'Enchanted' expected to top weekend
Thanksgiving leftovers are expected to feed most of the weekend box office, with Hayden Christensen-Jessica Alba thriller “Awake” the only new wide release in a welcome respite from the otherwise overcrowded fall.
Disney’s princess tale “Enchanted” is expected to cast the most winning spell. Amy Adams starrer won the five-day Thanksgiving frame with a $50 million haul; cume was $52.5 million through Wednesday, according to Rentrak.
Distributed by MGM, Dimension Films’ “Awake” unspools in 2,002 theaters. Helmed and written by Joby Harold in his directorial debut, psychological drama revolves a man who finds himself awake, yet paralyzed, during heart surgery.
Historically, theater traffic takes a dip the weekend after the extended Thanksgiving frame.
The limited side will be busier as Miramax opens Julian Schnabel’s French film “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” and Fox Searchlight debuts filmmaker Tamara Jenkins’ “The Savages,” starring Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Besides “Enchanted,” other top holdovers heading into their second sesh include Sony’s “This Christmas,” which finished last weekend at No. 2 and cumed $28 million through Wednesday, and 20th Century Fox’s bigscreen vidgame adaptation “Hitman,” which came in No. 4 over Thanksgiving and grossed $23.7 million through Wednesday.
Heading into its third frame, Paramount/Shangri-La Entertainment’s 3-D epic “Beowulf” remains a strong contender, proving that the extra charge for a 3-D movie ticket can bolster a movie’s box office. Pic, which came in No. 3 over Thanksgiving, grossed $59.8 million through Wednesday.
A clutch of holdover family films will continue to look for box office traction, including Paramount-DreamWorks Animation’s “Bee Movie” ($112.9 million through Wednesday), Warner Bros.’ “Fred Claus” ($53.6 million through Wednesday), Fox-Walden’s “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” ($22.8 million through Wednesday) and Warners’ “August Rush” ($14.7 million through Wednesday).
On the limited side, “Diving Bell” plays three locations in Gotham and L.A. Film is based on the memoir by former French Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who was left immobilized by a stroke.
“Savages,” which opened Wednesday, plays in four theaters in L.A. and Gotham. Dysfunctional-family storyline revolves around a brother and sister who come together to care for their ailing father.
Other limited debuts include Bollywood musical “Aaja Nachle,” which Yash Raj opens in 66 theaters in key markets; Bollywood comedy “Nina’s Heavenly Delights,” which Regent opens in two theaters in New York; Iraqi war drama “Badland,” which Arcangelo opens in two theaters; biopic “The Rocket,” which Palm opens in one theater in New York; Argentine suspense drama “Chronicle of an Escape,” which IFC First Take opens in one theater in Gotham; and docu “Protagonist,” which IFC opens in one theater in New York.
Todd Haynes’ experimental Bob Dylan biopic “I’m Not There” is expanding into 138 theaters.
On the foreign front, “Beowulf” looks likely to score its third straight weekend victory as it expands into Australia, Brazil, Japan and Sweden.
The action epic has shown respectable traction offshore for Warner Bros. with more than $50 million from 43 international markets in its first two weeks.
Biggest competition for “Beowulf” will probably come from Fox’s widening of “Hitman” into 17 markets, including such major territories as Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain and the U.K. Actioner took in $1.1 million offshore last weekend in a dozen small markets.
Two comedies aimed at families — “Bee Movie” and “Enchanted” — will widen internationally during the frame. “Bee Movie” goes into Mexico, Spain and Taiwan after taking in $12 million from Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Singapore; “Enchanted” goes into France, Malaysia and Portugal with $10 million banked from seven markets.
Warner is also making a major foreign push for Christmas comedy “Fred Claus” with launches into Germany, Italy, South Korea and the U.K. With domestic cume at $53 million after three weeks, expectations are moderate.
Paramount’s taking “The Heartbreak Kid” into France and Poland with a respectable $65 million overseas cume so far. First-day grosses from France were moderate at $286,000.
Universal’s launching “The Kingdom” in Italy, Indonesia and the Philippines as it nears the end of its foreign run. Actioner’s been a tricky sell overseas, and cume is $33 million cume; its best figure has come in the U.K. with $5.7 million.