'Little Fockers' Tops Soft Weekend Box Office with $26.3 Million

Paramount's True Grit finished New Year's weekend with a dazzling domestic cume of $86.8 million, the best gross ever for the Coen brothers and upping the Western's profile as Oscar voters mull their choices.

True Grit is the big victor of the holiday session, which was otherwise soft for major studio releases. Weekend box-office revenues were down 27 percent over last year, reflecting the lack of an all-audience hit.

Costing a modest $38 million to produce, True Grit came much closer to Universal's Little Fockers than predicted. Both films opened Dec. 22.

Little Fockers topped the New Year's box office in grossing an estimated $26.3 million from 3,552 theaters for a cume of $103.2 million, according to Rentrak. While jumping the $100 million mark, film is pacing well behind sequel Meet the Fockers, which earned $162.5 million during the same frame in 2004.

Overseas, Little Fockers' cume through Sunday was $72 million for a worldwide total of $175.6 million. Universal says Fockersis a success and is on track to gross $300 million worldwide. The studio co-financed the $100 million film with Relativity Media and Paramount.

For the weekend, True Grit grossed an estimated $24.5 million from 3,083 theaters to reach $86.8 million. The previous best for Joel and Ethan Coen was Oscar winner No Country for Old Men, which cumed $74.2 million domestically.

Paramount's co-financing partner on True Grit is Skydance Prods.

While it didn't become the breakout headline that Disney had hoped for, Tron: Legacy was the biggest grosser of the two-week holiday stretch. The 3D pic, opening Dec. 17, placed No. 3 over New Year's weekend, grossing an estimated $18.3 million from 3,365 theaters for a cume of $130.9 million.

Tron's global total through Sunday was $240.9 million.

Out-and-out losers of the 2010 holidays included Sony's pricey romantic comedy How Do You Know, whose domestic cume was just $25.1 million through Sunday.

20th Century Fox's Christmas Day entry Gulliver's Travels also has failed domestically, grossing $9.1 million from 3,089 locations over New Year's weekend for a cume of 27.2 million.

Gulliver's is a different story overseas, where it narrowly won the weekend over Tron with a gross of $24 million from 4,495 venues in 33 territories. The movie's international total is $47 million, bringing the worldwide gross to $74.2 million.

Domestically, Gulliver's placed No. 8, behind a trio of other 3D family films, including Fox's own The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Warner Bros.' 3D kids pic Yogi Bear slightly improved its standing over the weekend, grossing $13 million from 3,515 theaters to come in No. 4. Pic's cume is $66.1 million, well less than Warners had hoped for.

It's true that comparing the 2010 Christmas box office to 2009 is difficult because of juggernaut Avatar, but there's no denying 2010 was sluggish. Usually, bigger Christmas titles can shoot well past the $100 million mark by New Year's, including Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and Sherlock Holmes in 2009, which earned $155.9 million and $138.7 million, respectively, during that time period.

Conversely, while bigger holiday pics struggled in 2010, awards contenders and specialty films thrived.

Fox Searchlight's Black Swan grossed another $8.5 million from 1,553 theaters over New Year's weekend for a cume of $47.4 million. Film placed No. 9 for the frame.

The Weinstein Co.'s The King's Speech -- playing in only 700 theaters -- came in No. 10, grossing an estimated $7.6 million for a cume of $22.8 million, one of the best showings for Harvey and Bob Weinstein in recent times. King's Speech earned the most Golden Globe and SAG noms of any films.

A clutch of new independent films also did strong business.

The Weinstein Co.'s Ryan Gosling-Michelle Williams starrer Blue Valentine scored the best location average of New Year's weekend, or $45,016. Drama grossed an estimated $180,066 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a five-day cume of $277,945.

Sony Pictures Classics also saw a nice debut for Mike Leigh's Another Year, which posted a per theater average of $20,065 in grossing an estimated $120,390 from six theaters in New York and L.A. for a five-day cume of $173,175.

And Focus Features' Somewhere posted a strong per-location average of $17,865 from eight theaters in a handful of top cities. The film grossed an estimated $42,900 in its second weekend for a cume of $437,192.

In its second frame, Sony Classics' foreign-language film The Illusionist grossed $50,841 from three theaters for a decent location average of $16,947.

Lionsgate's Rabbit Hole, starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, grossed $136,000 from 34 theaters for a so-so average of 4,000 and cume of $429,139 in its third week. Lionsgate's marketing efforts for the film were hampered by the fact that the companyonly bought the film in September, at the Toronto Film Fest.

Peter Oberth
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