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Wahlberg's "Contraband" scores at the box office

The adult thriller "Contraband" starring Mark Wahlberg grabbed the weekend movie box office title, beating expectations with an estimated 24 million dollars (USD) in ticket sales at U.S. and Canadian theaters. The film added 1.5 million from seven international markets for a global opening-weekend debut of 25.6 million. "Contraband" tells the story of a smuggler, played by Wahlberg, who takes on a risky job to help settle his brother-in-law's debt. Critics gave the film a mixed reception, with 46 percent of reviews praising the movie on website Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences liked the movie better, giving it an A- grade on average in polling by survey firm CinemaScore. In second place, a 3D remake of Walt Disney Co's animated classic "Beauty and the Beast" also topped studio forecasts with 18.5 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters from Friday (January 13) through Sunday (January 15). The studio converted "Beauty" to 3D after last fall's remake of "The Lion King" in the same format roared to 169 million in global sales, surprising the movie industry and the studio. The conversion of "Beauty," originally released in 1991, cost about $10 million. In third place for the weekend, Tom Cruise's action sequel "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" brought in 11.5 million during its fifth weekend in theaters. To date, the movie has generated nearly 507 million around the globe. Rounding out the top four was the new movie "Joyful Noise," a musical tale about a church choir, with 11.3 million domestically. "Joyful Noise" stars Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton in her first big-screen role in 19 years. John Russell, Reuters.

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