Talk about déjà vu, the Thanksgiving-weekend box office results bore an eerie similarity to those of the frame before. Happy Feet once again edged out Casino Royale to finish at No. 1 in a five-day span stuffed with bread crumbs, cranberries, and movie milestones. Those dancing animals earned $51.6 mil, according to Sunday?s estimates. Their two-week cumulative gross is $100.1 mil. Meanwhile, James Bond remained unshaken at No. 2, earning $45.1 mil. Casino Royale’s 10-day total is $94.2 mil, meaning that, in non-adjusted dollars, the Daniel Craig film already ranks as the fifth-highest-grossing 007 movie ever, following my man Pierce Brosnan?s four flicks.
But talk about déjà vu, the Thanksgiving-weekend box office results bore an eerie similarity ? gotcha! I jest in honor of the weekend?s strong third-place finisher Déjà Vu, which brought in $29 mil from an audience that, according to CinemaScore, was evenly divided between men and women — no surprise considering the movie is being classified somewhat oxymoronically as a thriller/romance. Or something like that. Despite some critical gripes that the techy Denzel Washington/Tony Scott/Jerry Bruckheimer affair makes no sense, audiences gave it a strong A- review. Add to that the increasingly consistent drawing power of its lead star Déjà Vu, is Washington’s fourth consecutive release to open north of $20 mil) and the fact that there are few movies like it on the schedule for the rest of the year, and you can expect it to sprout long legs at the box office.
The same cannot be said for the yuletide comedy Deck the Halls (No. 4), which found a small lump of coal (that is, $16.9 mil) in its stocking. To be sure, audiences weren’t in a very giving mood: The Matthew Broderick film garnered a poor $3,744 per-theater average and a lousy B- CinemaScore. Still, it beat out a handful of other new and wide releases. The historical drama Bobby (No. 9) expanded to earn a so-so $6.1 mil. The artsy The Fountain and the stoner saga Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny inhaled dueling deadly CinemaScores and $5.4 mil each. And Fox Searchlight’s theatah adaptation The History Boys averaged a decent $14,389 in seven venues.
On the other hand, Christmas came early for Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, which dropped just 29 percent to finish at No. 5 with $15.4 mil. The kooky Kazakh’s four-week total now stands at $109.3 mil and his strong returns underscore the weekend’s other big winner of sorts: the century mark. During the past few days, Borat became the year’s second R-rated movie to break $100 mil, following The Departed ($116.9 mil and counting); Happy Feet joined Cars, Ice Age: The Meltdown, and Over the Hedge on 2006?s list of CG flicks that have made more than nine figures; Borat and Happy Feet became the year?s 14th and 15th films to pass the milestone; and, later this week, Casino Royale will make it 16. All of this is notable because, not long ago, it looked doubtful that 2006 would be able to match 2005?s total of 19 $100 mil earners.
Indeed, reports turkey Paul at Exhibitor Relations, things are looking good going into the year’s final month. Overall box office receipts are up 5.5 percent compared to the same time last year (movies have grossed $8.4 billion so far in 2006 versus $8 billion at this point in 2005), attendance is up nearly four percent, and, with $228 mil in ticket sales, this holiday weekend was on par with last Thanksgiving. Talk about déjà vu ?