By Mack Chico
With the annual post-Thanksgiving multiplex malaise setting in and just one big new movie (Punisher: War Zone, which I’ll get to later…uh, much later) in theaters, the box office results remarkably resembled those of a week ago.
So, yep, you guessed it: Four Christmases was No. 1 with $18.2 million, according to Sunday’s estimates. That brings the holiday comedy’s two-week sum to a sweet $70.8 mil–and it restores my confidence in Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon as box office draws. For now, at least.
The rest of the top five was comprised of the same movies we’ve been seeing for a while now. Twilight moved back up to the No. 2 spot with a tidy $13.2 mil haul; its three-week sum is $138.6 mil. Bolt (No. 3) followed with $9.7 mil, a huge and surprising 64 percent decline from its impressive Thanksgiving weekend sum. Australia declined 53 percent to bank $7 mil at No. 4. And Quantum of Solace (No. 5) grossed $6.6 mil and crossed the $500 mil mark worldwide.
Among major new releases, the biggest was hardly the baddest: Punisher: War Zone (No. 8) grossed a mere $4 mil in 2,508 theaters, a tally that’s way off from the $13.8 mil that The Punisher premiered with in 2004. More punishment: The Marvel franchise reboot failed to defeat even last week’s action disappointment, Transporter 3 (which was No. 7 with $4.5 mil). Ouch! Meanwhile, the other sorta-substantial new movie, Cadillac Records (No. 9), fared a bit better, bringing in a decent $3.5 mil in 686 locations. But the indie drama Nobel Son failed to take any prize (except, perhaps, that of Box Office Flop of the Week), grossing just $370,575 in 893 venues–a redonkulously low average of $415 per theater.
Nay, the only real news of note came in the ultra-limited-release sphere, where the buzzy drama Frost/Nixon debuted with a tremendous $60,049 average in three theaters in New York, L.A., and Toronto. The Oscar contender will roll out wider in the coming weeks.
Overall, the slow box office was actually up more than 6 percent from the same (even slower) frame a year ago, when The Golden Compass bowed to disappointing returns. That makes this the fifth straight “up” weekend of the fall season, and all things considered, it should be enough to spread some holiday cheer in Hollywood.