Jim Carrey, or rather a performance-capture CGI version of the actor, delivered enough holiday spirit to snatch the top spot at the box office on Friday, according to early estimates.Disney’sA Christmas Carol, director Robert Zemeckis’ animated adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novella, grossed $9 million on its first day. By comparison, the last major family film, Where the Wild Things Are, ate up $12.1 million its opening day, but Carol should have much sturdier legs in the upcoming weeks. Carol‘s total is also slightly less than the opening gross of Zemeckis’ prior performance-capture flick, Beowulf, which slew $10 million back in 2007.

Second place went to the Milla Jovovich horror film The Fourth Kind, which abducted $5 million from moviegoers’ wallets. The Men Who Stare at Goats, the wacky war comedy starring George Clooney, earned $4.6 million — the best debut ever for a movie with “goat” in its title. Michael Jackson’s This Is It displayed some staying power, dropping a respectable 47 percent for $4.2 million. And fifth place was a tie between two horror movies: the new Cameron Diaz release The Box and the holdover phenomenon Paranormal Activity. Early figures had both films at $2.9 million.

In limited release, the Oscar-hopeful drama Precious grossed $585,000 from 18 theaters for an exceptional per-screen average of $32,500. Friday’s figures are below, and check back here on Sunday for the complete box office report.

1. A Christmas Carol — $9.0 mil

2. The Fourth Kind — $5.0 mil

3. The Men Who Stare at Goats — $4.6 mil

4. Michael Jackson’s This Is It — $4.2 mil

5. The Box — $2.9 mil

5. Paranormal Activity — $2.9 mil