Box Office Guru Wrapup: Tangled Takes Crown Over Weak Frame

Yo la Tangled!

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The annual post-turkey blues kicked in as the North American box office plunged with the Top 20 dropping by 53% from last week's Thanksgiving holiday. The action entry The Warrior's Way was the only new wide release and was dead on arrival landing in ninth place. Last weekend's top two choices swapped positions as all films suffered steep declines. Overall, ticket sales slumped to the second lowest point of 2010 as moviegoers found almost nothing to be excited about or worth paying top dollar for. Outside of the top two films, no wide release averaged more than $2,500 this weekend.

Rising from second to first place, Disney's 3D animated film Tangled reigned over a slow frame with an estimated $21.5M. The Rapunzel tale dropped by an understandable 56% in its second weekend as it came off of a long holiday weekend debut. The Mouse House has collected a strong $96.5M after 12 days. Three years ago, the studio led with its princess pic Enchanted which fell 52% after Thanksgiving to $16.4M which was enough to claim the box office crown that weekend. It went on to reach $127.8M.

Tangled scored the best gross for a number one film on the weekend after the turkey holiday since 2003 when The Last Samurai opened to $24.3M. The Tom Cruise period film was also the last new release to open atop the charts this particular frame. With a busy December movie month ahead, Tangled could make it through the holiday season to the $170M mark.

Dropping down to second place after two weeks on top was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 which took in an estimated $16.7M in its third round falling a steep 66%. Suffering the worst decline of any wide release, the Warner Bros. smash still raised its 17-day total to $244.2M putting it 6.5% ahead of the $229.3M that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire collected during the same period in 2005. Compared to the last two wizard flicks which both bowed on July Wednesdays, Hallows is running 6.3% ahead of 2007's Order of the Phoenix but 0.5% behind 2009's Half-Blood Prince.

Goblet, which banked a better $19.9M in its third frame which was also the first session of December, went on to add three times that amount to its cume as it played through the holidays. Should Hallows perform in a similar manner over the weeks ahead, it would end its domestic run with roughly $295M. Overseas the seventh Harry pic was still going strong, though burning through its upfront audience quickly. The international take fell by 53% to an estimated $54.4M from 62 territories bumping the total to $469.1M and the worldwide tally to a healthy $713.1M. Breaking $930M like the last two installments should be possible.

Two very different films tied for third place with weekend estimates of $6.1M a piece. Sony's Christina Aguilera-Cher musical Burlesque dropped 49% putting its 12-day sum at $27M. The critically-panned drama will try to end its run with $40M beating out the disappointing $29.1M that the studio collected with its 2005 Thanksgiving musical offering Rent. But factoring in the 600 extra theaters and higher ticket prices for Burlesque, both films will end up selling about the same number of tickets per location. Denzel Washington's non-musical train thriller Unstoppable collected the same amount of cash thanks to a 47% decline and upped its cume to $68.9M for Fox.

Sliding 42% to an estimated $5.7M was the Viagra comedy Love and Other Drugs starring Jake Gyllenhaal and new Oscar host Anne Hathaway. Fox has taken in $22.6M in 12 days and could be headed for a $35M finish. Paramount followed with the 3D toon Megamind which tumbled 60% to an estimated $5M for a $136.7M cume to date.

The road trip comedy Due Date held up well dipping 41% to an estimated $4.2M bumping the total to $91M. The Warner Bros. title will soon become the fifth $100M+ blockbuster over the last two-and-a-half years for Robert Downey Jr. He had none during his entire acting career before 2008. On the other hand, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson may end up with the lowest-grossing film of his career with the action film Faster which dropped 55% to an estimated $3.8M for $18.1M in 12 days. It should finish its run in the vicinity of the former wrestler's worst-performing film Doom which grossed $28M in 2005. That pic did open at number one, though.

Only one box office contender opened in wide release this weekend, the stylish martial arts Western The Warrior's Way, which performed poorly grossing an estimated $3.1M from 1,622 locations for a dull $1,881 average. Barely breaking into the top ten over a remarkably slow weekend, the R-rated actioner mixed historical Asian swordplay with Old West shootouts and starred Jang Dong-gun, Geoffrey Rush, and Kate Bosworth. This was the first release from Relativity Media as an independent distributor after its takeover of Overture Films, but was set up as a rent-a-system deal minimizing its exposure. Way cost a meaty $42M to produce and hopes to recover that from markets around the world, especially Korea where the lead actor is a major box office draw. Domestic audiences were 65% male and 65% over 25. Reviews were mixed and the CinemaScore grade from paying moviegoers was a poor C- meaning this warrior has a short way to go before hitting DVD.

Rounding out the top ten was Russell Crowe's The Next Three Days which grossed an estimated $2.7M, down 43%, for a weak $18.4M thus far.

With the big boys mostly on the sidelines this weekend, a number of specialty films launched in limited release hoping that awards attention will translate into dollars with arthouse audiences. Making a spectacular debut was Natalie Portman's Black Swan which bowed in only 18 locations but grossed an estimated $1.4M for a sensational $77,459 average. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, the R-rated ballet thriller built up buzz at a handful of the industry's top film festivals heading into its limited opening and will expand to about 60 theaters on Friday. Reviews were very good and most are expecting Portman to be a major contender for the Best Actress Academy Award. Swan stands a chance of cracking the top ten next weekend.

The much-delayed Jim Carrey-Ewan McGregor comedy I Love You, Phillip Morris enjoyed a solid debut with an estimated $113,200 from six sites for a $18,867 average. Released by Roadside Attractions, the R-rated film about a con man that falls in love with a fellow inmate in prison earned good marks from critics and will gradually expand throughout December ahead of a January 7 wide release.

Following a very successful VOD run, the Ryan Gosling-Kirsten Dunst mystery All Good Things opened to impressive numbers at a pair of major Manhattan arthouses grossing an estimated $40,000 for a $20,000 average. Los Angeles and Washington DC get the Magnolia film this Friday even though it is available on demand across the country. The company has been a pioneer in mixing VOD and theatrical platforms to make the most coin with its titles. Reviews were lukewarm.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $74.9M which was down 13% from last year when The Blind Side climbed into the top spot with $20M; but up 2% from 2008 when Four Christmases stayed at number one with $16.8M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office Guru!