Nicole Sperling
December 13, 2009 AT 07:59 PM EST

Disney’s The Princess and the Frog dominated the pre-holiday weekend with a $25 million nationwide debut, pushing the frame up over the same weekend last year. The 2-D animated flick introducing the first African-American princess Tiana proved to be a big hit with audiences, earning an A from exit pollster Cinemascore. It has now grossed close to $28 million including its $2 million from 2-week limited engagement and should be one of the highest-grossing movies of the upcoming holiday season. The studio was also able to bookend the top 5 with its well-playing holdover The Christmas Carol, which fell only 11% in its sixth week to $6.8 million.

Filling in the gaps were The Blind Side, which in the number two spot fell only 23% its fourth weekend in theaters. The Sandra Bullock crowd pleaser added $15.4 million to its $150 million total. The other new wide release of the frame, Clint Eastwood’s Invictus opened to a weak $9 million. But with an A- score from exit polls, the Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman-starrer is likely to play well in the weeks to come. Place four belonged to The Twilight Saga: New Moon which grossed an additional $8 million to push its astounding total at $267 million.

The top 12 was up 8% compared to last year at this time when The Day the Earth Stood Still debuted at $30 million. And the box office is sure to cross the $10 billion mark for the year next week when the behemoth Avatar from James Cameron opens worldwide next weekend. Hollywood and box office prognosticators everywhere will be closely watching how the expensive sci-fi extravaganza performs. Stay tuned.

More movie coverage from EW:

Weekend box office chart (12/13)

OscarWatch: Boston Film Critics honor The Hurt Locker

The Movie Critics blog: Lisa Schwarzbaum and Owen Gleiberman on all things movies

Avatar, It’s Complicated, The Lovely Bones, and more EW movie reviews

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