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‘Yes Man’ tops Friday box office

Jim Carrey comedy nabs $6.5 million

Even with winter storms plaguing parts of the country, moviegoers managed to make Jim Carrey’s comedy “Yes Man” the top film Friday with $6.5 million and Will Smith’s drama number two with $5.2 million.

Overall, bad weather drove the estimated B.O. for yesterday’s top 10 pics ($24.7 million) down by 4% from a week ago. Nonetheless, award season limited fare continued to chart strong theater averages, led by Fox Searchlight’s weekend entry “The Wrestler” which posted a per site take of $14,375.

Distributed by Warner Bros. and playing at 3,434 locales, “Yes Man” bested the opening day of Carrey’s previous PG-13 December comedy, “Fun With Dick and Jane” which generated $3.8 million in 2005 as well as a three-day weekend of $14.4 million. “Dick and Jane” finaled its domestic take with $110.3 million.

Marking Smith’s second Sony drama with Italian helmer Gabriele Muccino, “Seven Pounds,” playing at 2,758, charted under the $9 million first day of the duo’s first December 2006 collaboration “The Pursuit of Happyness.” “Happyness” opened to $26.5 million and ended its domestic run with $162.6 million. Smith also landed an Oscar nod for best actor for his performance in “Happyness.”

Meanwhile, Universal’s toon “The Tale of Despereaux” based on the Kate DiCamillo kids’ book took in $3.5 million from 3,104. Outside Disney’s reissues, the majors typically have churned out few animated pics during the December frame. “Despereaux’s” first day gross is in line with previous toons for the winter month, notching ahead of Disney’s 2000 feature “Emperor’s New Groove” ($2.3 million) and charting under DreamWorks’ 1998 pic “The Prince of Egypt” ($4.3 million).

With two other PG-13 wide entries in the marketplace, Fox’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still” declined 76% in its second Friday, earning $2.8 million off 3,560 for fourth place. Through its first eight days, the Keanu Reeves sci-fi redux has generated $41.3 million.

Warner Bros.’ holiday laffer “Four Christmases” continued to stay afloat in the top five, dipping only 47% in its fourth Friday. The Reese Witherspoon-Vince Vaughn vehicle inched closer to the century mark, drawing $2.2 million off 3,515 for a domestic gross to date of $94.6 million.

In its first three days, Fox Searchlight’s Mickey Rourke drama “The Wrestler” has already pinned down $142,506 from four Gotham and Los Angeles showings, reeling in $57,000 alone on Friday. Pic has already picked up a SAG and Golden Globe best actor nom for Rourke’s turn as an over-the-hill wrestler.

Fox Searchlight’s “Slumdog Millionaire” continued to chart in the top 10, slotting eighth in its sixth Friday with $754,000 and a cume to date of $9.8 million. After hiking its theater count from 169 to 589, “Slumdog” saw a 35% gain in its Friday-to-Friday B.O.

Warner Bros.’ Clint Eastwood pic “Gran Torino” charted the day’s second best theater average behind “The Wrestler” with $6,143 or $117,000 from 19 sites. Pic’s second Friday was up 56% after expanding from six engagements and its eight day cume is currently at $509,000.

Miramax’s “Doubt” inched from 15 playdates to 39, seeing a 32% gain in its second Friday with $185,000 and a current B.O. of $904,000. The per site average for the John Patrick Shanley film was $4,745.

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