By Mack Chico
Jim Carrey’s new comedy “Yes Man” got the nod from moviegoers across North America, but brutal weather in key markets combined with holiday shopping distractions to hit overall ticket sales.
According to studio estimates issued on Sunday, “Yes Man” earned $18.2 million during its first three days, winning a closely watched duel with the Will Smith drama “Seven Pounds.” The decidedly downbeat film opened to a lightweight $16 million, Smith’s worst performance in seven years.
A third new entry, the mouse cartoon “The Tale of Despereaux,” followed at No. 3 with $10.5 million. Last weekend’s champion, the sci-fi remake “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” fell to No. 4 with $10.2 million.
Ticket sales on the East Coast, Pacific Northwest and parts of the Midwest fell victim to a winter deluge of snow and ice. Boston, for example, is a top-10 market, but it plunged to the lower reaches of the top 25 on Friday, studio executives said.
The top 12 films grossed $83 million, essentially flat with last weekend but down 44 percent from the year-ago period, according to tracking firm Media By Numbers.
Warner Bros Pictures, which released “Yes Man,” said the bad weather knocked about $2.5 million off the film’s total. But the Time Warner Inc (TWX.N)-owned studio hoped to make the money back in subsequent weeks.
Carrey plays a bank officer stuck in a personal and professional rut. After he attends a self-help seminar, he must say “yes” to all ideas and requests, leading to both comic and dramatic pitfalls. It cost in the $70 million range to make, said Dan Fellman, the studio’s president of distribution.