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With the holidays making every day a Saturday at the multiplexes, studios are enjoying brisk business at the box office with the marketplace getting even more competitive thanks to three new releases that opened wide on Tuesday, Christmas Day.
A wave of new product hits the marketplace at a time when exciting films are desperately needed to end the current box office funk. The science fiction thriller I Am Legend leads the way but will be joined by the family comedy Alvin and the Chipmunks and the romantic comedy The Perfect Holiday.
New Line hopes to breathe some life into the North American box office with the launch of its pricey adventure film The Golden Compass which stands as the frame's only new wide release. Directed by Chris Weitz (About a Boy), the PG-13 film aims to capture a large crowd including the family audience and fans of sci-fi and fantasy.
Only one new film ventures into wide release. Studios typically avoid opening worthwhile pics during the weekend after the Thanksgiving frame since moviegoing subsides and holiday shopping becomes a bigger national priority. Overall ticket sales tumble by 40-50% from the previous frame and holdovers usually lead the way.
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.
Paramount reigned supreme at the North American box office as its animated adventure tale Beowulf seized the number one spot in its opening weekend while the studio's other toon Bee Movie finished in second place in its third frame.
One animated film will bump another from the number one spot at the North American box office. But the new warrior Beowulf is no B movie but an A-list production from an Oscar-winning director offering action audiences something new. Also opening this weekend but likely to see more modest grosses are the family pic Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium and the romantic drama Love in the Time of Cholera.
Vince Vaughn and Tom Cruise go head to head at the North American box office this weekend with their latest releases. The dodgeball champ goes for holiday laughs with Fred Claus while the top gun offers up a serious political tale in Lions For Lambs.
The North American box office exploded thanks to the scorching debuts of the Denzel Washington-Russell Crowe crime drama American Gangster and Jerry Seinfeld's animated comedy Bee Movie which combined for over $85M in ticket sales.
For the third straight year, the weekend before Halloween was ruled by a $30M+ opening from the Saw franchise proving that the horror series is still the top choice for those looking for a scare. While Saw IV debuted at number one with a brutal box office bow, the romantic dramedy Dan in Real Life starring Steve Carell opened impressively in second place.
Jigsaw's twisted games return for another late-October round of torture fun with Saw IV which should allow the lucrative franchise to claim the biggest horror opening of the year for the second straight time.
Bloodthirsty vampires flew high, depressing dramas sank, and many holdovers held up well at the North American box office. The new horror flick 30 Days of Night easily ruled the charts while a handful of adult dramas were met with opening weekend sales that ranged from mild to embarrassing.
Competition, or a lack of it, will be the deciding factor at the North American box office this weekend for the half-dozen new releases that studios are packing into already overcrowded multiplexes. With far too many films aiming for the same finite audience segment, some are sure to eat into the potential of others.
Tyler Perry once again proved he is a forced to be reckoned with as his latest film Why Did I Get Married? easily took the number one spot at the box office this weekend, nearly doubling the nearest competitor. The other debuting films met with so-so results and there's a tight race for the runner-up spot.
Five new films push their way into nationwide release on Friday hoping to challenge two-time champ The Rock making for what should be a free-for-all at the North American box office with many different studios having a realistic shot at claiming the number one spot.
Ben Stiller's new comedy The Heartbreak Kid stumbled in its opening frame and forced the overall box office to plunge to the worst October weekend in eight years. Incumbent family comedy The Game Plan posted a strong sophomore hold and retained its position as North America's most popular film.
Following a six-week streak of R-rated films topping the charts, The Rock's family comedy The Game Plan led the box office last weekend. Now, adult fare comes back to claim the crown with the new Ben Stiller comedy The Heartbreak Kid which is aiming for an easy number one debut.