Hollywood’s annual post-Thanksgiving letdown was in full force over the weekend, as audiences picked over Enchanted and assorted leftovers but pushed away the lone major new release, Awake, as if it were week-old sweet potato pie.
As expected, the No. 1 finish of Amy Adams’ fairy tale romance required no magic spell. With a $17 million gross on a 51 percent decline, Enchanted became Disney’s third release of 2007 to repeat in first place (following Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and The Game Plan), and its two-week total now stands at $70.6 mil.
Also going strong — though suffering similarly sizable drops in attendance — were This Christmas (No. 2), which earned $8.4 mil on a 53 percent decline, Beowulf (No. 3), which banked $7.9 mil after falling off by 52 percent, and Hitman (No. 5), which brought in $5.8 mil following a 56 percent drop. Don’t let these top-five finishes fool you: While at least the first two of these films are minor hits, all of the above did tumble pretty hard from their holiday-weekend highs. It’s just that moviegoers had little else to take in the multiplex.
Certainly, with a deadly CinemaScore review of C+ from the conscious masses, Awake was never going get folks to flood theaters. The R-rated Jessica Alba-Hayden Christensen thriller grossed a sleepy $6 mil at No. 4 — a total that is less than half of the $13.7 mil that Alba’s last disappointing release, Good Luck Chuck, grossed on its first weekend. Box office bankability may still be fleeting, but, well, I guess she’s got other things going for her.
Meanwhile, two limited-release indies had plenty on the plus side. The acclaimed Laura Linney-Philip Seymour Hoffman dramedy The Savages scored a strong $38,280 per-theater average in four venues. And The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Julian Schnabel’s arty biopic of paralyzed French fashion editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, brought in a nice $25,091 average in three locations.
But their success was hardly enough to prevent the anticipated overall downward slide. The total box office was off more than 8 percent from the same slow frame a year ago, and this year’s cumulative holiday-season gross is down nearly 6 percent from the Happy Feet-fueled festivities of 2006. Come to think of it, anybody got any more sweet potato pie for filmmakers to take comfort in, after all?