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Smith has new box office ‘Legend’

Warner Bros. film posts $29.7 million Friday

Warner Bros.’ Will Smith topliner “I Am Legend” made history at the box office yesterday, posting a whopping $29.7 million from 3,606 sites – the biggest opening day ever for the thesp.

Fox’s live-action/CGI adaptation of the ’60s cartoon “Alvin and the Chipmunks” crooned a groovy $13.2 million off 3,475 locales – the biggest opening day ever for a Fox post-summer release, outstripping last year’s Ben Stiller hit “Night at the Museum” which racked up $12.1 million.  “Museum” posted $30.4 million in its first three days and “Alvin” looks to exceed that haul.

For ‘Legend,’ the sci-fi/actioner registered a few more records in Warner Bros.’ B.O. ledgers: not only was it the second highest opening day for the studio this year behind “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (first day take $44.2 million), it was also their top December opener of all-time, besting the $14.7 million generated by 2004’s “Ocean’s Twelve.”

Among post-Labor day releases, “Legend’s” first day is the fourth highest of all-time and the third best for a PG-13 release behind 2005’s “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” ($40 million) and the Wednesday bow of 2003’s “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” ($34.5 million).

The top three-day opening for a Will Smith vehicle belongs to “I, Robot” which generated $52.2 million in the summer of 2004.  Hands down, “Legend” will beat that figure by Sunday.

The actor’s previous opening day high belonged to the Wednesday bow of “Men in Black 2” which generated $18.6 million in 2002.

The onslaught of frosh competition sent the Friday grosses for New Line’s “The Golden Compass” southward.  The fantasy kid pic collected $2.6 million in third place from 3,528 theaters, repping a 70% drop from its opening day.  The domestic B.O. for “Compass” currently stands at $34.5 million.

In fourth place, Disney’s “Enchanted” warbled $1.6 million in 3,066 theaters, down 43%, with a cume of $87.9 million.

Miramax’s “No Country for Old Men” muscled its way into the top five on Friday, grabbing $849,000 from 1,348 locations, a 33% dip, for a total running cume of $31.4 million.

The weekend’s only other wide entry, Yari Film Group’s yuletide romantic comedy, “The Perfect Holiday” sparked little cheer among moviegoers, ringing up $693,000 from 1,307 engagements.  Since its opening Wednesday, the Queen Latifah-Terrence Howard starrer has accumulated $1.3 million.

Focus Features’ expansion of “Atonement” to 117 theaters resulted in an extra $527,000 yesterday for the Golden Globe nominated drama.  Since last Friday, the Joe Wright-helmed period pic has generated $1.6 million in domestic coin.

Fox Searchlight’s “Juno” boasted the largest theater average among specialty fare yesterday: $10,175 from 40 theaters for a daily haul of $407,000.  Pic’s uptick from seven theaters last weekend pushed the comedy’s Friday B.O. up 236%, bringing its total cume to $1.1 million.

The most prolific arthouse opener yesterday, Paramount Classics’ big-screen adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling novel “The Kite Runner” raised $141,000 in 35 theaters for a per theater average of $4,034.

 

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