Fox'sfamily film Night At The Museum stamped its mark on the box office in the penultimate releaseslot of the year with an estimated $43m four-day holiday season haul including $2.3m from 72 IMAX theatres thatproved far too strong for the competition.
The weekend didn't only belong to Ben Stiller and his comedy friends, however.Paramount's musical adaptation Dreamgirls, starring Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx andbreakout star Jennifer Hudson, stole a fair chunk of Museum's thunder with atriumphant $8.7m Christmas Day launch that bodes well for its commercial andawards season prospects. This was the third biggest Christmas Day launch ever behind Ali and Catch Me If You Can.
Sony's true-life drama The Pursuit Of Happyness slipped one place to second on $23.1mfor $61.4m following sterling Christmas Day business and appears to be well onthe way toward $100m after only two weekends.
Rocky Balboa, thesixth episode in Sylvester Stallone's 30-year boxing saga, opened in thirdplace through MGM on $16.4m, one place ahead of Universal's new CIA thriller TheGood Shepherd on $13.9m.Robert De Niro directed the latter, which stars Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie.
The sports drama We Are Marshall starring Matthew McConaughey opened in ninth place through WarnerBros on $8.6m. Eragonfinished in fifth place and has taken $40.1m through Fox after two, while Charlotte'sWeb ranks sixth on$28.3m through Paramount after the same amount of time.
Opening in limited release, Warner Bros' Letters From Iwo Jima, Clint Eastwood's Japanese-languagecompanion piece to his recent Flags Of Our Fathers, took $162,350. Warner Independent Picture'sThe Painted Veil tookjust under $72,000, Venus grossed $54,000 through Miramax, and Curse Of The GoldenFlower grossed a littleover $712,000 through Sony Pictures Classics.
Overall business climbed approximately 9% against the same period last year.
Estimated Top Ten North America Dec 22-25, 2006
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1 (-) Night At The Museum (Fox) Fox Int'l $43m -
2 (1) The Pursuit of Happyness (Sony) SPRI $23.1m $61.4m
3 (-) Rocky Balboa(MGM) Fox Int'l/various $16.4m -
4 (-) The Good Shepherd(Universal) UIP $13.9m -
5 (2) Eragon (Fox)Fox Int'l $9.7m $40.1m
6 (3) Charlotte's Web(Paramount) UIP $9.5m $28.3m
7 (9) The Nativity Story (New Line) NLI $8.9m $35.5m
8 (-) Dreamgirls (Paramount) Paramount $8.7m -
9 (-) We Are Marshall(Warner Bros) WBPI $8.6m -
10 (5) The Holiday (Sony)Universal/UIP $7.1m $37.2m