Alcon Entertainment's football drama "The Blind Side" with Sandra Bullock pulled off the rare feat of increasing ticket sales on its second weekend in wide release.
It was an unusual weekend all around at the box office, as none of the three new nationwide motion pictures -- "Old Dogs," "Ninja Assassin" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox" -- proved particularly successful and "New Moon" plummeted 70% from its spectacular opening, but overall receipts nonetheless set a new record.
Ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada totaled an estimated $275 million from Wednesday through Sunday, beating the previous Thanksgiving mark set in 2000 by 12.5%, according to Hollywood.com. Although no single movie was huge, nine pictures collected more than $7 million, the first time that has happened since January.
"There were something compelling for anybody and everybody -- that's what makes for a healthy marketplace and that's what we're seeing right now," said Chris Aronson, executive vice president of distribution at 20th Century Fox.
Despite the economic slowdown, box-office revenue is up 8.4% this year. Attendance is up 4.3%, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Despite losing the weekend, "The Blind Side" did successfully dethrone "New Moon" for a brief time over the holiday. On Thanksgiving Day, the family drama earned a first-place finish over "New Moon," which slipped into second place. The fans (and fangs) came out again to give "New Moon" the $42.5 million weekend victory check, but the $40.1 million second-place finish for "The Blind Side" is nothing to scoff at. Between this film's success and that of "The Proposal" last summer, Sandra Bullock is having a very nice year at the box office.
While studio executives at WB can pat themselves on the back for "The Blind Side," the company suffered disappointment in the form of "Ninja Assassin." Directed by James McTeigue and produced by the Wachowski brothers of "The Matrix" fame, "Ninja Assassin" failed to achieve its intended goal of eliminating the competition in its opening weekend at the box office. With only $13.1 million earned in 2,503 theaters, "Ninja Assassin" couldn't even dent the elite top five, though the film's modest budget of $40 million offers some hope that "Ninja Assassin" can eventually cover its expenses.
The weekend's other major new release was "Old Dogs," a family comedy headlined by Robin Williams and John Travolta. These old dogs proved that they still have new tricks up their sleeves by earning a fourth-place finish worth $16.8 million, MTV.com reports.
Meanwhile, the vampire film "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" broke box office records, taking in over $70 million and may end up being one of the largest openings in history.
The public's thirst for vampires seems as endless as vampires' thirst for blood.
Modern writers of vampire fiction, including Stephenie Meyer, Anne Rice, Stephen King and countless others, have a rich vein of vampire lore to draw from. But where did the modern idea of vampires come from? The answer lies in the gap between science and superstition.
Some sources incorrectly trace vampires back to Romanian prince Vlad Tepes (1431-1476), who fought for independence against the Ottoman Empire. Though by most accounts his methods were brutal and sadistic (for example, slowly impaling his enemies on stakes, drawing and quartering them, burning them to death, etc.), in reality they were not particularly cruel or unusual for the time. Similar techniques were used by the Catholic Church and other powerful entities and rulers during the Middle Ages to torture and kill enemies, msnbc.com reports.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969