Box Office Report: 'Wreck-It Ralph' No. 1 With $13.5 Mil Friday; 'Flight' Takes Off With $8.2 Mil

8:45 AM PST 11/03/2012 by Pamela McClintock

Moviegoing surges in the Northeast as people look for a distraction from Superstorm Sandy; most movie theaters now reopened.

Disney Animation Studios' Wreck-It Ralph rushed to the top of the box office chart on Friday with an opening day gross of $13.4 million.

The 3D animated toon, nabbing an A CinemaScore, will easily win the weekend with a gross in the $45 million to $50 million range. The family film, costing $165 million to produce, over performed Friday on the East Coast, where kids in New York, New Jersey and Long Island were out of school because of superstorm Sandy.

Directed by Rich Moore, Wreck-It Ralph tells the story of an arcade game villain -- voiced by John C. Reilly -- who is sick of playing the bad guy and begins game jumping, which is forbidden. The voice cast also includes Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch.

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The aftermath of the historic storm isn't hurting the box office; if anything, it appears that people in affected areas are looking for a distraction.

Robert Zemeckis drama Flight, starring Denzel Washington, opened to No. 2 on Friday, grossing a better-than-expected $8.2 million for a $23 million weekend. The film did best in the Southeast and West.

From Paramount, Flight is only opening on 1,800 screens (Wreck-It Ralph is playing in 2,752) in a bid to build word-of-mouth and foster a long run throughout awards season. Paramount took a similar approach with The Fighter, which opened to $12.1 million from 2,500 theaters. In October, Warner Bros.' Argo debuted to $19 million from 3,232 theaters.

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Flight, costing $31 million to produce, is Zemeckis' first live-action film since Cast Away more than a decade ago. It drew an A- CinemaScore, with nearly 90 percent of the audience over the age of 25.

The weekend's third new film, low-budget kung fu pic The Man With the Iron Fists, essentially tied with Argo for No. 3 on Friday, grossing $3.1 million. Universal is predicting a $7.6 million weekend for the film, which marks the directorial debut of RZA and is presented by Quentin Tarantino.

Man With the Iron Firsts, costing $15 million to make, received a C+ CinemaScore.

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