A series of unfortunate events seemed to befall the box office this weekend, with receipts down 22 percent from the same pre-Christmas weekend last year. Kiddie-goth movie Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events opened atop the box office chart, earning an estimated $30.2 million, a modest number given industry expectations for the Jim Carrey film and the built-in family audience from the popular Snicket book series.
Still, Snicket was easily the top ticket, dethroning last week's champ Ocean's Twelve, which dropped by more than 50 percent and earned another $18.3 million in its second weekend. (It's earned $69 million to date, compared to $72 million for Ocean's Eleven three years ago at the same point in its run.) Opening at No. 3 was Spanglish, with the Adam Sandler prestige vehicle taking in just $9 million. The Polar Express proved it's still on track by holding in fourth place for the third straight week and earning another $8.6 million. (It's earned a total of $123.6 million to date.) Dropping three spots to No. 5 was Blade: Trinity, which saw a second-week dropoff of 59 percent, to $6.6 million. The weekend's other wide release, Flight of the Phoenix, barely took off, opening at No. 8 with just $5.1 million.