"Four Christmases" gives box office a holiday gift

Sun Nov 30, 2008 2:36pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Moviegoers shook off economic gloom and gave Hollywood a gift over the U.S. holiday weekend, sending comedy "Four Christmases" to the top of box office charts and boosting ticket sales nearly 4 percent from last year, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

"Four Christmases," in which Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn play a couple who learn about love during unexpected Christmas visits to their divorced parents, earned an estimated $46.7 million in five days and $31.7 million for three days ending on Sunday, according to its distributor Warner Bros.

"In tough times, people are looking for comic relief and that's what we gave them," said Dan Fellman, head of domestic distribution for Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros.

Teen vampire romance "Twilight," last weekend's No. 1 movie, and animated family film "Bolt" battled for the second position depending on whether box office watchers looked at five-day or three-day totals.

"Twilight" landed at No. 2 with $39.5 million starting on Wednesday and encompassing a five-day Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, which is one of the busiest moviegoing periods of the year. "Bolt" was just behind at $36 million.

But in a typical three-day weekend starting Friday, "Bolt" surged into the No. 2 spot with $26.6 million in ticket sales, slightly ahead of "Twilight" with $26.4 million.

Final figures will be issued on Monday. "Twilight" was released by privately-held Summit Entertainment LLC and "Bolt" by the movie studio division of The Walt Disney Co..

Ticket sales for all films over the five-day weekend rose 3.7 percent to $236 million from $227.6 million over the same holiday last year, said box office tracker Media By Numbers.   Continued...

<p>Cast member Reese Witherspoon poses at the premiere of the movie Four Christmases at Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California November 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>