December 2, 2007 / 6:32 PM / 10 years ago

Fantasy "Enchanted" leads ailing U.S. box office

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Walt Disney Co family fantasy “Enchanted” enjoyed another fairy-tale weekend at the North American box office on Sunday, but overall sales succumbed to the traditional post-Thanksgiving blues.

<p>Amy Adams, star of the film "Enchanted", poses at the film's premiere in Hollywood, November 17, 2007. The Walt Disney Co family fantasy "Enchanted" enjoyed another fairy-tale weekend at the North American box office on Sunday, but overall sales succumbed to the traditional post-Thanksgiving blues. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>

“Enchanted,” starring Amy Adams as a cartoon princess who comes to life on the mean streets of Manhattan, sold about $17 million in tickets during the three-day period beginning Friday, leading the field for a second weekend.

Since launching on November 21 to the second-biggest Thanksgiving weekend opening ever with $49 million, “Enchanted” has earned $70.6 million. The film will “glide over” $100 million, said Disney distribution president Chuck Viane, who expected it would hold up well during the holiday period.

Only one film opened in the top 10. “Awake,” a romantic thriller starring Hayden Christensen as a Wall Street banker who is conscious during heart surgery, flatlined at No. 4 with $6 million. Industry observers had expected it to crack $10 million. “Awake” was released by closely held studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc under a deal with independent movie producer the Weinstein Co.

Overall year-on-year sales slipped for the fourth consecutive weekend, said tracking firm Media By Numbers. The top 12 films earned $76.6 million, down 5.75 percent from the same time last year, and down 49 percent from last weekend. Last year, the post-Thanksgiving drop was 45 percent.

‘CHRISTMAS’ BONANZA

The black-themed comedy “This Christmas,” about a family’s first holiday reunion in four years, held steady at No. 2 with $8.4 million in its second weekend. It has unwrapped $37 million after 12 days and should reach $60 million, said its distributor, Sony Corp’s Screen Gems. The film cost about $13 million to make.

Former champion “Beowulf” was unchanged at No. 3 with $7.9 million. After three weeks, director Robert Zemeckis’ effects-laden adaptation of the old English warrior poem has earned $68.6 million -- less than the $71 million earned by the similarly-themed “300” during its first three days in March.

The film’s domestic distributor, Paramount Pictures, hopes it will break $100 million. But the Viacom Inc-owned studio noted it was on the hook for only one-third of the $150 million cost. The other backers are noted Democratic fundraiser Steve Bing, and Time Warner Inc’s Warner Bros., which is handling the international release.

Slipping one place to No. 5 was the video game-inspired thriller “Hitman” with $5.8 million. The 20th Century Fox release, which cost less than $20 million to make, has earned $30 million after 12 days, and should break $40 million, said the News Corp-owned studio.

Strong openers in limited release included the family drama “The Savages,” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney as siblings who must care for their ailing father. It earned $153,121 from four theaters, two apiece in New York and Los Angeles. More cities will be added December 21, said Fox Searchlight, another News Corp unit.

The French film “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” director Julian Schnabel’s fact-based depiction of a paralyzed man who dictates a book by blinking his eye, earned $75,300 from three theaters, said Disney-owned Miramax Films.

Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Todd Eastham

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