'Happy Feet,' 'Casino Royale' Top Thanksgiving

by Brandon Gray
A scene from Happy Feet
November 27, 2006

Keeping in this decade's tradition, leftovers dominated the Thanksgiving frame, unphased by a mediocre lot of new movies. Repeating at first and second, Happy Feet and Casino Royale, the closest things to event pictures in the market now, posted strong second weekends.

Overall business eased two percent from the same frame last year, when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Walk the Line remained atop the chart in their second weekends. Since 2000, Thanksgiving weekend has been topped by a holdover, as the industry has increasingly released its biggest movies earlier in November.

Happy Feet boogied to $37 million, cooling nine percent. In 10 days, Warner Bros.' musical penguins have grossed $99.3 million, or about on par with the paranoid penguins of last year's Madagascar and 23 percent better than last November's Chicken Little.

Down 25 percent, Casino Royale was as impressive as Happy Feet, holding better than James Bond's previous Thanksgiving titles, GoldenEye, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day, which each fell over 31 percent on this weekend. Casino Royale captured $30.8 million and, with $94.1 million in 10 days, has sold nine percent more tickets than GoldenEye, the last Bond reboot, through the same point.

Denzel Washington in DejaVu
The only new movie to rate higher than marginal, Deja Vu transmitted $20.6 million from 3,108 sites for a $28.6 million five-day haul, marking star Denzel Washington's seventh picture to open to over $20 million in six years. Buena Vista's techno thriller from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Tony Scott was more potent than similar pictures like The Island and Paycheck but packed less punch than Mr. Scott's previous Thanksgiving thrillers Enemy of the State and Spy Game. Potentially muting Deja Vu was a marketing campaign that emphasized pyrotechnics and the titular illusion but obfuscated the movie's time travel plot.

Deck the Halls packed a dim $12 million at 3,205 theaters for $16.9 million in five days. Toting a thin premise of neighbors dueling over Christmas lights, the family comedy didn't hold a candle to last Thanksgiving's Yours, Mine and Ours or 2004's Christmas with the Kranks, which themselves were no great shakes.

Bobby, director Emilio Estevez' period ensemble drama, drew $4.9 million at 1,667 locations and $6 million in its first four days of wide release. Despite the usual heap of recognizable actors, it couldn't overcome its diffuse subject matter.

Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz in The Fountain
Few sprang for The Fountain. Director Darren Aronofsky's sci-fi fantasy harvested $3.8 million at 1,472 sites for $5.5 million in five days, or about half the business that the similarly-themed Solaris did over Thanksgiving 2002. Like Solaris, the picture appeared stuck in the abstract fantasia niche in its marketing.

Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny delivered Jack Black's flabbiest opening yet, bagging a discordant $3.2 million at 1,919 venues for $5.2 million in five days. Rock 'n' roll movies frequently flop, and Tenacious D was comparable to Airheads.

Also floundering was For Your Consideration. The Hollywood mockumentary snared $1.9 million at 623 theaters for a $3 million tally in 10 days, which was far weaker than A Mighty Wind or Best in Show at their corresponding points.

Meanwhile, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause enjoyed the usual Thanksgiving bump of the franchise and of Christmas movies, rising 20 percent to $9.9 million. The family sequel has $67.1 million in 24 days, lagging behind its predecessors by a wide margin.

Review - Deja Vu
11/28/05 - 'Goblet' Gobbles 'Rent' Over Thanksgiving
11/28/04 - 'Kranks' Out-Rank 'Alexander' Over Thanksgiving

5-day Weekend Box Office Results
3-day Weekend Box Office Results
All Time Thanksgiving 5-day Openings
All Time Thanksgiving 3-day Weekends
Time Travel Movies
Christmas Movies

NOTE: This report was originally written on Sunday, Nov. 26 and was revised on Monday, Nov. 27 with actual grosses.

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