Series pic underperforms; 'Grit' comes on strong

While Paramount’s “True Grit” lassoed a healthy start this Christmas with a three-day estimate of $25.6 million, the holiday sesh’s other wide release, Universal’s “Little Fockers” — though winning the weekend — came in soft estimating $34 million.

Both “True Grit,” opening at 3,047 locations, and “Little Fockers” at 3,536 bowed Wednesday to kick start the holiday sesh; “True Grit” tallied $36.8 million for the five days, while “Little Fockers” earned $48.3 million.

The weekend’s holiday B.O. was down 44% vs. last year, though bizzers prepped for a slow weekend as Christmas Eve (a box office dead zone) fell on Friday. This year was up approximately 11% over the same Christmas play period in 2004, when U’s second Focker family installment, “Meet the Fockers,” earned three-day totals of $46.1 million.

Twentieth Century Fox’s “Gulliver’s Travels” launched Saturday to benefit from increased business on Christmas day, with the 3D pic grossing a softer-than-expected $7.2 million for the two days. With several other 3D pics still in the market, “Gulliver’s” secured just 958 3D locations with half of the pic’s two-day grosses coming from 3D.

Disney’s 3D holdover “Tron: Legacy,” which debuted last weekend at 2,424 3D locations, dropped 54% with an estimated weekend take of $20.1 million. The pic’s domestic cume stands at $88.3 million, with Imax contributing nearly $20 million. The studio launched “Tron” the week before Christmas to give the film an extra week of play time through the holidays.

Historically, the biz expects hearty mid-week figures across the board, with younger auds and some adults still on vacation until after New Year’s.

That trend should extend to specialty titles like “Black Swan” and “The King’s Speech,” both of which saw wide expansions starting Christmas day.

Fox Searchlight broadened “Black Swan” to its widest on Saturday at 1,466 locations, estimating $6.6 million, while the Weinstein Co. screened “The King’s Speech” at 700 playdates this weekend with an estimated $4.6 million. “Black Swan” now has cumed $29 million; “The King’s Speech,” $8.4 million.

Focus Features’ Sofia Coppola-helmed “Somewhere” bowed at seven locations on Wednesday, averaging a fine $28,024 per-screen.

Meanwhile, Sony/Screen Gems’ “Country Strong,” with Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw, also opened mid-week in Nashville and L.A., posting a per-screen average of $17,321 from two locations.

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