Film Weekend Per Total
1 Tron Legacy $43,600,000 $12,634 $43,600,000
2 Yogi Bear $16,705,000 $4,752 $16,705,000
3 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader $12,400,000 (-48.3%) $3,488 $42,764,000
4 The Fighter $12,200,000 $4,874 $12,634,000
5 The Tourist $8,700,000 (-47.2%) $3,157 $30,791,000
6 Tangled $8,676,000 (-39.5%) $2,710 $127,819,000
7 Black Swan $8,300,000 (+151.1%) $8,655 $15,708,000
8 How Do You Know $7,600,000 $3,061 $7,600,000
9 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 $4,845,000 (-42.9%) $1,694 $265,546,000
10 Unstoppable $1,800,000 (-51.4%) $961 $77,343,000

This just in: However, Mrs. Claus was nothing if not polite, and sentenced to 3-5.

How to unpack Tron Legacy‘s opening weekend. Estimates – including mine – were lower than the $43 and change opening (though since I was a little over two million off, realistically it’s not that much lower). That’s part of the good side of it (exceeding expectations, even marginally), though this may also have to do with the 3-D and Imax bump. The film has two holiday weekends, so it’s possible the film could flat-line for two weeks as Avatar did. The downside is the film cost anywhere from $150 to $200 Million plus for production, and marketing is north of $100 Million. Tron Legacy did $18 Million on Friday (including midnights), so nearly half of the opening weekend came from the first day. How the film is received by the general public is not totally known, though the Rotten Tomato score is rotten, and audience seem mostly male for the picture. Right now, legs are up in the air (which is not a euphemism for the picture being fucked). How big a threat Gulliver’s Travels or Little Fockers are to the picture is hard to quantify, or the male audience appeal of True Grit. Different sorts of spectacle. David Poland mentioned that all films that have opened to over $40 in December have done $200 Million domestically, so there is hope to keep alive, and this is Disney. The question is how much of a franchise picture is the film? Because it’s quite possible that – regardless of the holidays – it drops 50% next weekend much like Narnia did. Disney’s got $100 Million on lock for domestic at this point. Like a lot of pictures these days, worldwide is that number to satisfy. My bottom line is that I think the number isn’t great because we’ve seen pictures open to this number and struggle to do much more than $100 or so. In context, the film opened to less than recent pictures Megamind, Tangled, and Jackass 3-D. Megamind is near $150 with a bigger opening weekend.

The other big story is How Do You Know.On a budget of $120 Million, the picture opened to $7.6. Heaven’s Gate cost $44 Million, did a little over $3 in its time. Such killed United Artists, and matches up to this picture’s numbers. But here Sony has with How Do You Know a film that will never make its money back on top of last week’s The Tourist. But where The Tourist could conceivably do better internationally, How Do You Know is a wordy comedy, which means it’s fucked outside the country. The good/weird news is that it strikes me that not that many people are going to get fired over this. It’s very likely that How Do You Know will be out of the top ten next week. Sad trombone.

Yogi Bear is no Alvin and the Chipmunks. Warners may have a longer play with the holidays, and the film is short – if it doesn’t get killed next weekend they can get it to a $70 Million plus finish. Narnia and The Tourist both dropped nearly 50%, so both are banking on international numbers. In both cases audiences didn’t seem to be there. Tangled is still playing not terrible for Disney animated. International isn’t bad so far, if it’s got the fanbase, it should not lose money for anyone. Potter is done (maybe it gets another $10-$15 Million), but is also over $800 Million word-wide. I doubt anyone is complaining.

Black Swan and The Fighter expanded. For The Fighter, it was on four screens last week, and now is everywhere it’s going. This should/could flatline or go up next weekend, and if it does, then the Oscar heat will heighten and simmer. If it drops a lot, then it gets a tarnish on it. Those numbers are solid but unremarkable. Black Swan is still not in wide release (just under 1,000 screens), but it’s still playing and the numbers are still good. Next week, it’s going to have to fight to stay in the top ten, but I think – as I said – $30 Million is no question, and where it goes from there is unknown.

Currently the top five film grosses of the year won’t be threatened. They are Toy Story 3, Alice in Wonderland, Iron Man 2, Eclipse, and Inception. Little Fockers seems the only picture that could do in the $300 Million range, but that seems high.  We’ll know more next week.