Occasionally you'll hear a movie branded as "criticproof," which I take to be a derisive term implying that the masses will flock even though the movie in question is garbage If there's an entire genre that may now get described as "criticproof" it's the disaster movie. No amount of bad reviews could keep people away from watching Roland Emmerich destroy the world anew in 2012, which made $65 million domestically and $225 million worldwide. The domestic numbers are comparable to The Day After Tomorrow which, among other things, ran 40 minutes shorter. The foreign numbers are even stronger. Those who've seen the movie shouldn't be surprised. Think of it what you will (it's probably my favorite Emmerich film, which is not saying a lot), but it's pretty incomparable as special effects spectacle.

2012 had the box office pretty well to itself this weekend. Its only new competition in even semi-wide release was Pirate Radio, which largely flopped despite the enthusiastic pimping of the Love Actually connection -- under $3 million on 880 screens. Faring better was Precious, which expanded to just under 200 screens and earned $6 million. With Precious and Paranormal Activity, this is proving to be a good season for slow roll-out platform releases; Precious seems to be doing a nice job of building awards buzz, too.

As expected, A Christmas Carol turned out to be durable, still running way ahead of The Polar Express, and looking to get a bump from the Thanksgiving holiday in a couple weeks. Look for this one to stick around the top 5 for a little while. On the other hand, the reign of 2012 meant big hits for the holdover genre films, including The Fourth Kind, The Box, and Paranormal Activity.

The box office chart after the jump.



1 - 2012 (Sony) - $65.00 ($19,095) - $65.00
2 - A Christmas Carol (Disney) - $22.33 ($6,062) - $63.29
3 - The Man Who Stare at Goats (Overture) - $6.20 ($2,528) - $23.38
4 - Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (Lionsgate) - $6.09 ($35,000) - $8.92
5 - Michael Jackson's This is It (Sony) - $5.10 ($1,679) - $68.21
6 - The Fourth Kind (Universal) - $4.74 ($1,875) - $20.59
7 - Couples Retreat (Universal) - $4.25 ($1,695) - $102.13
8 - Paranormal Activity (Paramount) - $4.20 ($1,549) - $103.85
9 - Law Abiding Citizen (Overture) - $3.93 ($1,899) - $67.33
10 - The Box (Warner Bros.) - $3.18 ($1,209) - $13.21
11 - Pirate Radio (Focus) - $2.86 ($3,253) - $2.86

Next week: A glimmer of hope that I can stop hearing about Twilight: New Moon at some point in the foreseeable future. Also, Michael Lewis's terrific book abused in The Blind Side, and Sony's humans-as-alien-invaders comedy Planet 51.