Box-office Blahs At Christmas
Like the holiday stockings hanging at the fireplace, the Christmas box office turned out to be pretty much a mixed bag. Although some studios revised their estimates for the Friday-to-Sunday period, they did not release final figures nor estimates for Monday, Christmas Day, when two new films, the horror flick Black Christmas and the musical Dreamgirls, were added to the mix. There were no break-out hits. The debut of the Ben Stiller comedy Night at the Museum led the list with $30.9 million over the three-day period, in line with analysts' predictions but well off Stiller's best opening: $46.1 million for Meet the Fockers in 2004. Sylvester Stallone's return as Rocky Balboa after 16 years, did OK business with about $12.2 million, after earning $9.7 million on Wednesday and Thursday, as it finished in third place -- a performance that would seem to indicate that audiences were not as impressed with Stallone's comeback as the critics were. Will Smith's The Pursuit of Happyness dropped to second place with $14.9 million, 43 percent below its opening take a week ago. The biggest drop, however, was registered by the fantasy flick Eragon, which plunged 70 percent in its second weekend to $7.1 million, to place sixth. Another new film, We Are Marshall, crashed on take-off as it opened with just $6 million. Playing in just five theaters, Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima debuted with $89,000, an average of $17,800 per theater.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):
1. Night at the Museum, 20th Century Fox, $30,880,000, (New); 2. The Pursuit of Happyness, Sony, $14,874,000, 2 Wks. ($53,304,000); 3. Rocky Balboa, MGM, $12,220,999, (New); 4. The Good Shepherd, Universal, $9,925,000, (New); 5. Charlotte's Web, Paramount, $7,693,000, 2 Wks. ($26,530,000); 6. Eragon, 20th Century Fox, $7,101,000, 2 Wks. ($37,596,000); 7. We Are Marshall, Warner Bros. $6,080,000, (New); 8. The Nativity Story, New Line, $5,198,000, 4 Wks. ($32,512,000); 9. Happy Feet, Warner Bros. $5,131,000, 6 Wks. ($159,099,000); 10. The Holiday, Paramount, $4,877,000, 3 Wks. ($34,977,000).