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‘Christmases’ tops Friday box office

'Punisher: War Zone' opens in eighth place

Even with moviegoers relaxing from the Thanksgiving holiday stretch, Warner Bros. “Four Christmases” managed to take the top spot in its second Friday with $5.8 million.

Post holiday auds also had a strong appetite for specialty titles with Sony’s “Cadillac Records” bowing in the top 10 with $1.2 million and Universal’s “Frost/Nixon” boasting the day’s highest theater average with $16,572.

Reaping $50,000 from three locations in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, “Frost/Nixon” could wind up rivaling the boffo opening weekend theater average of Focus Features’ “Milk” ($40,385).

“Frost/Nixon” was helmed by Ron Howard and is the cinematic take on Peter Morgan’s play about the intense television interview between Blighty talk show host David Frost and President Richard Nixon. Morgan also penned the screenplay.

Along with “Christmases,” the four carryovers that led last Friday’s top five – Summit’s “Twilight,” Disney’s “Bolt,” Fox’s “Australia” and MGM-Sony’s “Quantum of Solace — outstripped yesterday’s sole wide release, Lionsgate’s Marvel superhero title “Punisher: War Zone” which ranked eighth with an estimated $1.63 million off 2,508.

“War Zone” is the third “Punisher” film to be produced about the vigilante character Frank Castle after the 1989 straight-to-video version and Lionsgate’s 2004 redux which respectively toplined Dolph Lundgren and Thomas Jane in the title role. The 2004 “Punisher” grosssed $5.2 million on its first day and cumed $13.8 million in its opening weekend. Ray Stevenson of HBO’s “Rome” plays Castle in “War Zone.”

Racking up $58.5 million in its first 10 days of release, “Christmases” fell 56% in its second Friday at 3,335 engagements. Summit’s “Twilight” took second with $4.6 million off 3,620, a 58% decline, and a running cume of $130 million. Disney’s “Bolt” slotted third with $2.4 million on 3,516, down 78%, with a current total cume of $72 million. Fox’s “Australia” was fourth with $2.2 million off 2,721, repping a 61% decline in its second Friday, and raising its domestic B.O. to $26.1 million. MGM-Sony’s “Quantum of Solace” charted $2.17 million off 3,423, down 74%, for a running cume of $147.1 million.

Sony’s ‘50s biopic “Cadillac Records” about Chicago blues record label founder Leonard Chess ranked ninth with $1.2 million off 686 locales. Pic stars Adrien Brody as Chess, Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters and Beyonce Knowles as Etta James.

Focus Features and Fox Searchlight respectively upped the theater counts for their arthouse releases “Milk” and “Slumdog Millionaire.” “Milk” saw a 2% uptick in its second Friday after pushing its count from 36 to 99 theaters with $509,000 and a theater average of $5,140. Pic’s cume currently stands at $3 million. “Slumdog” fetched $386,000 in its fourth Friday, down 20% after expanding from 49 to 78 theaters. The film’s Friday B.O. repped a hearty $4,945 per location average with a running domestic total of $4.9 million.

Freestyle Releasing’s kidnapping thriller “Nobel Son” starring Alan Rickman and Danny DeVito collected $116,000 from 893 sites.

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