“Wreck-It Ralph,” Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s 3-D animated film about video-game characters, was the top movie in U.S. and Canadian theaters, taking in a record $49 million in sales for the studio label.
“Flight,” featuring Denzel Washington as a pilot who averts a major airline disaster, was second with $24.9 million in its debut, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement. “The Man With the Iron Fists,” with Russell Crowe, opened in fourth with $7.9 million.
“Wreck-It Ralph” is Disney’s first to finish at No. 1 since “Brave” opened in that spot in June. As of Nov. 1, the studio ranked fourth among its peers this year with $1.22 billion in domestic box-office receipts, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. Sony Corp. (6758) is No. 1 with $1.52 billion,
“Disney’s animation division has had ups and downs of late, but this film was perfectly marketed and benefited from being a brand new family film at the start of the holiday movie season,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com Box-Office.
The sales for the label, Walt Disney Animation Studios, beat the record set by “Tangled” ($48.8 million) in 2010. The parent company also owns Pixar and Marvel studios, among others.
In “Wreck-It Ralph,” John C. Reilly provides the voice of the title character, who grows weary of playing the villain in a vintage arcade video game.
Ralph seeks fame by entering newer titles. His adventures include a stint in a combat game and a sleek racing title. The film also features the voices of Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch and Jack McBrayer. The movie was made for about $165 million, according to Box Office Mojo, an industry website that forecasts $51 million in opening-weekend sales.
His status as a hero is questioned as details about his personal life emerge. The film, directed by Robert Zemeckis, also features Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly and John Goodman.
“‘Flight’ did a lot better than a lot of people thought it would, and it proves once again that Denzel Washington is still a major box office draw,” Dergarabedian said.
The martial-arts film “The Man With the Iron Fists” stars Crowe as one of several warriors battling for power and wealth in a feudal Chinese town. The film, from Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s Universal Pictures, also features Lucy Liu. Robert Diggs, also known as Rza, directed the film and also takes a key role.
Returning films rounded out the top five this past weekend.
“Argo,” about the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, fell to third from first, taking in $10.2 million for Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s Warner Bros. Ben Affleck, who directed the film, plays a CIA operative who rescues Americans stranded in the Iranian capital, Tehran.
Considered a probable Oscar nominee, the film is based on the true story of a mission by the CIA and Canadian diplomats to sneak six Americans out of Iran after the takeover of the U.S. Embassy. They do so by pretending to make a movie.
“Taken 2,” from Fox, was fifth with $5.9 million. The film is a sequel to the 2009 Liam Neeson action film.
Weekend revenue for the top 12 films rose 20 percent to $124.6 million from the year-earlier period, Hollywood.com said. Domestic film sales this year have risen 4 percent to $8.89 billion, with attendance up 2.8 percent.
“A lot of people thought that with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that it would impact theater going, but we had a stronger weekend compared to the same time last year,” Dergarabedian said. “A very strong film lineup fueled a very robust box office.”
The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales from Nov. 2 to Nov. 4.
Rev. Avg./ Pct. Total Movie (mln) Theaters Theater Chg. (mln) Wks =============================================================== 1 WRECK-IT RALPH $49.0 3,752 $13,070 -- $49.0 1 2 FLIGHT 24.9 1,884 13,217 -- 24.9 1 3 ARGO 10.2 2,774 3,680 -16 75.9 4 4 MAN WITH IRON FISTS 7.9 1,868 4,235 -- 7.9 1 5 TAKEN 2 5.9 2,639 2,243 -23 125.6 5 6 CLOUD ATLAS 5.4 2,013 2,672 -44 18.4 2 7 HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 4.4 2,922 1,509 -53 137.5 6 8 PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4.3 3,006 1,415 -50 49.5 3 9 HERE COMES THE BOOM 3.5 2,314 1,525 -32 35.5 4 10 SILENT HILL 3.3 2,993 1,098 -59 13.9 2 11 PITCH PERFECT 3.1 1,502 2,040 -22 55.6 6 12 SINISTER 2.7 1,882 1,453 -45 44.3 4 Top 12 Films Grosses This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $124.6 $103.6 +20 Year-to-date Revenue 2012 2011 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $8,886 $8,548 +4.0 Year-to-date Attendance: +2.8%
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