Martin Lawrence's family reunion comedy "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" opened at No. 2 with $17.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Disney's "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert," the 3-D concert film that was the previous weekend's top movie, fell to third place with $10.5 million, a sharp drop from its $31.1 million opening. The movie has grossed $53.4 million after 10 days.
Released by Warner Bros., "Fool's Gold" came in a bit under the $23.8 million opening of McConaughey and Hudson's hit romance "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," which debuted over the same pre-Valentine's Day weekend in 2003.
With Valentine's Day on Thursday, the studio is counting on "Fool's Gold" to hold up well, said Jeff Goldstein, Warner vice president of distribution.
Critics hated "Fool's Gold" but audiences were eager to catch McConaughey and Hudson, who play a divorced couple reunited in a quest for 18th-century treasure lost at sea.
"A great marketing campaign, two appealing stars, and reviews be damned," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. "Heading into Valentine's week, it's sort of a natural."
Universal's "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" features Lawrence as a talk show host who reluctantly heads back to the family homestead for his parents' 50th anniversary.
This weekend's other new wide release, Picturehouse's "Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights - Hollywood to the Heartland," tanked with just $507,000. Playing in 962 theaters, the documentary of Vaughn and other comics' standup tour averaged just $527 a cinema, compared to $7,043 in 3,125 locations for "Fool's Gold" and $7,175 in 2,387 theaters for "Roscoe Jenkins."
In narrower release, Paris Hilton's comedy "The Hottie and the Nottie" did even worse, bombing with around $25,000 in 111 theaters for an average of about $225, according to an estimate from Media By Numbers. Distributed by Regent Releasing, the movie stars Hilton as a bombshell who refuses to date until her ugly best friend finds love.
Focus Features' action comedy "In Bruges," with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as hit men laying low in Belgium, opened solidly in limited release, pulling in $471,200 in 28 theaters to average $16,829.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC (Final figures will be released Monday):
1. "Fool's Gold," $22 million.
2. "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins," $17.1 million.
3. "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert," $10.5 million.
4. "The Eye," $6.6 million.
5. "Juno," $5.73 million.
6. "27 Dresses," $5.7 million.
7. "The Bucket List," $5.3 million.
8. "Rambo," $4.1 million.
9. "Meet the Spartans," $4.075 million.
10. "There Will Be Blood," $4.073 million.