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'Little Fockers' Wins Box Office; 'Gulliver's Travels' Disappoints

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Little Fockers
Universal Studios

'True Grit' gives the Coen Brothers their best opening ever; Jack Black comedy stumbles to No. 7.

UPDATED: Universal's Little Fockers may have topped the Christmas box office with an estimated $48.3 million five day debut, but it was Paramount's True Grit  that saw the grittiest grosses, earning an estimated $36.8 million to come in No. 2 domestically.

Both pics debuted on Wednesday. Estimates are through Sunday.

True Grit -- drawing rave reviews and delivering the Coen Brothers their best opening ever -- scored a surprise win over 3D fanboy pic Tron: Legacy, which came in No. 3.

Excluding True Grit and several other awards contenders, domestic results weren't spectacular for holiday titles, putting intense pressure on the coming week. Christmas weekend box office grosses were down 44% from 2009, although comparisons are virtually impossible because of the holiday falling on a Saturday this year.

Twentieth Century Fox's Christmas Day opener Gulliver's Travels grossed a soft $7.2 million from 2,546 theaters on Saturday and Sunday to come in No. 7 for the weekend.

Gulliver's got beat by Fox's own The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which grossed roughly $8.5 million from 3,550 theaters Saturday and Sunday in its third weekend.

Rolling out in 15 international markets, Gulliver'sgrossed an estimated $12.4 million for a global bow of $19.6 million.

Overseas, Fockers won the Christmas race, opening to $27 million from 3,933 locations in 37 territories for a worldwide bow of $75.3 million. In key markets including the U.K., France and Russia, Fockers came in ahead of sequel Meet the Fockers, which opened over the same frame in 2004.

Domestically, however, the threequel fell well short of the $70 million opening for Meet the Fockers. Studio had predicted a $60 million bow.

Little Fockers did see an uptick in business, with Saturday grosses up 188% over Friday. For the weekend itself, Fockers grossed roughly $34 million from 3,536 theaters.

As with True Grit, Fox Searchlight's Black Swan and the Weinstein Co.'s The King's Speech were bright spots on the box office chart, with Black Swan narrowly edging out Focus Features' The Kids Are All Right to become the top 2010 specialty film.

Black Swan grossed an estimated $6.6 million for the weekend from 1,466 theaters for a cume of $29 million in its fourth week in release. Searchlight still hasn't done official exits, but the film's core demo is between the ages of 20 and 40, according to anecdotal evidence.

Expanding to 700 theaters on Christmas Day, King's Speech -- which received the most Golden Globe and SAG nods of any film -- grossed $4.6 million on Saturday and Sunday for a location average of $6,511 and cume of $8.4 million.

Focus's Somewhere, directed by Sofia Coppola, scored the best location average of Christmas weekend, grossing an estimated $142,257 from seven theaters for an average $20,322. Film, which opened Dec. 22, scored a five day cume of $196,168 and five day location average of $28,024.

Usually, Coen Brothers films open in limited runs, but Paramount believed that True Grit would play far more broadly. Studio was right.

Paramount vice chair Rob Moore said Westerns appeal primarily to older audiences, but that True Grit drew a healthy number of younger moviegoers, who gave the film a A- CinemaScore. Of the film's audience, 30% were under the age of 25. Film drew a B+ CinemaScore overall.

"Ethan and Joel Coen are certainly as talented as any filmmakers working in the industry today, and they have delivered another fantastic film," said Moore, who predicted True Gritwill continue to lure younger moviegoers.

Notably, True Grit was shut out by the Golden Globes, but is a favorite of critics' groups.

True Grit cost a modest $38 million to produce, and was co-financed by Paramount and Skydance Prods. (it's the first release from Skydance). Of the film's total $36.8 million opening from 3,047 theaters, $25.6 million was earned over the weekend.