'Happy' holidays

Penguins, secret agents, sci-fi thrillers fill Thanksgiving menu

'Happy Feet'
By Ian Mohr
November 26, 2006

When families gather around the Thanksgiving table, the results can be downright unpredictable, but that wasn't the case for Hollywood studios over the five day holiday weekend at the B.O. as two holdovers - "Happy Feet" and "Casino Royale" -- ruled the roost as they did a week ago.

Of the frame's new openers, Disney's "Déjà vu" and Fox's "Deck the Halls" fared best, as pros had predicted, while Warners' "The Fountain," MGM's expanding "Bobby" and New Line's "Tenacious D" rock comedy all struggled mightily for attention in what's sizing up to be a very crowded holiday movie season.

Warner Bros.' CG animated penguin pic "Happy" crossed the $100 million mark after just two weeks in release by dancing to a five-day take of $51.5 million. Pic had a three-day perf of $37.9 million off its 3,804 playdates for a plump per engagement average of $9,975.

PG-rated pic -- which beat out "Casino Royale," in part, by closing its gender gap to begin attracting more males in its second weekend -- doesn't have too much competish in its way for family auds until Christmas comes round. Warners is now predicting the pic can ultimately pass $200 million as it plays into January.

"Feet"'s two-weekend B.O. stomp has hurt Paramount/DreamWorks Animation's "Flushed Away," a CG pic about rats which has cumed $57.3 million over four weeks of release. "Flushed" took in $7.6 million over the five day Thanksgiving holiday.

Latest James Bond pic, Sony's PG-13-rated "Casino," starring Daniel Craig as a blond Bond, also couldn't stave off the penguin attack for the second straight frame, but the suave secret agent still had reason to celebrate: "Casino" is destined to become the highest grossing Bond pic in franchise history.

"Casino" shot down $45.1 million in five days, and $31 million in three over the Thanksgiving sesh off 3,443. Its per engagement average over the three days was just over $9,000, and attendance dropped off just 21% from the previous three-day frame, as the pic has picked up strong notices and word of mouth.

"Casino"'s three-day take of $31 million matched the last Bond pic's second frame to the penny. Pic has cumed over $94 million domestically and crossed $215 million so far worldwide.

Best opening for a new pic over the Turkey Day frame was Disney's
"Déjà vu," the Denzel Washington-starrer from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, which bowed at No. 3 with $29 million over five days off 3,108.

Pic hit $20.8 million over three days, for a per engagement average of $6,704, and was Washington's seventh opening over $20 million.

Washington's last pic, Spike Lee's "Inside Man," however, opened to almost $29 million earlier this year, the biggest bow ever for a Washington topliner.