While some people met with their families on Christmas, a record number of moviegoers went out in droves to “Meet the Fockers.”
The sequel to 2000’s “Meet the Parents” took in a record $19.1 million on December 25, the best single Christmas Day box-office take (the record was previously set last year by “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which took in $14 million), according to The Associated Press. “Meet the Fockers,” which opened last Wednesday, raked in $44.7 million over the weekend, according to early estimates, to debut at #1 on the box-office top 10.
“Meet the Fockers” reunites audiences with Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Blythe Danner and Teri Polo, adding Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand as the parents of Greg Focker (Stiller). The comedy that sends the Byrnes (Danner, De Niro, Polo) on a road trip to Florida to meet the Focker family easily bested the other top-10 newcomers and veterans.
Moviegoers looking for another comedic new release said “Hey Hey Hey” to “Fat Albert,” the live-action film based on the animated TV series about the adventures of a group of kids from Philadelphia. Bill Cosby, who voiced Fat Albert as well as several other characters in the TV series, was also a screenwriter for the film, which debuted at #2, bringing in $12.7 million.
As viewers chose to cringe at the unrelenting misfortune of Greg Focker this weekend, “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” was dealt a blow that knocked it from the #1 to the #3 spot. The film, which stars Jim Carrey as the crafty Count Olaf, who repeatedly tries to steal the inheritance from the Baudelaire children whom he was once assigned to look after, took in $12.5 million.
In its second week in limited release, “The Aviator” debuted on the top 10 at #4. With an all-star cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, Gwen Stefani and Jude Law, the film about legendary film director, aviator and ladies’ man Howard Hughes earned more than $9.4 million.
“Ocean’s Twelve,” meanwhile, failed to haul in big box-office earnings this week, dropping three spots from #2 to #5 with more than $8.6 million.
The horror flick “Darkness” opened in limited release, and debuted at #6 with more than $6.4 million. In the film, Anna Paquin plays a teenage girl who finds that the home she and her family have recently moved into is haunted by a murky past.
Rounding out the top 10 are “The Polar Express,” which dropped from #4 to #7 with more than $6.2 million; “Spanglish,” which failed to communicate with moviegoers and dove from #3 where it debuted last week, to #8, with $5 million; “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,” which, in its third week in theaters, debuted on the top 10 at #9 with more than $4.8 million; and the Broadway-play-turned-feature-film “The Phantom of the Opera,” which bowed at #10 with $4.2 million.
Overall, ticket sales were down from the corresponding weekend last year.
Next week, look for “Beyond the Sea” and “In Good Company” to debut on the box-office top 10. Also opening are “A Love Song for Bobby Long” and “The Merchant of Venice.”
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