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Box Office Report: 'TRON' deletes competition; 'Yogi' gets a Boo-Boo

The box office results for the weekend of December 17th – 19th sees blasts from the past rising to the top. TRON and Yogi lead the way, while the Oscar contenders begin to make some noise. Here are the studio estimates:

1. TRON: Legacy ($43.6 million)

2. Yogi Bear ($16.7 million)

3. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader ($12.4 million)

4. The Fighter ($12.2 million)

5. The Tourist ($8.7 million)

6. Tangled ($8.6 million)

7. Black Swan ($8.3 million)

8. How Do You Know ($7.6 million)

9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 ($4.8 million)

10. Unstoppable ($1.8 million)

Analysis

Disney needs to close out the year with a financial winner. Thus far, Toy Story 3 is their only claim to fame for 2010. Sure a few of their releases have earned praise from critics and audiences. However, only the heralded animation from this past summer has guaranteed the use of black ink on the studio’s balance sheet. With all that said, TRON: Legacy had a strong debut, but one must factor in the production budget of $200 million. Add in the lackluster reviews and this looks like another letdown from the house-of-the-mouse.

Trying to get a jump on the popular holiday movie going crowd, was the 3D CGI’d Yogi Bear. Adapted from the historical cartoon, the flick isn’t going to wow the execs at Warner Bros. Coming in with a budget of $80 million will be a major obstacle. With a crowded release slate from this past weekend, along with a some direct competition from Gulliver’s Travels on the horizon, the flick is looking to match up with the reviews it has garnered thus far. Below-average.

A couple Oscar hopefuls saw a major increase by expanding into a plethora of new markets this past Friday. The Fighter is in great shape financially, considering the flick only rang up a $11 million production budget. There’s a decent amount of reviews stating that this is one of the best flicks for 2010. Having all the award-buzz and inspiring story should easily have this reaching profitability by next weekend. Black Swan is also finding similar results and that’s without being in wide release mode. Still playing in just under 1000 theaters, the flick is up to $15 million domestically, which suggests that the $13 million production budget will be the last thing on Fox Searchlight Pictures’ mind.

Unstoppable currently has the longest streak in the top ten with 6 weeks. Domestically, the flick has grossed just over $77 million off a budget of $100 million. The Train (flick) kept rolling, but it will need to light a fire on the DVD and On Demand market to see the profits.

Flop Alert: More like flop certainty…How Do You Know. Somehow, the budget for this simple adult romantic-comedy required $120 million to make. How do I know this will flop? I passed first grade math (only took three times). Sleeper Hit: Nobody on this list. The Tourist’s vacation in the top ten will be over by the end of the month and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will continue sinking in the domestic sea. Internationally though, the latter is doing alright.

And for the whacked out wizard fans, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is up to $265 million domestically.

Christmas weekend will start early as far as new releases are concerned. Wednesday will bring in Little Fockers and True Grit. Friday will remain dark due to Christmas Eve. In a rare Saturday opening, Gulliver’s Travels and The King’s Speech will go wide. Very merry reviews will be right kids!

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Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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