By Sarah Sluis
For the second week in a row, The Twilight Saga: New Moon took the top spot at the box office. Through the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, it earned $65.9 million, bringing its total gross to $230 million. The two-week total exceeds that of the entire run of the first Twilight movie, which never passed the $200 million mark. The blockbuster success of a franchise targeted almost exclusively to young teen girls should change the film landscape for years to come. Studios should be scurrying to replicate its success, especially given the comparative lack of female-driven blockbusters (Sex and the City and the slightly broader Mamma Mia! notwithstanding)
In second place, The Blind Side grabbed $40 million over the holiday weekend and even beat New Moon on Thanksgiving day because of its broader, family appeal. Many have compared the movie to Precious, but its heartwarming flavor is more reminiscent of last year's Christmas hit Marley & Me.
Old Dogs had a softer Thanksgiving open than a similar Disney comedy, Wild Hogs, opening at $24 million to Wild Hogs' $40 million. The first movie opened in a less competitive March timeslot, making the movie a bit of a scheduling victim, lost among the more appealing side dishes. The other male-oriented film, Ninja Assassin, opened two spots lower at $13.1 million.
As the holiday season kicks into high gear, A Christmas Carol was there to reap the seasonal cheer. The performance-capture tale went up 30% from last week, and 80% including the five-day weekend.
On the horizon, The Princess and the Frog had a promising debut in limited release, bringing in $1.1 million from just two screens thanks to high ticket prices because of a tie-in to character meet-and-greets and behind-the-scenes looks at the movie. When it opens wide on December 11th, girls who have grown up on the Disney "Princesses" merchandising line will have a chance to add another heroine to their princess collection.
Fantastic Mr. Fox, a rather different sort of children's movie, brought in $9.4 million over the five-day weekend. A quarter of the audience was under 19, suggesting the movie has greater appeal among adults and Wes Anderson fans.
The bleak The Road opened in the last spot in the top ten, earning $2 million from 111 theatres. Delayed for over a year, the movie has finally seen the light...but not much green. Unlike the last Cormac McCarthy book to be made into a movie, No Country For Old Men, this one will do considerably lighter business.
The next few weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's will see a whole slate of quality, Academy-worthy films released and crowd-pleasing blockbusters (I can vouch for Up in the Air, but I'm still waiting to see Avatar like everyone else). Time to ring in the holiday season with some popcorn and egg nog.