2009, already a career-best year for Sandra Bullock, just got a little better for the actress and Warner Bros as The Blind Side leapfrogged New Moon to round off its third weekend as the number one release thanks to a $20.4m estimated haul.

The true-life drama has amassed $129.3m and led a strong weekend at the box office that saw total receipts of $101m gain 23% on the same weekend last year, maintaining a potential record pace that is widely predicted to cross $10bn for the first time.

The record remains $9.68bn from 2007, however the current tally of roughly $9.66bn should have no trouble cruising past $10bn bearing in the line-up over the next three weeks.

Avatar, Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakuel, Did You Hear About The Morgans, Sherlock Holmes and It’s Complicated is a mighty line-up, and it bears noting that at least one of Nine, The Lovely Bones and Invictus could deliver significant commercial success, too.

Furthermore Jason Reitman’s drama Up In The Air, the drama that stars George Clooney and opened in 13th place this weekend on $1.2m from 15 theatres, expands wide on December 25.

Returning to the weekend, Summit’s New Moon had to make do with second place as it added $15.7m for a magnificent $255.6m tally after three weekends. Lionsgate’s largely well received dramatic remake Brothers with Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman and Tobey Maguire opened in third place on $9.7m.

Screen Gems’ heist thriller Armored (pictured) directed by Nimrod Antal and starring Matt Dillon launched in sixth place on $6.6m, tying with Sony’ 2012, which has taken $148.8m after four weekends. Miramax’s road movie Everybody’s Fine starring Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore and Kate Beckinsale anchored the top ten, launching on a little over $4m.

Next weekend a raft of heavyweight awards contenders enters the fray. Warner Bros releases the Nelson Mandela drama Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Up In The Air expands and there are limited releases for Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones with Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci, and A Single Man starring Venice Coppa Volpi winner Colin Firth.

Estimated Top 10 North America December  4-6 2009
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (2) The Blind Side (Warner Bros) WBPI $20.4m $129.3m

2 (1) The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Summit Entertainment) Summit Int’l $15.7m $255.6m

3 (-) Brothers (Lionsgate) Mandate Int’l $9.7m –

4 (5) A Christmas Carol (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $7.5m $115m

5 (4) Old Dogs (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $6.9m $33.9m

=6 (3) 2012 (Sony) SPRI $6.6m $148.8m

=6 (-) Armored (Screen Gems) SPRI $6.6m –

8 (6) Ninja Assassin (Warner Bros) WBPI $5m $29.8m

9 (7) Planet 51(Sony) SPRI $4.3m $33.9m

10 (-) Everybody’s Fine (Miramax) WDSMPI $4m –