New Year, Same Box Office Story

The Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Be sure to check back on Monday for final figures based on actual box office.

It’s only one week into the New Year, but you wouldn’t know it by the weekend box office, which looked a lot like the last two weeks, at least up to a point. Ben Stiller’s hit family comedy Night at the Museum continued to roll over all competition, adding another estimated $24 million in its 3rd weekend at #1. In three weeks, it’s grossed $164.1 million, and by next week, it should pass There’s Something About Mary and Meet the Parents to become Stiller’s third highest-grossing.

As if Will Smith needed another box office hit, the real-life drama The Pursuit of Happyness continued to do decent business, earning another estimated $13 million over the weekend to bring its gross to $124.2 million. It is Smith’s sixth consecutive film to gross more than $100 million.

The good news is that two favorably reviewed films brought in enough business this weekend to break up the Top 5 from last week, despite being in less than 1,500 theatres each. Universal Pictures expanded Alfonso Cuarón’s future shock thriller Children of Men into 1,209 theatres, where the Clive Owen headlined film grossed $10.3 million, an impressive average of $8,515. Likewise, Paramount and MTV Films’ Freedom Writers, starring Hilary Swank, grossed $9.7 million in 1,360 theatres to take 4th place with an average of $7,136 per theatre. The latter is expected to expand into over 2,000 theatres on Friday, and one can expect the former to do so as well.

The Paramount/DreamWorks musical Dreamgirls dropped down to 5th place with $8.8 million, off 37% from its first full weekend in wide release. It has grossed $54.5 million so far with plans to add nearly 1,000 more theatres for the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.

Opening in twice as many theatres as Freedom Writers, Lionsgate’s first computer-animated family film Happily N’Ever After wound up in sixth place with $6.8 million with a weak average of $2,856.

Dropping to seventh place, Paramount/Nickelodeon Films’ Charlotte’s Web earned $6.6 million in its fourth weekend, bringing its total to $67 million, while Bob De Niro’s CIA drama The Good Shepherd, starring Matt Damon, followed close behind with $6.5 million. It has grossed $48 million after three weekends.

Sylvester Stallone’s return as Rocky Balboa and Warner Bros.’ We Are Marshall rounded out the Top 10 with $6.3 and 5.1 million, respectively. The latest installment of the long-running Stallone franchise reached $60 million with this weekend’s take, while the football drama has grossed just over $35 million.

Dropping four places to #11, Fox’s fantasy epic Eragon added another $4.6 million to its box office take of $66.8 million.

Cedric the Entertainer and Lucy Liu teamed for New Line’s action comedy Code Name: The Cleaner, opening at #12 with just $4.3 million in 1,736 theatres.

The German box office sensation Perfume – The Story of a Murderer expanded into 280 theatres after a short platform run in New York and Los Angeles, but it only made $550 thousand over the weekend, an average of $1,967, showing that it won’t be replicating its success in Europe here.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.