‘Tron Legacy’ Is A Virtual Hit At The Weekend Box Office

Disney's relaunch of 1980s sci-fi classic soars, while 'Yogi Bear' feasts on modest second-place snack.

Twenty-eight years after the first film’s release, the “Tron” franchise is officially back on the gaming grid. Walt Disney Pictures has poured a lot of time, money and effort behind “Tron Legacy,” and it shows: The visceral techno-punk ride relies strongly on big-budget effects and a bass-heavy score from Daft Punk, all of which work on a surface level, but the question remains was it a commercial success?

Monetarily, “Legacy” was the weekend’s clear winner, taking home a first-place prize worth $43.6 million. But some have been hesitant to call the result a flat-out victory, given the fact that it cost a reported $170 million to produce the Jeff Bridges and Olivia Wilde-starring reboot. That price tag doesn’t even account for the various marketing and promotional efforts, which had more to do with “Tron” as a brand and less with the actual movie itself. With so much riding on solid box-office returns, the opening-weekend performance of “Legacy” wasn’t exactly stellar.

In comparison, just a year ago James Cameron’s “Avatar” debuted in theaters to a relatively lackluster $77 million opening weekend before going on to rule the box office for several weeks on a successful quest to become the world’s highest-grossing movie of all time. It’s not likely that “Legacy” will meet that same level of success, but with the Christmas holiday season in full effect as of next weekend, the “Tron” sequel could be saved if it shows some serious staying power.

Even if “Tron” didn’t set the box office fully ablaze, it was easily the leader of the pack amongst new competition. “Yogi Bear” broke into the picnic basket and came up with a mere $16.7 million, not a surprising turnout given the mostly negative reviews thrown in the family film’s direction. James L. Brooks’ “How Do You Know” fared even worse, putting a mere $7.6 million dent into its reported $120 million production budget in its debut week.

As for last week’s box-office champ , “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” sunk to third place with a relatively disappointing $12.4 million take.

Awards-season favorites “The Fighter” and “Black Swan” expanded locations this weekend, and it showed in the numbers: The Mark Wahlberg-starring boxing drama punched out $12.2 million for fourth place while Natalie Portman’s ballet thriller danced up $8.3 million to land in seventh place.

The Box-Office Top Five

#1 [movie id=”365437″]”Tron Legacy”[/movie] ($43.6 million)
#2 [movie id=”410931″]”Yogi Bear”[/movie] ($16.7 million)
#3 [movie id=”351192″]”The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”[/movie] ($12.4 million)
#4 [movie id=”338536″]”The Fighter”[/movie] ($12.2 million)
#5 [movie id=”359487″]”The Tourist”[/movie] ($8.7 million)

Upcoming Releases

It’s Christmas time at the box office next weekend, an occasion marked by the arrival of Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro’s “Little Fockers” on Wednesday alongside the Coen brothers’ latest western, “True Grit.” The competition blows up on Saturday when Jack Black sails onto screens with “Gulliver’s Travels.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Tron Legacy,” “Yogi Bear” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.

Likes pizza, punch and pie. Dislikes the Chitauri.
@roundhoward