It took two weekends for Rapunzel to climb to the top of the box-office chart.
Disney's 3-D animated feature "Tangled" enjoyed a smaller drop than "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 1," making it the most popular movie on a very slow weekend in the nation's theaters, with estimated ticket sales of $21.5 million.
Total receipts for all films were just $88 million, the second lowest for any weekend this year, according to data compiled by Hollywood.com. Many people, it seemed, were still recovering from stuffing themselves full of turkey and movies last week.
The only new picture to open nationwide did nothing to help matters. "The Warrior's Way," an action fantasy starring Korea's Jang Dong-Gun, Kate Bosworth and Geoffrey Rush, opened to just $3.1 million. That's the worst start this year for a movie launched in more than 1,000 theaters.
The film, budgeted at $42 million, was independently financed but released by Relativity Media, which paid for marketing. The movie's poor performance calls into question whether Relativity, which handled distribution in exchange for a percentage of revenues, will even make back the money it spent on advertising.
"The Warrior's Way" marks the first picture released by Relativity on behalf of another company. The independent film firm added distribution to its financing and production capabilities in late summer.
Audiences for "The Warrior's Way" were primarily male and very ethnically diverse, according to exit polls. However, most seemed to agree that the movie about an assassin hiding in a small Western town wasn't very good. It received an average grade of C- from audiences, according to market research firm CinemaScore.
Coming off very strong word of mouth from opening-weekend audiences, "Tangled" dropped 56% in ticket sales, a relatively modest decline following a busy holiday weekend. The first hit in nearly a decade from Disney's legendary Burbank animation studio, which has been overshadowed by its more successful corporate sibling Pixar, is now just shy of $100 million in gross receipts in the U.S. after 12 days.
Overseas, "Tangled" has opened in 15 foreign markets and grossed $45.8 million.
Of last weekend's three new movies besides "Tangled," the Anne Hathaway-Jake Gyllenhaal romantic drama "Love & Other Drugs" had the best hold, with ticket sales down only 41% to $5.7 million. The Christina Aguilera-Cher musical "Burlesque" dropped 49% to $6.1 million, and the Dwayne Johnson action movie "Faster" slowed 55% to $3.8 million.
All were fairly good drops compared with typical post-Thanksgiving performances, but the three films had soft openings and still appear unlikely to turn into hits.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 1" fell 66% on its third weekend, to $16.7 million. That's a slightly worse performance than 2005's "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," the last film in the boy-wizard series to also open the weekend before Thanksgiving. "Goblet of Fire" had a smaller opening but dropped only 64% on its third weekend and collected $19.9 million. The new "Potter" film is declining faster at the domestic box office than the last three installments. It stands at a still strong $244.2 million in the U.S. and Canada.
"Deathly Hallows" remains a blockbuster overseas, bringing in $54.4 million from 62 foreign markets over the weekend. It continues to do particularly well in France, Britain, Japan and Germany and has raked in $469 million outside of the U.S. and Canada. Five of the last six "Potter" movies have grossed more than $600 million internationally, and this year's entry has a good chance to do the same.
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*--* Estimated sales in the U.S. and Canada: *--*
*--* Movie 3-day gross Percentage Total Days in (Studio) (millions) change from (millions) release last wknd 1 Tangled (Disney) $21.5 -56% $96.5 12
2 Harry Potter and $16.7 -66% $244.2 17 the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (Warner Bros.)
3 Burlesque (Sony $6.1 -49% $27 12 Screen Gems)
Unstoppable $6.1 -47% $68.9 24 (Fox/Dune/Ingenious )
5 Love & Other $5.7 -41% $22.6 12 Drugs (Fox/Regency)
6 Megamind $5 -60% $136.7 31 (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount )
7 Due Date (Warner $4.2 -41% $91 31 Bros./Legendary)
8 Faster (CBS) $3.8 -55% $18.1 12
9 The Warrior's Way $3.1 NA $3.1 3 (Relativity/Rogue)
10 The Next Three Days $2.7 -43% $18.4 17 (Lionsgate) *--*
*--* 3-day gross Change from Year-to-date Change from Change in attendance (in millions) 2009 gross(in 2009 from 2009 billions) $88 -11.5% $9.78 1.6% -3.4% *--*
*--* Sources: Times research and Hollywood.com Box Office Los Angeles Times *--*
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'Swan' on wing
Big-city audiences are packing theaters for the end-of-the-year flood of award contenders.
Just a week after "The King's Speech" posted the best limited-release opening of the year, "Black Swan" came in arguably better. Darren Aronofsky's drama about ballet took in nearly $1.4 million from 18 theaters in eight cities, according to an estimate Sunday from distributor Fox Searchlight.
Its per-theater average of $77,459 was slightly lower than that of "King's Speech," but "Black Swan," which stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, opened at more than four times as many locations.
Searchlight hopes that with mostly good reviews, "Black Swan" will ride good word of mouth toward strong returns as it expands to play nationwide. "The King's Speech," following a very similar release pattern, took in $325,874 at six theaters, boosting its 10-day total to $808,874.
The romantic comedy "I Love You Phillip Morris," starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, had a good but not great opening of $113,200 at six theaters in L.A., New York and San Francisco.