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'The Day the Earth Stood Still' invades top box office spot

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Thedayearthstood_l

Thedayearthstood_l

Jaden Smith (pictured) is getting a small taste of what it’s like to walk in dad Will’s action-blockbuster shoes. As expected, the remake of the 1951 sci-fi flick starring Keanu Reeves easily replaced Four Christmases atop the box office leader board with an opening weekend gross of $31 million, according to Sunday’s estimates. Despite mediocre reviews, the film held fairly steady throughout the weekend, falling slightly shy of our $36 million estimate.

The Vince Vaughn-Reese Witherspoon yuletide comedy came in second with $13.3 million, bringing its three-week total to just under $88 million, while Twilight faded to the third spot during its fourth week with just over $8 million. The teen vampire romance managed to reach one milestone, however, grossing a total of $150 million — the amount director Catherine Hardwicke surmised the movie would have to suck in for sequel New Moon to get the go ahead. Obviously, Summit executives saw the writing on the wall weeks ago and have hired Chris Weitz (About a Boy, American Pie) to direct next fall’s follow-up. Rounding out the top five are Disney’s doggie flick Bolt with $7.5 million and Baz Luhrmann’s underperforming Australia with $4.3 million.

The weekend’s other new major release — Nothing Like the Holidays, starring John Leguizamo and Debra Messing — got coal in its stocking with a measly $3.5 million during its first weekend.

Also of note is the Clint Eastwood-starring Gran Torino (rumored to be the actor-director’s last turn in front of the camera). Although it opened in only six theaters (three in New York, three in L.A.), the film scored the best per screen average, $47,333, with a gross of only $284,000.

More box office news:
Box Office Preview: ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ headed for solid debut
‘Four Christmases’ wins slow weekend at the box office
Four Christmases jingles all the way to the bank