3D toon bests 'Hallows' in sluggish post-holiday weekend

The post-Thanksgiving weekend is always slow at the box office, but this year’s was more lethargic than usual, down 13% from 2009. Still, Disney’s “Tangled” managed some sheen, and “Black Swan” and “The King’s Speech” were smart in the specialty world.

The weekend had just one new wide release, and most of the lower-ranking top 10 titles performed modestly.

Disney’s “Tangled,” which benefited from a better-than-expected start and a strong soph sesh hold, posted an estimated $21.5 million from 3,603 locations, down just 56%. The toon’s Thanksgiving hold is the second best for Disney behind that of “Toy Story 2,” which dropped 52% in 1999. Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1″ dropped to No. 2 with an estimated $16.7 million for a 66% decline from last weekend’s holiday period.

Meanwhile, the weekend’s only wide release, martial arts-Western actioner “The Warrior’s Way,” fell short of pre-release expectations. Pic, with Relativity Media servicing its first sole distribution deal, was expected to land near $5 million for the three days but nabbed an estimated $3.1 million from 1,622.

Several specialty titles, however, held their own this weekend, including Fox Searchlight’s “Swan” and the Weinstein Co.’s “Speech.”

“Black Swan,” a psychological thriller set in the world of ballet wasn’t an easy sell, but it became Searchlight’s all-time highest per-screen average opener: $77,459 from 18 locations. That per-screen perf is this year’s second-highest behind the opening for “The King’s Speech.” In its second frame, latter posted another noteworthy showing, with $325,804 from six locations for a per-screen average of $54,312 and cume of $809,000. Both pics are poised for platform rollouts through the holidays.

Benefiting from holdover expansions, the international market saw considerably more traffic than Stateside multiplexes.

“Tangled” expanded to 15 markets, including debut territories France and Italy, earning an estimated weekend total of $26 million and a cume of $45.8 million. Paramount and DreamWorks Animation’s “Megamind,” which has totaled $48.3 million so far internationally, also broadened its overseas base in anticipation of year-end holidays, adding major markets including Germany, Spain and the U.K. with an estimated $16 million.

While narrowing the gap, neither 3D toon was able to catch top overseas performer “Hallows,” which registered another solid outing for an estimated $54.4 million in 62 territories. Overseas cume for the latest “Potter” pic is $469.1 million.

The weekend’s top domestic players, “Tangled” and “Hallows,” seemed to spark some interest for the frame’s remaining holdover fare though this year’s crop started with smaller grosses over Thanksgiving vs. last year.

According to most B.O. pundits, the week following Thanksgiving also has fewer high-profile releases that studios time for dates closer to Christmas.

Disney prexy of global distribution Chuck Viane said “Tangled” profited from a growing adult aud. Family-driven fare typically takes a hit during this weekend as parents begin their holiday shopping. Toon, which has cumed an estimated $96.5 million, saw stronger evening perfs on Saturday.

“That becomes couples’ night out,” Viane said.

“There are some animated movies that play to everybody and some that don’t,” he added. “This movie has the materials that scream out, ‘You can like this one.’”

The toon’s 3D component played consistent with last weekend, contributing 55%-56% of the gross, which adds some extra coin given higher 3D ticket prices. Still, Viane credited broadened word- of-mouth as the factor contributing most to pic’s B.O. “Tangled” gained steam over the weekend, with “Hallows” outpacing the toon by some 30% in mid-week perfs.

“The vast majority of our audience requires that their parents take them,” Viane said. “That’s something really difficult for moms and dads to do during the week.”

“Tangled” and “Hallows” could potentially play well through December, but “Tangled” will face added 3D competish starting next week from Fox’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Warners said it expects “Hallows” to reach $300 million domestically; cume is an estimated $244.2 million.

Debut title “The Warrior’s Way” will have a tougher time distinguishing itself from higher-profile holiday studio fare. Pic was independently financed for $42 million. Relativity is vested solely as a service deal for marketing and distribution; the company’s first inhouse production, “Season of the Witch,” wil bow next year.

Pic, toplining Jang Dong-gun, Geoffrey Rush and Kate Bosworth, played best to its expected demo of men over 25, with a significant base (27%) in the Asian community. Pic scored a C- CinemaScore rating, which could limit its playability in coming weeks.

In a horse race for third place, Fox’s “Unstoppable” and Sony/Screen Gems’ “Burlesque” both took an estimated $6.1 million, with “Burlesque” in its soph sesh totaling $27 million and “Unstoppable” cuming $68.9 million in its fourth. Pics saw comparable holds.

Other notable holdovers included Fox’s “Love and Other Drugs” and Warners’ “Due Date,” dropping 41% in their respective frames. In its second outing, “Love” tallied an estimated $5.7 million, while “Due Date” took an estimated $4.2 million after five weeks in release. “Love” has cumed $22.6 million Stateside; “Due Date,” $91 million.

Despite Fox Searchlight’s “Black Swan” commanding a sizable portion of the specialty biz, Roadside Attractions’ pickup “I Love You Phillip Morris” still averaged $18,886 from six locations in New York, L.A. and San Francisco, totaling an estimated $113,200.

Roadside acquired the gay-themed Jim Carrey-Ewan McGregor comedy in August after a stalled release sked. “It’s the sort of middle finger in the air that draws people to this movie,” said Howard Cohen, co-prexy of Roadside.

Magnolia Pictures opened two pics this weekend in limited release: “All Good Things” and “Night Catches Us.” Distrib’s Ryan Gosling-Kirsten Dunst thriller “All Good Things” bowed at two New York engagements, averaging an $20,000 per screen, while “Night Catches Us,” starring Kerry Washington and Anthony Mackie, stalled at its four debut locations with just $3,400 per screen.

Christmas horror pic “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale,” from Oscilloscope, posted a respectable per of $9,520 from its sole domestic playdate.

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