Weekend Recap: “Princess” reigns, but doesn’t make it rain


I’m sure Disney is thrilled to add “No. 1 movie in America” to its ads for The Princess and the Frog. But $25 million? Are we talking royal princess or wealthy daddy’s little princess? The unfortunate truth is that ticket sales of that number for a film costing $100 million or so to make won’t exactly encourage Disney to give hand-drawn too many more go-arounds.

The good news is that “Frog” has yet to open up overseas, so the film has awhile to go before its true box office number are anywhere near complete. The bad news is that Avatar opens up next week, so “Frog’s” limelight will be short-lived.

  1. The Princess and the Frog – $24.2 M (weekend) … $27.1 M (gross)
  2. The Blind Side – $15 M … $149.8 M
  3. Invictus – $8.6 M … $8.6 M
  4. The Twilight Saga: New Moon – $7.9 M … $267.3 M
  5. A Christmas Carol – $6.8 M … $124.4 M
  6. Brothers – $5 M … $17.4 M
  7. Old Dogs – $4.4 M … $40 M
  8. 2012 – $5.3 M … $155.3 M
  9. Armored – $3.5 M … $11.7 M
  10. Ninja Assassin – $2.7 M … $34.3 M

I estimated $40 million for “Frog,” considering that at the turn of the century, before traditional Disney animation trickled into nothingness, films such as “Mulan” and “Tarzan” made a cool $35 million. Factor in ten years of inflation and the number seemed right, but it looks like either kids weren’t clamoring to go see this one or their parents told them not until winter break, which starts this coming weekend, when an afternoon at the movies helps keep kids from driving their parents crazy at home. Disney normally released these films in its summer slot, when this wasn’t an issue.

With winter break starting next week and no other kids movies coming out this winter except Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel on Christmas Day, I don’t expect a huge drop-off next weekend and possibly even an increase. Just nothing near what Avatar will likely do.

The rest of the box office pretty much slid down except for the resilient “Blind Side” which barely dropped off from last weekend. A Christmas Carol also refused to ba-humbug-off, knocking Brothers out of the Top 10. Overall, a disappointing weekend as the box office was down again from last week, though by a mere 4.5 percent. Invictus, the Oscar-buzz film starring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, also took in a modest $8.6 million.

There were also a lot of limited releases this week of Oscar hopefuls. Up in the Air, in its second week of limited release, looks poised to splash into the Top 10 next week although it doesn’t come out en masse until Christmas day.


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