‘Narnia’ Sequel Leads Box Office With $24 Million

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” the third film based on the C.S. Lewis books, opened as the top weekend movie at U.S. and Canadian theaters, with $24 million in sales for News Corp.

“The Tourist,” a thriller starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, finished second in its debut weekend with $16.5 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e- mailed statement.

The Thanksgiving-to-New Year’s period is the second-most lucrative for studios after summer, accounting for about 20 percent of annual sales in the U.S. and Canada, according to Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollwood.com’s box-office service. Sales in 2010 may fall below 2009’s record $10.6 billion, unless films such as Walt Disney Co.’s “Tron: Legacy” and Time Warner Inc.’s “Yogi Bear,” both scheduled for Dec. 17 release, draw big audiences.

“There’s a lot of pressure on ‘Tron’ and ‘Yogi Bear’ to really deliver to perform with past holiday seasons,” Dergarabedian said in a telephone interview yesterday.

In “Dawn Treader,” the Pevensie children continue their adventures in Narnia, a land of minotaurs and satyrs and other magical creatures. They reunite with the lion Aslan to protect Narnia from new threats. The film stars Georgie Henley as Lucie Pevensie and Ben Barnes as King Caspian. Simon Pegg voices the warrior mouse Reepicheep.

$1.17 Billion

The first two “Narnia” films performed better on opening weekend, Dergarabedian said. “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” opened with $65.6 million on its first weekend in 2005, while “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” opened with $55 million in 2008.

The two films generated $1.17 billion in worldwide ticket sales for Disney, according to researcher Box Office Mojo. Producer Walden Media moved the franchise to News Corp.’s Fox after the second, “Prince Caspian,” took in $420 million globally, down from $745 million in sales for “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

“The Tourist,” from Sony Pictures Entertainment, features Depp as a vacationing math teacher who becomes embroiled in a Scotland Yard investigation after meeting a mysterious woman, played by Jolie. Paul Bettany and Timothy Dalton co-star.

‘Tangled’

Among returning films, Disney’s “Tangled” dropped to third from first with $14.3 million. The computer-animated film tells the story of Rapunzel, a girl whose magical hair is 70 feet long. Locked away in a tower, she is freed by a charming bandit. Mandy Moore provides the voice of Rapunzel and Zachary Levi plays the bandit Flynn Rider.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1,” the seventh film in the series based on J.K. Rowling’s books, was fourth with $8.5 million. The movie has taken in $257.7 million in domestic ticket sales for Warner Bros., according to Hollywood.com.

“Unstoppable,” an action film starring Denzel Washington, came in fifth place with $3.71 million in sales in its fifth week. In the News Corp. film, Washington plays a veteran railroad engineer and Chris Pine portrays an inexperienced conductor attempting to stop a runaway train.

‘Black Swan’

Among films in limited release, the thriller “Black Swan,” featuring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as rival ballerinas, generated sales of $3.31 million for News Corp.’s Fox Searchlight for sixth place. It averaged $36,726 per screen in 90 theaters, compared with $6,752 in 3,555 theaters for “Narnia.”

Sales for the weekend’s top 12 films fell 3.4 percent to $84.3 million from a year earlier, according to Hollywood.com. This year’s domestic box-office sales total $9.9 billion, up 1.5 percent from a year earlier. Attendance is down 3.5 percent.

The amounts below are based on gross ticket sales from Dec. 10 to Dec. 12.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
================================================================
 1 CHRONICLES OF NARNIA 24.0   3,555   6,752    --     24.0    1
 2 THE TOURIST          16.5   2,756   5,977    --     16.5    1
 3 TANGLED              14.3   3,565   4,020   -34    115.4    3
 4 HARRY POTTER          8.5   3,577   2,372   -50    257.7    4
 5 UNSTOPPABLE           3.7   2,967   1,249   -38     74.2    5
 6 BLACK SWAN            3.3      90  36,726   129      5.6    2
 7 BURLESQUE             3.2   2,876   1,101   -48     32.5    3
 8 LOVE & OTHER DRUGS    3.0   2,240   1,331   -47     27.6    3
 9 DUE DATE              2.6   1,990   1,297   -38     94.9    6
10 MEGAMIND              2.5   2,425   1,042   -49    140.2    6
11 FASTER                1.7   2,106     822   -56     21.3    3
12 THE NEXT THREE DAYS   1.0   1,426     719   -60     20.3    4


Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
     $84.3         $87.3       -3.4


Year-to-date Revenue

     2010          2009
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $9,900        $9,752      +1.5


Year-to-date Attendance:     -3.5%

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net; John Gittelsohn in New York at johngitt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.