'Treasure' finds fresh fortune in year-end frame


Disney's boxoffice "Treasure" hunt continued to strike gold during the long New Year's weekend.

The Nicolas Cage starrer "National Treasure: Books of Secrets" unearthed an estimated $55.4 million during the five-day frame, easily topping the domestic boxoffice for a second holiday session. The action sequel, which marked a modest 21% drop from its opening weekend, now boasts a 12-day cume of $143.8 million.

Fox's "Alvin and the Chipmunks" squirreled away another $42.2 million to finish second and shape a three-week cume of $154.6 million.

Warner Bros./Village Roadshow's Will Smith release "I Am Legend" grossed $38 million to finish third during its third outing. The performance left the sci-fi horror film with a cume of $205.1 million, making it the studio's third $200 million performer after similar feats by "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" and "300."

Universal's Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts starrer "Charlie Wilson's War" -- which skeptics warned might get caught in a crush of competition -- continued to hold its own nicely, finishing fourth with $20.5 million. That featured an unusual 24% uptick from its opening weekend and brought the cume for the Mike Nichols-helmed film to $43.3 million.

Fox Searchlight's "Juno" added 16 playdates for a total of 1,014 and grossed $15.7 million, good for fifth place. Toting a $31.1 million cume, the platforming film is set to hit 1,900 engagements Friday.

Sony's "The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep" rung up $14 million during the long New Year's weekend to finish sixth, as the family fantasy posted a $21.6 million cume since bowing on Christmas.

Fox's monster smackdown "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem" grossed $13.8 million, finishing seventh and giving the R-rated sequel a $30.7 million cume since bowing on Christmas.

Warners' "P.S. I Love You" finished eighth with $13.1 million, including an impressive 43% jump from its first Friday-Sunday grosses. The cume for the female-skewing romancer, produced and financed by Alcon Entertainment, reached $27.4 million through 12 days.

DreamWorks/Paramount's "Sweeney Todd" grabbed the long weekend's ninth rung with $11.8 million, including a tiny 12% drop from its first weekend grosses. Directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp, "Sweeney" boasts a $30.5 million cume.

Disney's "Enchanted" fetched another $9.7 million to shape a six-week cume of $113.8 million and grab 10th place for the frame.

MGM/Weinstein Co.'s "The Great Debaters," which was directed by topliner Denzel Washington, grossed $9.4 million for a $16.7 million cume since Christmas.

Sony's "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story," which bowed the Friday before Christmas, dropped just 8% drop during its second weekend but took in just $5.5 million through Tuesday. The cume for the music-biopic spoof hit $14.1 million.

Notable limited players included Paramount Vantage's Daniel Day-Lewis starrer "There Will Be Blood," which grossed $297,655 from single venues in Los Angeles and New York.

That represented a mind-bendingly good $148,827 per venue for the Vantage-Miramax co-production, which tallied a $421,833 cume since bowing Wednesday. "Blood" flows into a total of 50 locations in the top 12 markets Friday, with Vantage touting critical and audience responses to the Paul Thomas Anderson-helmed drama.

Picturehouse bowed Mexican horror film "The Orphanage" in 19 locations and grossed $313,771, or an impressive $16,514 per site.

Warners' Jack Nicholson-Morgan Freeman starrer "The Bucket List" held in 16 theaters and grossed $589,000, or a whopping $36,812 per venue with an $884,000 cume since bowing on Christmas.

Focus Features' Keira Knightley-James McAvoy starrer "Atonement" held 310 engagements to gross $4.9 million, or a notable $15,806 per playdate with a $13 million cume. The Working Title-produced literary adaptation reaches 600 runs Friday.

Paramount Vantage held the DreamWorks-produced Afghan drama "The Kite Runner" in 377 theaters and grossed $2.9 million, a solid $7,692 per venue with a $6.5 million cume.

The Miramax drama "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" added two theaters for a total 44 and grossed $395,000, or a sturdy $8,977 per venue with a $1 million cume.

Miramax's Coen brothers adventure "No Country for Old Men" held 960 playdates and grossed $3.4 million, or $3,541 per engagement with a $42.2 million cume.

Sony Pictures Classics' animated Iranian drama "Persepolis" held in seven New York and Los Angeles locations to gross $142,123, or an impressive $20,303 per venue with a $217,669 cume.

SPC's extreme-skiing docu "Steep" added three engagements for a total of 17 and grossed $28,308, a thin $1,655 per playdate with a $65,741 cume.

Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said the chart-topping success of "Book of Secrets" has been especially gratifying amid the crush of holiday openers.

"The broad appeal of the movie is showing through," Viane said.

With "Secrets" and "Enchanted" now north of $100 million, Disney staked claim to a record 56 company titles to have surpassed that benchmark.

Positioning "Charlie Wilson's War" to open on the Friday before Christmas allowed moviegoers to discover the film, now one of the year's top-performing dramas, Uni marketing and distribution president Adam Fogelson said.

"The balance of entertainment and serious subject matter was perfectly handled (and) audiences are clearly loving the film," he said.

The studio's financial partners on the Aaron Sorkin-penned film include Relativity Media and Participation Prods.

More than two-thirds of "Water Horse" tickets were sold to family moviegoers, of whom 36% were children. About 55% of the film's patrons were younger than 25.

"It's a good start for us and pretty much where we thought it would be," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer said.

The effects-laden Emily Watson starrer was produced for an estimated $44 million.

"Debaters" has shown good crossover appeal in addition to core black support, with the film set to expand on its modestly wide holiday bow amid awards-season kudos, Weinstein Co. executives said.

"I couldn't be happier," co-topper Harvey Weinstein said. "It's certainly showing legs (and) I think it's getting stronger."

Playing in 1,171 locations, "Debaters" takes its argument to an additional 200 forums Friday.

Holdover films will have to contend with just one wide opener during the first boxoffice weekend of 2008, as Warners unspools the Edward Burns-Shannyn Sossamon starrer "One Missed Call."