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`Tron: Legacy' Opens Atop Box Office With $43.6 Million in Ticket Sales

“Tron: Legacy,” a sequel to the 1982 Walt Disney Co. release about a man trapped in a video game, opened as the top-grossing weekend movie, with $44 million in ticket sales at U.S. and Canadian theaters.

“Yogi Bear,” based on the TV cartoon character, opened second with $16.4 million for Warner Bros., researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement. “The Fighter,” expanding to 2,503 theaters from four, took in $12.1 million to open in fourth.

Ticket sales fell for a sixth straight weekend, making it less likely Hollywood will exceed last year’s record $10.6 billion in the U.S. and Canada. This year’s holiday films are up against a 2009 slate that included “Avatar,” the top-grossing film of all time, and “The Blind Side,” a surprise hit that generated $256 million in domestic sales, according to researcher Box Office Mojo.

“We might actually barely exceed the $10.6 (billion), but it’s built on the back of higher ticket prices,” Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com’s box-office unit, said in an interview. “It will be a shallow victory.”

“Tron: Legacy” continues the story of programmer Kevin Flynn, who has been trapped in a video game for 20 years. In the new film, Flynn’s son Sam is transported into the digital world while investigating his father’s disappearance. Jeff Bridges reprises his role as Flynn. Michael Sheen and Bruce Boxleitner co-star.

‘The Fighter’

In “Yogi Bear,” a greedy politician decides to close Jellystone Park and sell the land. Yogi and his friend, Boo Boo, join forces with a park ranger to save their home. Dan Aykroyd provides the voice of Yogi. Justin Timberlake plays Boo Boo.

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” the third film based on the C.S. Lewis books, fell to third place from first with $12.4 million.

“The Fighter,” distributed by Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, stars Mark Wahlberg as Irish-American boxer Micky Ward. Christian Bale co-stars as Ward’s half-brother and trainer, Dicky Eklund. The film was nominated for six Golden Globe awards, including best film drama and best actor in a drama for Wahlberg.

Disney’s “Tangled” dropped to fifth from third with $8.8 million, while the thriller “Black Swan,” took in $8.4 million for seventh place. The film, which features Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as rival ballerinas, expanded to 959 theaters from 18. It’s been nominated for four Golden Globe awards.

‘The Tourist’

“The Tourist,” a thriller starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, was sixth with $8.5 million. The movie, from Sony Pictures, features Depp as a math teacher who becomes embroiled in a Scotland Yard investigation after meeting a mysterious woman, played by Jolie.

Sales for the weekend’s top 12 films fell 1.7 percent to $127.7 million from a year earlier, according to Hollywood.com. This year’s domestic box-office sales total $10.1 billion, up 1.2 percent from a year earlier. Attendance is down 3.8 percent.

Films opening in the coming week include Paramount’s “True Grit,” “Little Fockers” from Universal Pictures and Sony’s “Country Strong.”

“‘Little Fockers’ could be the leader, given the strength of the earlier films,” Dergarabedian said of the third in the series starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro.

The amounts below are based on gross ticket sales from Dec. 17 to Dec. 19.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
================================================================
1 TRON: LEGACY (3-D)   44.0   3,451   12,758    --     44.0    1
2 YOGI BEAR (3-D       16.4   3,515    4,669    --     16.4    1
3 CHRONICLES OF NARNIA 12.4   3,555    3,485   -48     42.8    2
4 THE FIGHTER          12.1   2,503    4,848  3,945    12.6    2
5 TANGLED (3-D)         8.8   3,201    2,741   -39    127.9    4
6 THE TOURIST           8.5   2,756    3,092   -48     30.6    2
7 BLACK SWAN            8.4     959    8,742   154     15.8    3
8 HOW DO YOU KNOW       7.5   2,483    3,014    --      7.5    1
9 HARRY POTTER          5.0   2,860    1,756   -41    265.7    5
10 UNSTOPPABLE          1.8   1,874      984   -50     77.4    6
11 BURLESQUE            1.4   1,510      944   -55     35.5    4
12 DUE DATE             1.3   1,157    1,091    -51    97.3    7

Top 12 Films Grosses
   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $127.7        $129.8       -1.7

Year-to-date Revenue
     2010          2009
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
   $10,066        $9,942       +1.2

Year-to-date Attendance:      -3.8%

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net: David Glovin in New York at dglovin@bloomberg.net;

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

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