The Christmas shopping gods didn’t have much patience for industry tracking that showed Sandra Bullock’s “The Blind Side” having a bigger third weekend than any of its two previous frames. This weekend is traditionally the busiest shopping weekend of the year, so perhaps Hollywood’s loss is the economy’s gain? We’ll know more on Monday, but the early evidence is that the small town phenomenon fell 58% from a week ago to gross $6.8 in what should be an $18-20 million weekend. After Friday, the surprise hit’s total gross now stands at an amazing $115.6 million.
In second place was “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” with $5.2 million with a much steeper 71% drop. You won’t hear much complaining at Summit Entertainment though, not with a running total of $245.1 million and $300 million not out of the question when all is said and done.
The first of a few new releases found the third slot with “Brothers” grossing $3.57. Considering the drama starring Natalie Portman, Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal was only in 2,088 theaters, that’s not to bad. Plus, while all the other openers are coming in under estimates, “Brothers” should hit its expected $9-11 million 3-day.
Speaking of other debuts, Screen Gems had their second dud in a row after “The Stepfather” as “Armored” couldn’t make a dent with only $2.4 million from only 1,915. Why the thriller which seemed to have commercial potential was thrown out on such a bad release date and so few screens (i.e., a “dump” in movie studio terms) is strange. Did Sony have to release it in the 2009 calendar year? Couldn’t it have made more of an impact in late January? Questions to ponder at the Culver City studio.
Miramax as we know it made it’s last gasp as Robert De Niro’s “Everybody’s Fine” opened to $1.3 million on only 2,000 screens. De Niro made his displeasure with the marketing efforts pretty much apparent to everyone, but it’s unclear much more could have helped the middling dramedy. What happens to the classy Miramax brand under the guise of new Disney Studios president Rich Ross will be something to watch for over the next 12 months.
Last, but certainly not least, Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air” scored a boffo $329,000 off 14 theaters Friday for a potent $22,000 average. The universally praised drama should get excellent word of mouth and ride the awards season publicity wave as it expands throughout December. The George Clooney dramedy is expected to be nationwide by Christmas day with numerous year-end awards, Golden Globe and SAG nominations already in its holiday stockings.
Look for complete weekend estimates tomorrow on HitFix.