Box Office Guru Wrapup: Enchanted Conjures Up $50M Thanksgiving Debut

The latest Disney movie was no holiday turkey.

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The box office bounced back over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend as moviegoers spread their dollars across a wide variety of films which collectively helped to bring the marketplace back to life after a mostly uneventful fall season. Disney led the way with its new family pic Enchanted, which ruled the multiplexes, but a surprisingly potent opening for the holiday comedy This Christmas contributed to the weekend's success too. Other new releases were sprinkled across the top ten which virtually matched the Thanksgiving numbers posted over each of the last two years. An unprecedented eleven films each grossed $8M or more over the frame as every audience segment found something to see over the long holiday weekend.

For the first time in eight years, Disney opened a new release at number one over the turkey frame. The studio's princess tale Enchanted powered past all competitors to bow on top with an estimated $35.3M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and an incredible $50M across the five-day holiday span which began on Wednesday. That led to a muscular $9,472 average from an ultrawide 3,730 sites over three days. The PG-rated story of an animated princess who encounters the live-action world posted the second biggest five-day opening ever over the Thanksgiving session.

The only hit to debut better was 1999's Toy Story 2 from Disney and Pixar with $80.1M which was also the studio's last new pic to bow at number one over this frame. From 1994 to 1999, the Mouse House consistently debuted a new family film each year at number one over this lucrative holiday frame. Enchanted should have no problem finding its way into the century club.

Beating expectations to open in the number two spot was the family reunion film This Christmas which debuted to an estimated $18.6M over three days and a stunning $27.1M over the five-day period. Sony's inexpensive $13M production averaged a potent $10,011 over three days from only 1,858 theaters for the best average among wide releases. The feel-good holiday pic brought in two-thirds of its business from African-American moviegoers proving once again how powerful that audience is at the box office. Look for This Christmas to finish up as a very profitable venture.

Last week's top warrior Beowulf dropped 41% to an estimated $16.2M and landed in third place. With $56.4M in its treasure chest after ten days, the $150M-budgeted Paramount release should conclude its domestic run with about $80-90M.

Competing actioner Hitman debuted in fourth place with an estimated $13M over three days from 2,458 locations. Averaging a decent $5,303 per venue, the R-rated film about a super-assassin was adapted from a popular video game. Over five days, Hitman shot up $21M for Fox which was targeting many of the same young males that were going to see Beowulf.