'Enchanted' puts a charm on the weekend boxoffice

Wins five-day frame with $50 mil

Related story: All hail 'Beowulf' with $26 mil at overseas boxoffice

UPDATED 4:00 p.m. PT Nov. 25, 2007

Disney's family romancer "Enchanted" had a magical holiday weekend, debuting atop the domestic boxoffice with an estimated $50 million during the five-day frame.

That's the second-biggest boxoffice feast ever over the holiday-lengthened Thanksgiving weekend, behind the $80.1 million performance by Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story 2" in 1999. Over the three-day weekends following their respective Turkey Days, "Toy Story 2" grossed $57.4 million and "Enchanted" rung up $35.3 million.

Elsewhere during the weekend, Sony/Screen Gems' urban-skewing seasonal drama "This Christmas" opened well beyond expectations with a five-day gross of $27.1 million in second place, and Fox's video game adaptation "Hitman" hit all its marks with a $21 million bow, good for fourth overall.

Moviegoers were a bit less hurried to support "August Rush," Warner Bros.' musically driven family drama that opened with $13.3 million in seventh place. And MGM/Dimension's Stephen King-adaptation "The Mist" seemed to evaporate in the crowded marketplace, fetching just $13 million to finish ninth in its first outing.

A couple holdovers from the previous frame had solid second weekends.

Paramount's "Beowulf" was off just 41% in a three-day comparison to gross $23.3 million for the five days. It finished in third place overall while bumping its cumulative boxoffice to $56.4 million. Just outside the top 10, Fox/Walden's "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" slipped a modest 17% to fetch $10.9 million with a $22.3 million cume.

Miramax expanded the Coen brothers' "No Country for Old Men" by 712 theaters Wednesday for a total of 860 to gross $11 million for the five-day frame. That 10th-place performance carried the cume for the platforming film to $16.6 million.

On an industrywide basis, the weekend was less than enchanting, notching a third consecutive downtick compared with the same session last year. The three-day weekend was off 1% from the same frame a year ago, at $160 million, according to data tracker Nielsen EDI.

Year to date, 2007 remains 5% ahead of the same period last year with $8.36 billion in industry grosses.

In a limited bow, the Weinstein Co. grossed $1 million from 130 runs for Todd Haynes' Bob Dylan-inspired "I'm Not There," a strong $7,692 per site. Roadside Attractions unspooled the Frank Langella starrer "Starting Out in the Evening" in seven theaters in New York and Los Angeles to gross $85,596, an encouraging $12,228 per venue.

Paramount Vantage's Nicole Kidman starrer "Margot at the Wedding" added 33 engagements for a total of 35 and grossed $475,826 during the five-day period, a solid $13,595 per playdate with a $573,796 cume.

ThinkFilm's "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," directed by Sidney Lumet, added 83 theaters for a total of 260 to gross $1.2 million, or an acceptable $4,615, as its cume rose to $2.3 million.

"Enchanted" -- which Disney screened for exhibitors in October at the ShowEast confab -- begins with a 10-minute animated segment that morphs into live action for the balance of the film as an animated princess is thrust into real life. Positive reviews bolstered the music-filled film's holiday bow.

"It certainly lived up to all the expectations we had," Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said. "We historically love to put films out this particular weekend (and) have had tremendous success."

Directed by Kevin Lima ("102 Dalmatians") and penned by Bill Kelly ("Premonition"), "Enchanted" features Amy Adams ("Junebug"), James Marsden ("X-Men: The Last Stand") and Patrick Dempsey ("Grey's Anatomy") in lead roles. Producer Barry Josephson said he first approached the studio about the project in 1997.

"I brought this script into Disney (and) just loved the potential for it," Josephson said. "I'm just really happy with how well it's done. I thought the movie would connect, but you never know."

"This Christmas" -- boasting an ensemble cast featuring Delroy Lindo, Chris Brown, Laz Alonso, Idris Elba and others -- played to audiences comprised 65% of black moviegoers.

"The movie has universal appeal," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said. "It's one of the movies that audiences just totally embraced."

With a price tag estimated at $13 million, the film will be a "home run" for the studio, Bruer said.

"Hitman," starring Timothy Olyphant ("Catch and Release") in the title role, skewed heavily to younger males. About 65% of its patrons were male, and an identical percentage of its support came from moviegoers under 25.

" 'Hitman' hit a nerve with gamers and nongamers alike," Fox senior vp distribution Chris Aronson said. "We couldn't be more thrilled."

"Rush" played to audiences comprised 70% of female patrons. Expectations for its inaugural weekend had been limited as several critics reviewed the film harshly. "We're very pleased with the opening," Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said.

Warners is distributing the film domestically, with Odyssey handling international markets.

"Mist," writer-director Frank Darabont's third King adaptation, also was shown at ShowEast, where Dimension topper Bob Weinstein touted high expectations for the Thomas Jane-toplined horror film.

"I love my movies and hope they all gross $300 million," Weinstein said Sunday. "But in sports vernacular, this was a base hit. The movie cost $18 million all in including (Darabont's) fee. It was a 35-day shoot in a supermarket."

MGM distribution president Clark Woods said the movie played to audiences dominated by older patrons. Accordingly, its grosses were strongest on Saturday night, which always features an older-skewing moviegoing crowd.

"So we feel our audience did sample the picture," Woods said.

Miramax president Daniel Battsek said the platform rollout for "No Country" is working well and will continue up until Christmas.

"We've had a couple of weeks of broadening out, (and) it's very encouraging," Battsek said.

"No Country" will add another 200 or so runs in two weeks, he estimated.

Looking to this weekend, competition-crazed distributors will get a chance to catch their breath -- and perhaps a bit of second-weekend business. Only one wide opener is set to join the marketplace's current crush of titles: MGM's Hayden Christensen-Jessica Alba starrer "Awake."