Holiday comedy, leftovers lift b.o.

Warner Bros.' seasonal comedy "Four Christmases" grabbed the biggest helping of Thanksgiving weekend boxoffice, dishing up an estimated $31.7 million in Friday-Sunday grosses.

The Vince Vaughn-Reese Witherspoon starrer stuffed its five-day cume to a heaping $46.7 million since arriving in theaters Wednesday, one of three wide openers positioned to make full use of a holiday-lengthened session.

Fox's Baz Luhrmann-helmed action adventure "Australia" debuted in fifth place as the Hugh Jackman-Nicole Kidman starrer fetched $14.8 million on the weekend and $20 million over its first five days. Lionsgate's action three-quel "Transporter 3," starring Jason Statham, landed in seventh place with a first-weekend tally of $12.3 million and five-day cume of $18.5 million.

Elsewhere, Disney's CG-animated feature "Bolt" marked an incredible 1% uptick from its soft opening frame a week earlier, registering $26.6 million in second place over the latest session. The impressive comeback performance boosted the family comedy's 10-day cume to $66.9 million.

By contrast, Summit Entertainment's youth-targeting vampire pic "Twilight" fell a big 62% from its chart-topping first Friday-Sunday session to attract $26.4 million in a third-place performance. Yet so big was its week- earlier bow that the modestly budgeted literary adaptation boasts a mind-bending cume of $119.7 million.

The James Bond pic "Quantum of Solace" grossed $19.5 million in its third frame, good for fourth place and a $142.1 million cume. The solid session supports execs' prediction the 007 pic will play strongly well into December.

Industrywide, the weekend's $168 million marked a whopping 99% improvement over the comparable — though non-holiday — calendar session from a year earlier, according to Nielsen. The frame notched a 4% gain if measured against 2007's actual Thanksgiving weekend.

Year to date, 2008 is now 2% ahead of the same portion of last year, at $8.78 billion.

Directed by Seth Gordon ("The King of Kong"), "Christmases" was unfazed by its decidedly mixed reviews, as audience appeal proved broad.

Family moviegoers comprised 35% of "Christmases" audiences. Some 60% of patrons were female, with 57% of the pic's support coming from moviegoers 25 and older.

"There's no question that we had the right movie at the right date," Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said.

"Australia" was disadvantaged by a 2 hour and 40 minute running time and targeted an older audience that's often slow to respond to new titles. Opening audiences were comprised 52% of females, with 65% of patrons 25 or older.

"We are ecstatic," Fox senior vp distribution Chris Aronson said. "These are great opening numbers for an adult film, and this is such a bold, unconventional film."

Luhrmann displays his splashy signature visual style in "Australia," an otherwise retro sort of epic adventure. The Oz-born helmer copped a personal best with the bow, outpacing his $13.7 million opening for 2001's "Moulin Rouge."

"Transporter 3" targeted young males, but data on audience demos weren't immediately available. Execs were pleased with the size of the bow.

"The opening was completely within the range of our expectations," Lionsgate distribution president Steve Rothenberg said.

The franchise's first sequel unspooled over the 2005 Labor Day frame with $20.1 million, registering $16.5 million over its first Friday-Sunday and $43.1 million overall domestically. (partialdiff)