) and Aaron McGruder received screenplay credit. Rick McCallum and Charles Floyd Johnson received full producer credit. It took Lucas from 1988 to 2009 to get this pic in production, and he’s been bitter in interviews about turndowns from major studios. Reports say he covered the cost of production with his own money, then provided another $35M for distribution. In an interview on The Daily Show this month, Lucas claimed the majors balked at the all-black cast and predicted no overseas market for the film. Interesting that in the cast Terrence Howard in Hart’s War and Cuba Gooding Jr in an HBO film have portrayed Tuskegee Airmen previously.

Source: Deadline

CinemaScore is a market research firm based in Las Vegas. It surveys film audiences to rate their viewing experiences with letter grades, reports the results, and forecasts box office receipts based on the data. It conducts surveys to audiences who have seen a film in theaters, asking them to rate the film and specifying what drew them to the film. Its results are published in the magazine Entertainment Weekly. [more]

[Entertainment Weekly | Inside Movies: Red Tails]

Red Tails cruised in to second place with a very respectable $19.1 million. That’s above comparable fighter pilot movies Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow ($15.6 million), Stealth ($13.3 million), and Flyboys ($6 million), though it was about even with Sky Captain in estimated attendance. The audience breakdown was 51 percent male and 66 percent 25 years and older. The movie received an “A” CinemaScore, which improved to a fantastic “A+” score for those below 18 and above 50. Also of note: Red Tails marks distributor 20th Century Fox’s best opening for a non-franchise title since last April’s Rio.

Source: Box Office Mojo