In between bouts of leftovers and naps, Americans found time to head to movie theaters in droves over Thanksgiving, as the top-ten films grossed a record-setting $278 million over the long weekend. Unsurprisingly, The Twilight Saga: New Moon paced the field, amassing a ridiculous $65.9 million over the 5-day frame, $42.5 million of which came from Friday-to-Sunday. But the big story was the continued success of The Blind Side: Sandra Bullock’s football drama ran up $57.5 million worth of business from Wednesday-to-Sunday and nearly ran past New Moon over the weekend with $40.1 million in ticket sales. Between The Blind Side and The Proposal, Ms. Bullock has clearly cemented herself as the number one female star in Hollywood this year. As we do each Monday, here’s a breakdown of the top five at the box office.
1. The Twilight Saga: New Moon: $42.5 million ($230.6 million total)
We might as well get the bad news out of the way first: New Moon lost 70 percent of its record breaking $142.8 million opening frame, an even worse depreciation than Twilight, which shed 62 percent of its earnings between weekends one and two. Somehow though, we don’t think the executives at Summit Entertainment are weeping. New Moon is already the sixth highest grossing film of 2009 and it should fly by Star Trek next weekend to reach the top-five. And while the 70 percent drop is harsh, don’t forget that New Moon took in $23.4 million combined on Thanksgiving eve and day, when all the 14-year-old girls (and some 30-something ones too) who had to see Edward, Bella and Jacob again were on holiday. Oh, and did we mention that the Twilight sequel has taken in $243 million internationally for a worldwide tally of $473.7? As you can see, “bad news” about New Moon is certainly relative.
2. The Blind Side: $40.1 million ($100.2 million total)
Back in June, we scoffed at the idea of The Hangover being a “sleeper hit” because anyone with two eyes could have seen that film’s box office success coming from a mile away. Not so, however, with The Blind Side, which now has to qualify as the sleeper hit of 2009. Up 17 percent over its three-day opening weekend—something that rarely happens—The Blind Side is a certifiable word-of-mouth smash and could conceivably pass New Moon next weekend to lead what is likely to be a weak frame; the only wide releases are Brothers and Everybody’s Fine, both which look like soft performers. If anyone says they saw this happening, they’re lying.
3. 2012: $18 million ($138.7 million total)
At this point, does the domestic box office total for Roland Emmerich’s latest piece of disaster porn even matter? While the $138.7 million is nice enough, the real number to watch here is $455.8 million. That’s how much 2012 has grossed overseas, meaning it has taken in an awe-inspiring $594.5 million worldwide. Next time someone calls American film audiences stupid, please direct them to the international receipts for 2012.
4. Old Dogs: $16.8 million ($24.1 million total)
Yes, Virginia, there were new releases at the box office this Thanksgiving. Old Dogs was the best of the bunch, though with a disappointing $24.1 million since opening on Wednesday, we wouldn’t get too excited. Still, if you’re looking for a bright side here, note that with an opening weekend gross of $16.8 million, Old Dogs edged out RV to give Robin Williams his second highest live-action start in this decade, behind Insomnia. Um, yeah, like we said, not much to get excited about.
5. A Christmas Carol: $16 million ($105.3 million total)
This is more like it! After dropping 49 percent last weekend, A Christmas Carol rebounded nicely to put itself back on track. With an increase of 30 percent from weekend-to-weekend, the Disney release held off Ninja Assassin ($13.1 million/$21 million total) to remain in the top-five for a fourth straight week. With a full two weeks before it starts to lose IMAX theaters to Avatar, the Nikki Finke-created “bust” has already crossed $100 million and could wind up with final numbers comparable to the $162.7 million that Polar Express rang up during its initial box office run. There is nothing Scrooge-like about a gross like that.