Monday UPDATE: Never doubt the power of CGI animation. Keeping with 2012's trend of box office domination by computerized characters, Wreck-It Ralph pummeled theater registers to the tune of $49M. While it's nowhere near a November record - not with the Twilight franchise in play - Disney is set for family domination right up 'til DreamWorks' Rise of the Guardians drops the day before Thanksgiving. Flight proved once again Denzel Washington is one of the most bankable assets in cinema as Robert Zemeckis' return to live-action film soared to a $25M opening on just 1,900 screens - AKA massive.
- Wreck-It Ralph $49M
- Flight $25M
- Argo $10M
- The Man with the Iron Fists $8M
- Taken 2 $6M
It's been a stellar year for CGI animation. Between The Lorax, Madagascar 3, Brave and Hotel Transylvania, the quartet's banked $800M and counting stateside. With Wreck-It Ralph's arrival this weekend, Disney Animation tries to keep the trend in play with a dash of 8-bit video game adoration. Using nostalgia to work the wallets of my fellow Generation X dads and moms, the Mouse House should have a very solid, if not spectacular, run with Q*bert and his joystick-controlled chums.
- Wreck-It Ralph $40M - Tough to get a read on the quarter-snatching arcade character with the recent success of Hotel Transylvania. Both films squarely targeting the family demo; did Hotel take cash out of Ralph's register? Betting yes on that, with a so-so opening in the low 40s but wouldn't be shocked to see a tally closer to $50M.
- Flight $13M - While Denzel Washington has consistently proven to be a box office force, with half the usual theaters - 1800 - booked for a traditional wide release, opening weekend's take will be tempered by limited availability. That and the fact the film becomes a melodramatic mess following the electrifying opening crash sequence.
- Argo $9M - Over $60M and counting for Ben Affleck's Oscar front-runner.
- The Man with the Iron Fists $7M - The Quentin Tarentino-backed kung fu flick is flying well below the radar. Can't see it doing much business beyond my estimate.
- Cloud Atlas $4M - Word's out, the Wachowskis' woefully-long, overly-ambitious, era-hopper isn't worth the nearly three-hour investment. Oscar hopes evaporating by the moment.