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Sunday, November 30, 2008

'Four Christmases' pulls in $31.7m over Thanksgiving weekend, 'Bolt' steady in second with $26.6m, Nov. 28-30, 2008

Thanks to a fantastic debut from Four Christmases and an impressive sophomore frame from Disney's Bolt, the box office had its biggest Thanksgiving weekend in eight years. Teen blockbuster Twilight surged past $100 million, while Fox's big budget epic Australia disappointed in fifth. Overall the top ten films grossed an estimated $154.1 million, up 10% from last year's frame when Enchanted debuted with $34.4 million.

Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn's comedy Four Christmases topped the box office with a strong $31.7 million this weekend and $46.7 million since its debut on Wednesday. Averaging $9,571 in 3,310 theaters, the $80 million budgeted New Line-Warner Bros. release shrugged off poor reviews with a hefty marketing push and timely release date. For those still scratching theirs heads at why Vince Vaughn has suddenly become a Christmas season staple (following last year's $72 million grossing Fred Claus), here's hoping two is enough. As for Witherspoon, the Oscar-winning actress posted her second biggest debut ever, behind only 2002's Sweet Home Alabama with $35.6 million.

Despite having its thunder stolen by Twilight last weekend, Disney's computer-animated family film Bolt showed by far the best legs this holiday weekend with $26.6 million from Friday to Sunday (up 1% from last weekend). That brings its ten-day take to a healthy $66.9 million, setting the toon up for a presumably strong month of December. Look for the big budget kidpic to cruise past $100 million within the next two weeks and possibly $150 million by the end of its run.

As expected, last week's box office sensation Twilight cooled down significantly from its torrid opening weekend pace, grossing $26.4 million in third and $119.7 million in ten days of release. Budgeted at a modest $37 million, Summit Entertainment's first bonafide blockbuster should continue to see steep declines in the coming weeks, but not before breaking $150 million domestic.

Falling just 27% in its third week of release was Sony-MGM's Quantum of Solace, which took in $19.5 million bringing its 17 day cume to $142.1 million. The $200 million sequel is now running 23% ahead of where Casino Royale was at this point in its run. That 2006 hit took in $167.4 million domestic and $594.2 million worldwide. Overseas Quantum of Solace has now amassed $340.1 million, bringing its worldwide haul to $482.2 million.

Rounding out the top five was Fox's big-budget epic Australia, which underperformed in its debut with just $14.8 million. Directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, the $130 million budgeted pic averaged $5,607 in 2,642 theaters. Given the film's massive budget, Fox is most likely setting its sights overseas to break even on the production. Reviews were largely mixed.

Also performing well over the Thanksgiving weekend was Paramount-DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, which fell just 7% to $14.5 million, bringing its four week cume to $159.5 million. Though not on pace to catch its predecessor's $193.2 million domestic take, the $150 million budgeted computer-animated comedy should come close.

Jason Statham's action sequel Transporter 3 debuted in seventh with $12.3 million and $18.5 million over the five-day holiday frame, falling short of the $10.5 million four-day bow of its immediate predecessor Transporter 2, which debuted over the four-day Labor Day weekend of 2005 with $20.5 million. Averaging $4,695 in 2,626 theaters, the Lionsgate release should probably finish with $40 million domestic. And for those of you who can't get enough of Jason Statham in retread sequels, be prepared for Crank 2 and The Brazilian Job in 2009.

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