The Baltimore Sun

'Watchmen' is No. 1 at weekend box office

Watchmen clocked in with $55.7 million in ticket sales to claim the top spot at the box office, making director Zack Snyder's comic book adaptation about a team of twisted superheros the biggest opening of 2009.

Still, it was not quite as big as the $70 million take of Snyder's 300 in 2007.

Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Watchmen studio Warner Bros., said it was unfair to compare the two films.

Many Watchmen enthusiasts raced to IMAX theaters to see Dr. Manhattan and company on the bigger screens. Greg Foster, chairman and president of IMAX Filmed Entertainment, said the movie sold out on all 124 IMAX screens on which it was playing and was the second-largest opening in company history behind 2008's The Dark Knight.

With no other new releases to compete against, Watchmen easily beat Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail, which had held the top spot the two previous weekends. The Lionsgate comedy took in $8.8 million. 20th Century Fox's Taken, starring Liam Neeson, was No. 3, with $7.5 million.

CW bets on teen girls

Writers are polishing the pilot for a Gossip Girl spinoff set in a distant time that much of the CW network's target audience has no memory of - the 1980s.

Teenage angst is teenage angst, and the CW expects that its viewers can appreciate it, no matter the era. The untitled spinoff is a flashback to the youthful years in Los Angeles of Lily van der Woodsen, the mother of Blake Lively's Gossip Girl character.

The three-year-old television network is betting its future on the viewing tastes of young women.

The CW's average of 2 million prime-time viewers is down 24 percent this season from the year before, says Nielsen Media Research.

After its successful 90210 remake, the CW has a do-over of Melrose Place in the works. Other potential new series include Vampire Diaries and Body Politic, hoping to tap into an interest in vampires and the idealism of the Obama administration, and Light Years, about a teenage girl getting out of foster care and trying to reunite her birthparents.

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