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Archive for Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy Feet,’ ‘Casino Royale’ pace solid holiday weekend

November 27, 2006

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— A dancing penguin was king of the Thanksgiving birds among movie-goers.

The animated penguin romp "Happy Feet" remained the No. 1 movie with $37.9 million in ticket sales from Friday to Sunday, while the James Bond adventure "Casino Royale" stayed in second place with $31 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Over the Wednesday-to-Sunday holiday period, "Happy Feet," from Warner Bros., took in $51.5 million while Sony's "Casino Royale" did $45.1 million.

Disney's thriller "Deja Vu," starring Denzel Washington as a police officer bouncing back in time to try to prevent a deadly ferry explosion, led new movies with $20.8 million for the weekend and $29 million since opening Wednesday.

The 20th Century Fox comedy "Deck the Halls," with Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito as neighbors feuding over excessive Christmas lights, debuted at No. 4 with a $12 million weekend and $16.9 million since it premiered Wednesday.

It was a sturdy but unremarkable holiday weekend overall, with the top 12 movies taking in $208.1 million from Wednesday to Sunday, down 3.4 percent from last year, when "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" took in $81 million to lead Hollywood to its second-best Thanksgiving ever. The best Thanksgiving period was in 2000, when the top 12 films grossed $232.1 million.

While "Happy Feet" started mainly as a family film, good reviews and word-of-mouth pulled in more adults without children.

Along with ravishing computer-animated visuals, the adult appeal of "Happy Feet" includes a positive environmental statement and wall-to-wall pop tunes reinterpreted by its vocal cast, led by Elijah Wood, Nicole Kidman and Robin Williams.

With a 10-day domestic total of $94.2 million and a worldwide haul of $224 million, "Casino Royale" is on course to pass 2002's "Die Another Day ($161 million domestically and $432 million worldwide) to become the top-grossing Bond flick, said Rory Bruer, head of distribution at Sony.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.:

1. "Happy Feet," $37.9 million.

2. "Casino Royale," $31 million.

3. "Deja Vu," $20.8 million.

4. "Deck the Halls," $12 million.

5. "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," $10.4 million.

6. "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause," $10 million.

7. "Stranger Than Fiction," $6 million.

8. "Flushed Away," $5.8 million.

9. "Bobby," $4.9 million.

10. "The Fountain," $3.7 million.

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