News

'Treasure,' 'Juno' Jumpin' in New Year

by Brandon Gray
Nicolas Cage in National Treasure: Book of Secrets
January 6, 2008

Last year ended strongly with a charge led by National Treasure: Book of Secrets, I Am Legend and Alvin and the Chipmunks, and the good times continued to roll on the first weekend of 2008. The three pictures were joined in the upper echelon by Juno, which was robust in its expansion after a bustling platform release.

Like its predecessor, the National Treasure sequel spent a third weekend atop the chart, grossing an estimated $20.2 million. With a golden $171 million in 17 days, Disney's family adventure will soon out-gross the original's $173 million tally, though it still needs to sell another $20 million plus worth of tickets before it can claim attendance superiority. I Am Legend nabbed an estimated $16.3 million, lifting its haul to a mighty $228.6 million in 24 days.

As popular as they've been, National Treasure and I Am Legend were expected to be box office toppers. Equally notable have been the successes of Alvin and the Chipmunks and Juno.

Juno jumped to 1,925 theaters and sprouted an estimated $16.2 million over the weekend. The comedy's total grew to $52 million in 33 days and its distributor, Fox Searchlight, was quick to point out how it's been exceeding their own Little Miss Sunshine. Juno's marketing has focused on the picture's teen comedy angle, recalling Superbad and Knocked Up with its tone sans the raunchy elements, and Searchlight noted that the movie has crossed over to similar demographics.

Alvin and the Chipmunks bagged an estimated $16 million for $176.7 million in 24 days and will soon beat The Simpsons Movie's final gross. It's now the highest grossing talking animal or live action cartoon adaptation on record, making more than movies like Stuart Little and Scooby-Doo.

The sole new wide release of the weekend and the first of 2008, One Missed Call, fared decently with an estimated $13.5 million at 2,240 sites. The beginning of the New Year is generally a time for holdovers from the previous year, and expectations tend to be low for any new release. While not the horror breakout of White Noise or Hostel among previous year openers, One Missed Call's start was in line with other recent Asian-sourced supernatural horrors.

Among holdovers, a quiet winner has been P.S. I Love You. The romance logged the best hold among nationwide releases, down a mere 14 percent to an estimated $8 million. With $39.4 million in 17 days, it's poised to surpass the final tallies of many comparable movies, includingMust Love Dogs and No Reservations. Aliens Vs. Predator - Requiem, on the other hand, predictably took the biggest hit, diving 58 percent to an estimated $4.3 million. The horror sequel, like many of its ilk, suffered a franchise fade. Its $36.8 million 13-day total is lower than the opening weekend of its predecessor.

While Juno drew most of the attention, Atonement earned some success in its near nationwide expansion. At 583 sites, the period drama garnered an estimated $5.1 million for $19.2 million in 31 days.

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