''Borat' on top; 'Clause 3,' 'Flushed' follow

Holdovers box out new releases except 'Stranger'

It was more of the same at the North American boxoffice this past weekend. 20th Century Fox's "Borat" held on to the top spot for the second weekend in a row, while family films "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" and "Flushed Away" were beneficiaries of the Veterans Day holiday and once again took the second and third spots, respectively.

With the exception of Sony Pictures' "Stranger Than Fiction," which bowed to a respectable $13.4 million, the new films this past weekend had quite a weak showing. "The Return," Focus Features' PG-13-rated horror film from its Rogue Pictures genre label, opened to a paltry $4.8 million while Fox's "A Good Year" didn't connect with audiences, earning an underwhelming $3.7 million.

Paramount Vantage expanded its R-rated drama "Babel" to 1,251 theaters and earned an additional $5.6 million, bringing its total three-week cume to $7.4 million.

MGM released David Ayers' "Harsh Times" to a meek $2 million. The Christian Bale starrer didn't score with critics or audiences, earning a per-theater average of $2,059.

Adding 1,729 theaters to its run, "Borat" generated an additional $28.3 million. The R-rated comedic romp has taken in $67.1 million since opening 10 days ago.

"Santa Clause" generated a strong $16.9 million in its second session, off a scant 13% since its opening. The G-rated comedy starring Tim Allen has generated $41 million in 10 days. Similarly, Paramount Pictures' release of the DreamWorks Animation film "Flushed Away" fell a slim 12% from the previous weekend, earning $16.6 million for a 10-day cume of $39.8 million.

"Stranger," the PG-13-rated film starring Will Ferrell from director Marc Forster, generated a solid per-theater average of $5,924 in 2,264 theaters. Audiences were pretty bullish on the film, according to exit pollster CinemaScore, which rated the film a B+. Men and women both came out strong for the film, which co-stars Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman. More older moviegoers attended the film, but younger audiences seemed to like it more. Most were drawn by Ferrell, even though the "Saturday Night Live" alum takes a stab at a more dramatic role than he usually plays.

The expansion of Vantage's "Babel" earned the film a B- from CinemaScore. Older moviegoers filled the theaters for this film from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, with women liking the film more than men. Lead actor Brad Pitt was a big draw for audiences as was the subject matter of three intertwining stories centering on a breakdown in communication.

While "A Good Year" didn't seem to draw many moviegoers into the theater, according to CinemaScore, the film was well-liked by those who did attend. From director Ridley Scott and star Russell Crowe, the film generated the highest score of all the new releases, with an 88% positive rating. Women were the main audience, and most of the audience went to see Crowe play a romantic lead.

In limited release, Picturehouse bowed "Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus" on four screens in New York and Los Angeles. Starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr., the film from Steven Shainberg earned $28,815 for a weak per-screen average of $7,203.

IDP bowed Roadside Attractions' "Come Early Morning" on 22 screens. The film starring Ashley Judd earned $50,160 for a per-screen average of $2,280.

MGM debuted Sidney Kimmel Entertainment's "Copying Beethoven," starring Ed Harris. That film grossed $70,460 on 26 screens for a per-screen average of $2,710.
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