Box Office: Disney’s Frog Princess Reigns Over Weekend

In its third week of release (but first week in wide release), Disney’s first hand-drawn animated movie in five years, “The Princess and the Frog” took the top spot at the box office, knocking reigning champ “The Blind Side” to second place. “Princess”, the tale of a New Orleans beauty who is turned into an amphibian after unwisely puckering up for a frog, pulled in $25 million in its debut, good enough to knock the inspirational sports movie “Blind Side” down a peg. The surprising Sandra Bullock movie earned another $15.4 million at the box office, giving it $150 million in domestic gross in just four weeks of release. The film, budgeted at a moderate $29 million, has proven to be a runaway success, buoyed by positive word of mouth in the Midwest parts of America due to its Christian themes. The teen fantasy “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” meanwhile fell to fourth place with another solid $8 million, giving the Summit picture $267 million in Stateside box office and $589 million worldwide in four weeks of release.

The week’s other new releases included Clint Eastwood’s sports drama “Invictus”, which earned $9 million in its debut, good enough for third place. The film stars Matt Damon as a white rugby player and Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, who hopes to use Damon’s rugby team to unite a strife-ridden South Africa. Two other films opened in limited release: the Tom Ford period drama “A Single Man” and Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones”. Jackson’s movie earned $116,000 from 3 screens, giving in a nice $38,667 per screen average. Ford’s debut film took in $216,000 from 9 screenings. “A Single Man” will open wider next week, while Jackson’s supernatural drama will have to wait until January 15 to see more screens.

Notables: The heist film “Armored” fell to ninth place in its second week, giving it $11.7 million in two weeks of release so far. The film will have to find an audience on cable or DVD, because it’s not getting them in theaters. Jim Carrey’s “A Christmas Carol”, meanwhile, continues to hang onto the box office, taking in another $6.8 million, good enough for fifth place in its sixth week of release. The 3D CG movie has totaled $124 million so far, still well short of its $200 million dollar budget. Also of note, “Ninja Assassin” slipped to the tenth spot in its third week of release with another $2.7 million, giving it $34 million so far. The film was made for a modest $40 million, and should see profits when it lands on DVD and cable. Could a sequel, or prequel be far behind? Considering Hollywood’s current (very low) standards to greenlight sequels, that’s looking like it could happen. Having enjoyed the film myself, I certainly hope so.

Box Office Top 10 (via) [Italics Denotes New Release]:

.1 The Princess and the Frog $25,000,000 $27,880,000 3
.2 The Blind Side $15,450,000 $150,212,000 4
.3 Invictus $9,085,000 $9,085,000 1
.4 The Twilight Saga: New Moon $8,000,000 $267,360,000 4
.5 A Christmas Carol (2009) $6,871,000 $124,464,000 6
.6 Brothers $5,000,000 $17,402,000 2
.7 2012 $4,400,000 $155,337,000 5
.8 Old Dogs $4,396,000 $39,983,000 3
.9 Armored $3,500,000 $11,747,000 2
.10 Ninja Assassin $2,710,000 $34,307,000 3