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‘Wreck-It Ralph’ Destroys the Box Office, ‘Flight’ Takes Off

Giving Disney Animation it’s biggest ever opening weekend outside of Pixar, Wreck-It Ralph shot to the number one spot in spite of challenges posed by Hurricane Sandy with a $49-million debut. 

Ralph beat out the former Disney champ Tangled by a few hundred thousand and broke the top 20 all time for computer-animated openings. Great word of mouth not just from kids and no competition until Rise of the Guardians until Nov. 21 should mean great things for the acclaimed film.

Actually managing to beat the per-theater average of Ralph despite landing in about half as many locations – 1,884 vs. 3,752 – Denzel Washington’s Flight surprised with $24.9 million and a strong second-place finish. 

If the buzz-worthy drama had opened in the normal Denzel theater count, Flight would have easily crashed through the $30-million mark. If Paramount opts to expand, a gross north of $100 million would seem likely especially considering the strong audience approval and older-skewing crowds. 

In third, Argo continued to showcase incredible staying power, dipping by only 15 percent in week number four. It has now grossed $75.8 million. This hold is even more impressive considering the direct competition from Flight. Joining the century club is all but a guarantee at this point.

 

The Top 10 

1. Wreck-It Ralph – $49.0M (weekend)…$49.0M (gross)
2. Flight – $24.9M…$24.9M
3. Argo – $10.2M…$75.8M
4. The Man with the Iron Fists – $7.9M…$7.9M
5. Taken 2 – $5.9M…$125.5M
6. Cloud Atlas – $5.4M…$18.4M
7. Hotel Transylvania – $4.4M…$137.8M
8. Paranormal Activity 4 – $4.2M…$49.5M
9. Here Comes the Boom – $3.5M…$35.5M
10. Silent Hill: revelation 3D – $3.3M…$13.8M

 

Holding some of its punches in fourth was bloody martial arts mash-up The Man with the Iron Fists, which scrounged up a decent $7.9 million. Considering the first-time director, niche audience and ample competition, this start isn’t half bad, but don’t expect any kind of staying power. 

The biggest story of the weekend actually comes from overseas, where Skyfall continues to obliterate international records and added a huge $156 million for an early global gross of $287 million. In the UK, the James Bond flick dipped by only a quarter and is in good position to be the highest-grossing movie ever across the pond (Avatar currently holds that honor). 

Primed for a huge opening in North America as well, Skyfall is the sole wide release next weekend and will land in 3,400 theaters. It’s no surprise that rival studies had no interest in challenging what will be one of the year’s biggest success stories. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln does debut in 11 theaters though, so if Bond isn’t your thing and you’re lucky enough to reside near one of those locations, you can judge for yourself is the early awards buzz is justified.

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