For the third week in a row, Walt Disney’s “National Treasure” remained atop the box office chart.
Earning $17.1 million for the frame — and down just 47% from its giant Thanksgiving weekend take — “Treasure” has cumed $110.2 million.
Also holding well from last weekend was Sony and Revolution’s “Christmas With the Kranks,” which earned $11.7 million, down 46% from its opening last weekend, when it was in third place. Cume on the Tim Allen-Jamie Lee Curtis starrer is $45.5 million.
Sony had the best opener of the weekend with “Closer,” which bowed at No. 6 with $7.7 million from 476 screens. Limited release lured an average of $16,176 per screen.
In an even more limited release, Sony Pictures Classics successfully launched “House of Flying Daggers” with $417,020 from 15 screens in L.A. and Gotham, averaging $27,801 per house.
Coming in at No. 3, Warner Bros.’ “The Polar Express” grossed $11 million over the weekend, down 43%, as it continues to show strength with the approach of Christmas. With three weeks to go before the holiday, pic has cumed $96.4 million.
Weekend marks the first time Warners’ Santa toon outpaced Disney and Pixar’s “The Incredibles,” which drew $9.2 million in receipts for the frame, down 61% (cume: $226 million).
Paramount’s “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” rounded out the top five with $7.8 million, down 56% and boosting cume to $68.4 million.
In its second frame, Warners’ epic “Alexander” continued to limp, with $4.7 million in its sophomore session, down 65% from its opening. Cume on the Oliver Stone-helmed pic now is $29.7 million.
But the weekend’s biggest disappointment was Lions Gate’s opening of “I Am David,” which claimed only $169,000 from 226 screens, averaging $748 per engagement.
Elsewhere in the limited arena, Miramax’s “Finding Neverland” took in $2.8 million in its second week of national release, down 39%, claiming the weekend’s No. 8 spot. Playing on 526 screens, the Johnny Depp starrer averaged $5,421.
Sony Classics’ “Bad Education” continued its strong run on its three Gotham screens. Pedro Almodovar-helmed pic counted $90,014 in its third weekend, down 35%, averaging $30,005 per screen. Cume is $527,717.
Warner Independent’s “A Very Long Engagement” also held well in its initial four runs, pulling in $72,800 on its second weekend, an average of $18,200 per screen. Cume is $213,000.
In its fourth week of play, Fox Searchlight’s “Kinsey” grossed $760,000, averaging $4,000 on its 190 screens. Results were down 41% from last weekend. Cume is a tad below $3.7 million.
Searchlight’s “Sideways,” in its seventh week, grossed $1.8 million, down 38%, and averaged $3,637 on its 499 screens.
Even by the low standards for the first week of December, business was slow. Nielsen EDI estimates the overall box office at $87 million, down 11% from last year, when “The Last Samurai” and “Honey” both debuted.
Year-to-date, box office is running 2.2% ahead of last year, with $8.383 billion counted so far in 2004.