"King Kong" and &to=http://english.pravda.ru/culture/2005/12/04/69161.html' target=_blank>"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" battled for the four-day box office crown with the giant ape finally swiping the Christmas holiday prize.
A Sunday night surge gave Universal's "King Kong" the needed push for the No. 1 spot with over the Friday-through-Monday period with $31.4 million (Ђ26.48 million), edging Buena Vista's "Chronicles of Narnia" estimated $30.1 million (Ђ25.38 million)take.
The box office lead shifted back and forth all last week as new releases cropped up Wednesday, Friday and still more Christmas Day.
"It's a battle of the holiday blockbusters. It was very close for the No. 1 position," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.
"There's only so much room. I think crowded is the fair term to describe the marketplace right now," Universal Pictures vice chairman Marc Shmuger said Monday, noting overall box office was up 20 percent over the weekend compared to the previous weekend.
"These two movies are energizing the business," said Chuck Viane, president Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, adding "Narnia" is continuing to lure audiences in its third week of release.
"This is a fantastic hold," Viane said. "We're probably looking at breaking the $200 million (Ђ168.65 million) barrier by New Year's Eve. I think what you have here is a movie instantly becoming one of those holiday classics."
Sony's "Fun With Dick and Jane" was third with $23.5 million (Ђ19.82 million).
"It doesn't get much better than having a Jim Carrey movie for the holidays," said Rory Bruer, president of distribution for Sony Pictures Entertainment.
"Cheaper By The Dozen 2" was fourth with $14.8 million (Ђ12.48 million) and "The Family Stone" was fifth with $10.9 million (Ђ9.19 million).
"Memoirs of a Geisha" was in sixth place with $10.2 million (Ђ8.6 million), followed by "The Ringer" with $8.4 million (Ђ7.08 million), "Rumor Has It" in eighth with $7.5 million (Ђ6.32 million) and "Wolf Creek" ninth with $3.4 million (Ђ2.87 million).
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," now in its sixth week of release, rounded on the Top 10 with a four-day tally of $5.7 million (Ђ4.81 million). It's North America box office take is now $262.4 million (Ђ221.27 million).
Negotiations are underway on the use of airfields in Cuba, Venezuela and Algeria. South Africa, Syria and Egypt are likely to join the list