Debuting under expectations was not what Walt Disney Studios envisioned for its latest corporate franchise. After a very good set of Midnight showings and a solid $18 million Friday, “Tron Legacy” took a significant dip on Saturday and grossed only $43.6 million for the entire weekend. That’s below industry tracking which predicted a slightly higher $47-50 million. In fact, based on early Friday numbers, some rival studios thought it could go as high as $55-60 million. Instead, it appears a large fanbase showed up for “Legacy” on Friday, but Saturday’s lower $14.9 million indicated no family bounce or broader audience than the core fanboys and girls. Now, the Sci-Fi action flick will have to hope it becomes a significant player over the holiday frame for moviegoers looking for an alternative to “Little Fockers” or “Gulliver’s Travels.” As for breaking even, the studio will be looking to International markets to deliver that piece of the program.
Also disappointing in second place was the debut of “Yogi Bear.” The family 3-D flick had a significant bounce from Friday to Saturday, but not enough to crack the anticipated $20 million mark. Instead, the Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake-voiced live action/CG animated concoction found just $16.7 million. Was snow and rainy weatheer throughout the country to blame? We’ll find out when things clear up around Christmas.
Dropping to third was “The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader” with $12.4 million. In 10 days the 20th Century Fox/Walden Media flick has made just $42.7 million and like “Legacy” will be hoping for more lucrative sailing overseas.
On a happier note, impressing in fourth place was Paramount Pictures and Relativity Media’s “The Fighter.” After receiving a slew of Golden Globe and SAG Awards nominations earlier last week, the inspirational boxing drama expanded to 2,505 theaters and grossed a very solid $12.2 million in the process. The film which features Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo should continue to play well throughout the holiday season and through the Academy Awards in February.
Fifth place went to Disney’s “Tangled,” a much happier story it appears than “Legacy” for the Mouse House. The 3-D animated fairy tale combed another $8.6 million from moviegoers for a new overall gross of $129.7 million.
Other notable films in the top 10 included Fox Searchlight’s “Black Swan” which hit the seventh slot with $8.3 million in just 959 theaters. It’s no stretch to now call the acclaimed Darren Aronofsky thriller a sensation as its found $15.7 million in only semi-wide release. It will be curious to see if Searchlight looks for more theaters before New Years or waits to expand around the Golden Globes on Jan. 16.
Bombing with just $7.5 million was James L. Brooks’ latest “How Do You Know.” As much as Sony Pictures will want to blame Brooks for the negatively reviewed and $125 million budgeted dramedy, the studio couldn’t seem to get their hands around an inspiring campaign for a film with Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson and Jack Nicholson in the fold either.
As the holidays approach, a number of films will debut on Wednesday including the Coen bros.’ “True Grit” and “Little Fockers.”
Official box office results are released on Monday.