The Box Office Top Five
#1 "Yes Man" ($18.2 million)
#2 "Seven Pounds" ($16 million)
#3 "The Tale of Despereaux" ($10.5 million)
#4 "The Day the Earth Stood Still" ($10.2 million)
#5 "Four Christmases" ($7.75 million)
Hollywood studios are blaming icy weather and snowstorms in both the Northeast and Northwest regions of the country for this weekend's sluggish numbers. With $18.2 million in its debut weekend, Jim Carrey's "Yes Man" beat out Will Smith's "Seven Pounds" (which brought in $16 million) for the top position, but Smith's drama had a better per-screen average ($5,801 from only 2,758 screens). Both films were expected to have earned at least $5 million more, and it was Smith's lowest opening since "Ali" in 2001.
Studios are watching to see what happens with both films once the weather clears, but early reports suggest that the numbers have more to do with the films lacking a wide appeal. Lending some strength to that theory is the strong numbers that the holiday holdovers continue to do. While "The Day the Earth Stood Still" dropped a predictable 67 percent, "Four Christmases" continues to celebrate the season, bringing in $7.75 million and crossing the $100 million mark on its 26th day in theaters. "Twilight" also holds steady, dropping off the top five but bringing in $5.2 million (for a total of $158.5 million in 31 days). The weekend's other big new release, "The Tale of Despereaux," offered some solid, family-friendly counterprogramming to come in at #3 with $10.2 million.
The biggest surprise on the top 10 is "Slumdog Millionaire," which knocked Sean Penn's "Milk" out of the #8 spot. Danny Boyle's critically lauded pic expanded to 589 theaters, bringing in $5,348 per screen for a grand total of $3.2 million.
In fact, it's the specialty films that are proving to be the winners this Christmas. "Milk" dropped to #11, but crossed the $10 million mark, bringing in $1.6 million from only 356 theaters. "The Wrestler" opened on only four screens last Wednesday, but brought in $209,000. With slightly expanded releases, "Gran Torino" ($468,000 from 19 screens) and "Doubt"($729,000 from 39 screens) kept up their flashy numbers and buzz, though that doesn't necessarily mean they are guaranteed to make a splash in a wider release. "Frost/Nixon" has actually dropped its numbers as it expanded from three theaters to 41, bringing in less than $9,000 per venue.
"The Spirit," Adam Sandler's "Bedtime Stories," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Valkyrie" and "Marley and Me" are all posed to bring you Christmas cheer — or, you know, World War II — come December 25.
Check out everything we've got on "Yes Man" and "Seven Pounds."
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