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Tangled Tops, Black Swan Soars, and Warrior's Way Fumbles in Post-Thanksgiving Box Office

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There was but a single new wide-release this weekend, as the weekend after Thanksgiving is a scary time for Hollywood. Few studios are willing to risk dealing with the post-holiday hangover, so this weekend brings just The Warrior's Way. But we'll get to that in a minute. First off, Tangled took the box office crown in its second weekend, dropping just a bit less than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I, which was enough to score the number one slot. The Disney animated fairy tale grossed $21.5 million, which accounts for a somewhat troubling 56% drop in weekend two. With $96 million in twelve days, getting to $200 million is no longer the sure-thing that I pegged last weekend. Still, the film is Disney's biggest non-Pixar hit in quite a long time. It's about $13 million ahead of Chicken Little at the end of its respective weekend, about $26 million ahead of Enchanted at the end of its post-Thanksgiving weekend twelfth day, and it's nearly $31 million ahead of Bolt at the same interval. It will outgross Princess and the Frog next weekend and has pretty much passed Meet the Robinsons as of today. So by any rational standard, the film is a big win for the Mouse House, even if the film did cost (allegedly) $260 million to make. If that's true, then it will still be a very long time before Tangled gets in the black, although the likely trillions of dollars in merchandise sold will likely help ease the over-budgeting.
Second went to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I, which pulled in $16.7 million in its third weekend. The drop was heavy (-66%), but frankly not too far off from similar post-Thanksgiving plunges for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (-53%), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (-68%), and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (-63%).With $244 million in the bank by the end of day 17, the seventh Harry Potter sequel has nearly surpassed the domestic gross of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ($249 million), and is barely outpacing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($243 million in seventeen days, but $255 million in nineteen days at the end of weekend three) to remain, for the moment, the fastest-grossing film in the franchise. At this point, the film should reach at least $290 million (or about what the last three sequels grossed), but the franchise will have to wait for the grand finale to see a major domestic gross bump.

The lone new wide-release this weekend was The Warrior's Way, which debuted in ninth place with just $3 million, for a $1,881 per-screen average. To make matters worse, the two-years delayed, $42 million western/martial arts hybrid scored a "C-" from CinemaScore. Nothing more to see here, folks. The other big new release opened on just 18 screens. Black Swan, the critically-acclaimed Darren Aronofski ballet horror film opened with a whopping $1.4 million for a shockingly-good $77,000 per-screen average. The Natalie Portman Oscar-bait thriller scored one of the largest debuts for a small release ever. On films playing on seven or more screens, the films's average was third, behind only to Up in the Air ($78,000 on fifteen screens) and Precious, which scored $104,025 per screen on 18 screens last November. It will quickly expand over the next couple weeks, so we'll see if it becomes the 'it' Oscar bait film of the season (ALA Brokeback Mountain, Juno or Slumdog Millionaire).

For the rest of this article, go to Mendelson's Memos.