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''Enchanted'' tops turkey weekend

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Patrick Dempsey, , ...
Barry Wetcher

The animated/live-action fairy tale hybrid Enchanted charmed audiences during the Thanksgiving weekend, leading a pack of popular movies — including the surprise smash This Christmas and the action thriller Hitman — to big grosses over the five-day holiday span.

According to early estimates, Disney’s Amy Adams-Patrick Dempsey romance grossed $50 million from Wednesday through Sunday. That No. 1 finish is the second-best Thanksgiving opening ever, following Toy Story 2‘s $80.1 mil five-day bow in 1999, and it is the first time this century that a new release, rather than a holdover, won the turkey time box office race. With critics and audiences (which skewed younger and female and gave the film a nice A- CinemaScore grade) swooning, Enchanted should play well through the rest of the year.

Coming in a strong No. 2 was the domestic dramedy This Christmas, which far exceeded expectations in opening up a $27.1 mil gift. The film, geared toward an African-American crowd, racked up a solid-A CinemaScore mark from an audience that was two-thirds female but equally divided between older and younger folks. This Christmas did so well that its per-theater average of $14,586 was actually better that of Enchanted ($13,418). It also trumped last weekend’s behemoth holdover Beowulf (No. 3), which added $23.3 mil to its two-week tally and continued to draw big crowds on regular, 3-D, and IMAX screens alike.

Hitman (No. 4) came next, banking a very good $21 mil from an audience that, as you’d expect, skewed heavily toward the XY set. And Bee Movie rounded out the top five with a $16 mil take that boosted its four-week sum past the century mark to $112.1 mil.

Elsewhere, well, a few turkeys had less to give thanks for. Despite garnering the weekend’s other A grade in the CinemaScore poll, August Rush (No. 7) brought in a slightly-better-than-anticipated (but nevertheless disappointing) $13.3 mil. That was one step ahead of The Mist (No. 8), which grossed a weak $13 mil and drew a bad CinemaScore mark of C. And in art houses, Todd Haynes’ celebrated Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There averaged a poor $5,823 from Friday to Sunday.

Still, stuffed by a tasty platter of leftovers, like Fred Claus (No. 6 with $15.1 mil), American Gangster (No. 9 with $12.7 mil), and No Country for Old Men (which expanded into 860 venues and landed at No. 10 with $11 mil), the weekend was up more than 2 percent from the same frame a year ago. Yep, even at the box office, leftovers taste good!

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