In any event, it was silly of me to imply that Four Christmases didn't have the muscle to win the weekend; high-profile Christmas movies almost always do well. The $31.7 million three-day is one of the best openings ever for a movie of this kind; last year's Fred Claus, also starring Vince Vaughn, only managed $18.5 million in early November. Four Christmases even squeaked out Elf. Its five-day gross was an impressive $46.7 million.
Australia, on the other hand: oh boy. Baz Luhrmann's ultra-expensive, ultra-long epic made $20 million over the five days, which is less than inspiring -- especially considering it has now basically exited the Oscar race. Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! only ended up with around $57 million at the end of its domestic run -- but it didn't cost $130 million, either.
Transporter 3 -- the weekend's best new offering, for my money -- did okay with $12.3 million over three days and $18.5 over five. The three-day is a slight decline from what Transporter 2 did three years ago, but overall I'd put them even. This franchise continues to be profitable.
Twilight fell considerably, which isn't too surprising given the rabid-fan phenomenon that packs theaters opening weekend. Around $160 million is looking like the endgame. Meanwhile, Bolt, facing no new kid-centric competition over the weekend, held up almost miraculously well, actually gaining slightly over the three-day weekend. The folks at Disney have surely turned last weekend's frown upside down.
Slots 10 and 11 on the weekend's chart are occupied by limited releases: Milk and Slumdog Millionaire, on 36 and 49 screens, respectively. Their success bodes well for their Oscar chances.
The full five-day estimates after the jump. 1 - Four Christmases (Sony) - $46.71 ($14,112) - $46.71
2 - Twilight (Summit) - $39.52 ($11,539) - $119.69
3 - Bolt (Disney) - $36.01 ($9,855) - $66.86
4 - Quantum of Solace (Sony) - $28.13 ($8,034) - $142.06
5 - Australia (Fox) - $20.00 ($7,570) - $20.00
6 - Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Dreamworks/Paramount) - $19.60 ($5,284) - $159.51
7 - Transporter 3 (Lionsgate) - $18.50 ($7,045) - $18.50
8 - Role Models (Universal) - $7.81 ($3,557) - $57.90
9 - The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (Miramax) - $2.19 ($3,762) - $5.16
10 - Milk (Focus) - $1.87 ($51,833) - $1.87
11 - Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) - $1.79 ($36,483) - $3.57
Next weekend sees a break, with the little-marketed Punisher: War Zone the only wide release. Cadillac Records and the indie Nobel Son go semi-wide, while Milk expands a bit.