Box-Office Top Five
Disney's return to hand-drawn animation proved a royal success as "The Princess and the Frog," the House of Mouse's latest feature-length cartoon, easily won first place at this weekend's box office.
"The Princess and the Frog" earned $25 million in its first weekend in wide release, combining with two earlier weeks of limited-run engagements for a cumulative domestic take of $27.9 million. The film — which features the vocal talents of Terrence Howard, John Goodman and Oprah Winfrey, among others — cost Disney $105 million to produce, so the less-than-$30-million total isn't quite as lucrative as the studio may have hoped for.
Still, Disney movies typically perform better overseas, and "Frog" has yet to experience a wide release in international territories. So, there's still plenty of time for Disney to earn its investment back and then some.
Sandra Bullock's "The Blind Side," now in its fourth week in theaters, snatched the weekend's silver medal with a healthy $15.5 million total. The football drama has been neck and neck with "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" since their simultaneous release, and while the supernatural romance franchise reigned supreme in its first few weeks with record-breaking success, "The Blind Side" has proven itself to have the longer lifespan of the two movies.
But even though "New Moon" was only able to accrue an $8 million fourth-place finish in the domestic box office this weekend, the "Twilight" sequel continued to enjoy worldwide success as the first-place finisher in international markets for the fourth straight weekend.
The weekend's only pure newcomer was "Invictus," director Clint Eastwood's latest feature film. Despite the combined star power of actors Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, "Invictus" was able to yield only $9.1 million in its opening weekend, which is a significant distance away from the movie's $60 million production budget.
The 3-D "A Christmas Carol," starring Jim Carrey, rounded out the box office's top five performers with a fifth-place finish worth $6.9 million.
The king of the world is back as "Titanic" director James Cameron makes his long-awaited theatrical return with "Avatar," the science-fiction epic touted by many as a game-changer for 3-D filmmaking. Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant will do their best to compete in the romantic comedy "Did You Hear About the Morgans?," while Fox Searchlight and the Weinstein Company will release their respective films "Crazy Heart" and "Nine" in limited engagements.