'Aeon' flat, Cash carries
It was one last hurrah for “Harry Potter,” as the teen wizard held the top spot in a typically slow post-Thanksgiving frame.“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” fell 63% in its third frame to $20.5 million. It’s the only pic in 2005 to hold first place for three straight weekends. Meanwhile, the weekend’s only wide bow, Paramount sci-fi actioner “Aeon Flux” opened to $13.1 million. Overall weekend take was up just 1% from 2004. Any hope of making up some of the year’s 6% B.O. deficit will rest primarily on the shoulders of “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “King Kong.” While the drop is on the high end for a “Potter” pic, the $229.9 million cume is still bigger than any other franchise entry after three weeks, thanks to its boffo $102.7 million bow. Per-screen average was $5,302 on 3,850 plays. “Potter” faces its first tentpole competition Friday, in the form of Disney and Walden’s “Narnia,” followed by U’s “Kong” five days later. A distant second, “Flux” proved weak among the young men who usually drive sci-fi actioners. Although the aud was 58% male, a surprising 55% were over 25, perhaps indicating greater interest among those old enough to remember the mid-’90s MTV toon on which the pic was based. “Aeon Flux” had a per-screen average of $5,023 at 2,608 theaters. In third place, Fox’s “Walk the Line” came down to earth after declining only 14% in its second weekend over Thanksgiving. Pic made $10 million, down 48%, on 3,160 screens for an average of $3,165. Total take for the Johnny Cash biopic is now $68.8 million. Keeping its spot atop the five Thanksgiving bows, “Yours, Mine and Ours” declined 52% to $8.4 million, good enough for fourth place. Average was $2,617 on 3,210 screens. Par family comedy has cumed $34.6 million. “Just Friends” and “Pride and Prejudice” shared the prize for the frame’s smallest drops in the top 10. Following a modest bow of $9.2 million, New Line’s raunchy comedy fell just 36% to $5.9 million. Gross was good enough for fifth place with an average take of $2,355 on 2,505 playdates. Cume is now $21.4 million. In its fourth weekend, but only its second in wide release, Focus’ Jane Austen adaptation continues to do well, falling 35% to $4.6 million on 1,327 screens, for an average of $3,485. Total take stands at $21.4 million. Tied with “Prejudice” for sixth place was “Rent.” Sony/Revolution musical made $4.6 million in its second frame, down 54%. Average was $1,888 on 2,437 plays. Cume is $23.9 million. After weak bows, “In the Mix” and “The Ice Harvest” flatlined in their second frames. Lions Gate’s Usher starrer landed in 10th place with $1.9 million, down 57%. Average take was $1,182 on 1,608 playdates. Cume is $8.7 million. Focus black comedy “The Ice Harvest” dropped out of the top 10 with a 54% decline to $1.7 million. Average was $1,101 on 1,555 screens. Cume on the John Cusack/Billy Bob Thornton starrer is $7.7 million. In limited release, WB’s “Syriana” stayed strong as it expanded from five to nine theaters in Gotham, Los Angeles and Toronto. Pic made $491,000, giving it an impressive average of $54,444. Political thriller looks well positioned as it goes wide next weekend. Cume is now $1.2 million. Debuting on two screens in L.A. and New York, the Weinstein Co.’s “Transamerica” made a solid $45,918, for an average of $22,959. Transgender road trip pic will hit the top 20 markets over Christmas. Declining 44% in its ninth week, “Good Night, and Good Luck” made $1.1 million on 631 playdates for an average of $1,664 per screen. Cume on the Warner Independent historical drama is $21 million. Continuing its holiday season run in Imax theaters, Warner’s “The Polar Express” made $805,000 on 66 playdates, down 34% from its bow last week. Thanks in part to higher ticket prices, average per giant screen was $12,196. Cume for this year’s re-release is $2.3 million. Including last year’s take, it’s $165.2 million. Continuing to show strength in its 10th week, Sony Pictures Classics and UA’s “Capote” made $615,554 on 247 screens, a 38% drop from last week and an average of $2,492 per playdate. Total take for the biopic is $9.9 million. Kicking up its screen count by 20 to 102 following a raft of Independent Spirit noms, Samuel Goldwyn and SPC’s “The Squid and the Whale” fell 7% to $330,244, bringing its cume to $3.7 million. Average was $3,238 per play. In its third frame, SPC’s “Breakfast on Pluto” made $33,245 on five screens. Take was up 16% from what it made on three plays last weekend. Cume for the Neil Jordan-helmed cross-dressing drama is $131,848. Sarah Silverman comedy docu “Jesus Is Magic,” from Roadside Attractions, kicked its screen count up from 28 to 34 in its fourth frame and saw its gross stay virtually flat at $133,450. Total take is now $680,327. ThinkFilm docu “Boys of Baraka,” about inner-city boys from Baltimore who go to a boarding school in Kenya, made $11,235 on a single screen in Gotham. Hoping to garner an Oscar nom, pic doesn’t open in Los Angeles until Jan. 20. Cume since its Wednesday bow is $14,330. “First Descent,” a snowboarding docu Universal distribbed for MD Films and Transition Prods., bowed to $423,000 on 243 plays for an average of $1,740.