Disney’s comeback for the hand-drawn animated musical seems to have worked. The studio’s latest fairy tale, “The Princess and the Frog,” opened to $7 million on Friday for what should be a $23-25 million weekend. After two weeks in limited release, the positively reviewed family film has now grossed just under $10 million. This weekend’s numbers aren’t spectacular, but it should prove to Disney management that there is still an audience for non CG-animated films.
Holding strong in second place is Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment’s word of mouth monster “The Blind Side.” Sandra Bullock’s latest hit found another $4.7 million on Friday for what could be a $12-14 million 3-day. As of Friday, however, the melodrama already has a stunning cume of $139.5 million. What happens if the Golden Globes come calling on Tuesday?
Third place went to Clint Eastwood’s latest drama “Invictus.” Opening in only 2,125 theaters the drama did $2.9 million on Friday which has to be disappointing for Warner Bros considering the take of Eastwood’s last few wide release films with the studio. With possible Golden Globe and eventually Oscar nominations down the road, the WB is going to have to hope this one has a long play date. In hindsight, Eastwood could have helped the studio by giving them a bit more rope and time to market it.
Not far behind “Invictus” in the fourth slot was “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” After an estimated $2.4 million on Friday, the vampire epic has an incredible $261.8 million in the bank domestically.
In limited release, Jason Reitman’s Oscar contender “Up in the Air” expanded to 72 theaters for another $650,000 on Friday. Anywhere from $1.9-2.1 million is likely for the weekend.
Two new limited releases, “A Single Man” and “The Lovely Bones” also saw very strong returns on their opening days. Tom Ford’s “Man” grossed $65,000 from only 9 theaters and Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones” dug up $42,000 in just 3 theaters.
The box office only gets more crowded as “Crazy Heart” opens in limited release on Wednesday and “Avatar” and “Did You Hear About The Morgans?” hit theaters on Friday, Dec. 18.
Look for final box office weekend projections Sunday on HitFix.