"A Christmas Carol (2009)" has brought holiday cheer all the way to the top of the North American box office. Opened in theaters across the country on Friday, November 6 with nearly $9 million in its pocket, the 3-D movie from Walt Disney Pictures went on to collect a total of $30.1 million over the weekend, knocking off former champion "This Is It".
Although winning over the Michael Jackson's documentary, this Robert Zemeckis' movie didn't score an opening number as big as what Disney was hoping for. It also opened below 2000's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", the previous holiday movie in which Jim Carrey also toplined and bowed to $55.1 million. Still, it scored better than "Polar Express", which had an opening weekend of $23.5 million.
Commenting on "Carol" performance at the chart, Disney's head of distribution Chuck Viane said, "You have to play these things for the long term. You've got to have the patience and you've got to pick the right weekend. For us, the days when the malls turned to Christmas stores is when we wanted to go." He added with a positive note, "Holiday movies that open early tend to get above-average multiples."
While "Carol" was spreading the holiday joy, the limited-released "Precious: Based on the Novel PUSH by Sapphire" impressed by landing 13th at the chart with approximately $1.8 million. Screened in 18 theaters in four cities, the Oprah Winfrey-produced drama set a box office record by becoming the first film ever to open in more than 10 theaters and earn an average of $100,000 per theater.
"Everyone was cautiously optimistic that the movie would attract African-Americans and also cross over to the mainstream audience, and it worked across the board," Overture distribution executive David Spitz said of the movie which is said to be a potential Oscar contender. "It really shows the power of Oprah and the power of Tyler [Perry], mixed with a fantastic movie from Lee Daniels."
Slipping to the second place was "This Is It". The movie that compiled the late King of Pop's rehearsal footage faced a 39.7% drop in ticket sales, making it to collect only around $13,2 million in its second week in theaters. Since its debut on October 28, it has brought in $57 million in North America alone and $126.5 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.
Third and fourth places went to newcomers "The Men Who Stare at Goats" and "The Fourth Kind". George Clooney-starring "Goats" hauled in an estimated $12.7 million over the weekend, while Milla Jovovich's thriller "Fourth Kind" raked in $12.2 million. Rounding up top five was "Paranormal Activity". With about $8.3 million in its pocket, it finally slipped out of the second place in its seventh week in theaters.
Top Ten Movies at Box Office for November 6 -8: