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Holiday B.O. Up 17%: ‘Blind Side’ Pushes Past $100M

”New Moon“ drops 70% but still wins the long weekend, taking in $66M over five days.

The five-day Thanksgiving-holiday box office will end on a high note, up 17 percent over 2008, according to one studio’s estimate, with Summit Entertainment’s “Twilight” sequel “New Moon” greatly diminished but still landing in the top spot, and other incumbents — including Warner’s “Blind Side” and “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” — spiking significantly from last week.

With new entries like Disney PG film “Old Dogs” ($24.1 million) and Warner’s Wachowski-produced action movie “Ninja Assassin” ($21 million) finishing respectably in the middle of the pack over the five-day period, the same films that drove the box office to record heights last weekend accounted for the bulk holiday ticket sales.
Rounding out the top 10: “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” ”Precious” and “The Men Who Stare at Goats.” Hitting at number 11, the Weinstein Company’s awards hopeful, the Cormac McCarthy-adapted “The Road,” which brought in $2 million in a 111-venue limited run. Also making a dent: Disney’s hand-drawn "The Princess and the Frog," which made $1.1 million opening only on two screens in New York and L.A.
For its part, “New Moon” saw its weekend tally drop about 70 percent from last week’s opening — the third best premiere ever. But it still had enough lift to lead the box-office with $66 million over the five-day period. The film has grossed $230.7 million domestically thus far.
The “Twilight” sequel also added $85.1 million in foreign ticket sales over the holiday, bringing its international total to $243 million.
“We’re certainly pleased with where it’s headed so far,” said Summit distribution president Richie Fay, noting the studio’s exit polling among “New Moon” viewers indicates strong interest for the “Twilight” sequel’s third installment, “Eclipse,” which is due to hit theaters June 30.
“Blind Side,” meanwhile, surged 18 percent from its premiere weekend, finishing second overall over the five days with $57.8 million and driving its two-week cumulative total to $100.2 million.
“The movie is definitely on its way to $200 million,” said Warner distribution president Dan Fellman, who also noted the film’s 18,322 per-screen average across 3,140 play dates beat all wide releases over the holiday.
“We didn’t do exit polling for the second week, but talking to exhibitors around the country, we found that we were drawing a huge amount of families and playing well across all quadrants,” Fellman noted.
For producer Alcon Entertainment, “Blind Side” — which according to Warner, costs $35 million to make — is now officially its most successful movie, surpassing “Insomnia,” which grossed $113.7 million worldwide ($67.4 domestically) in 2002.
“Hopefully, it will make the top 10 for the Academy and they’ll look at Sandy Bullock, too,” Fellman added.
Also experiencing a significant weekend-to-weekend bump — 36 percent — despite losing 565 venues, Disney’s Robert Zemeckis-directed “Christmas Carol” took in $22.5 million over the holiday, pushing its four-week cumulative total past $105 million.
For Disney, “Christmas Carol’s’” performance arc is remarkably similar to that of Zemeckis’ last expensive motion-capture holiday film, “The Polar Express,” which also debuted to about $30 million – and plenty of naysayers who doubted its profitability – before spiking 24 percent during the 2004 Thanksgiving holiday.
Disney’s Dickens adaptation has just under three more weeks of 3D play before James Cameron’s “Avatar” arrives to take its screens away.
Other strong finishers included Sony Roland Emmerich film “2012,” which added $25.6 million to its domestic coffers and now has a worldwide total of $594.5 million.
The strong performance of the top-four incumbents left limited market share for new entries “Old Dogs” and “Ninja Assassin,” which came in with modest production budgets of $35 million and $40 million, respectively.
Meanwhile, awards aspirants found tough sledding for screens and dollars amid the glut of studio wide releases.
Expanding to 2,033 theaters, for example, Fox Searchlight’s “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” directed by Wes Anderson and voice-starring George Clooney and Meryl Streep, finished just below studio expectations at $9.5 million over the holiday period.
Likewise, Lionsgate’s “Precious,” finished just behind “Mr. Fox” in the ninth spot, taking in $9.4 million. Playing at roughly the same number of venues (663) as last weekend, “Precious” experienced its first week-to-week drop (35 percent).
Finishing in 10th place, Overture’s ensemble satire “The Men Who Stare at Goats” grossed $2.2 million, a 45 percent drop.
Here’s how the top 10 at the domestic box office looked over the five-day holiday period:
Twilight Saga: New Moon ($66.0 mil.)
The Blind Side ($57.8 mil.)
2012 ($25.1 mil.)
Old Dogs ($24.0 mil.)
A Christmas Carol ($22.5 mil.)
Ninja Assassin ($21.0 mil.)
Planet 51 ($14.1 mil.)
The Fantastic Mr. Fox ($9.5 mil.)
Precious ($9.4 mil.)
The Men Who Stare at Goats ($2.2 mil.)