Wreck-It Ralph takes the high score at the North American box office

November is off to a fantastic start at the box office with two high profile films moving tickets and getting people excited about a very crowed holiday movie season.

Disney’s latest non-Pixar animated entry Wreck-It Ralph scored big bringing in $48 million in its opening weekend.  The video game-themed family film hit all the right buttons for kids and adults.  Solid reviews and good word of mouth will keep this one in the top five for a few weeks.

Robert Zemeckis has spent the last decade toying with his three dimensional toybox with mixed results.  His return to live-action filmmaking has produced a well reviewed hit with Flight.  The Denzel Washington starring drama brought in $25 million in i’s first weekend, in spite of playing at only 1900 screens.  The sky’s the limit for this one during award season as the film and Washington are being talked about as contenders for nominations in a number of categories.  The success of the film with such a soft launch means this one could go the Argo route and hold solid week over week.  Both Flight and Argo are proof that dramas aimed at adults can find an audience.  Speaking of Argo, it inched down to third place this week with $10 million in tickets sold.

The kung fu action epic The Man with the Iron Fists took fourth place with $8 million.  I’m not sure how much money was left on the table with this one.   The film seems more appropriate for late summer or the dumpster of September than November.  And even if the movie hadn’t been ravaged by critics, I still think $8-$10 million is your best case scenario.  Even with Quentin Tarantino presenting, a chopsockey martial arts film is going to have trouble gaining traction in November.

Taken 2 rounds out the top five.  The little revenge sequel that could continues to linger with another $6 million in ticket sales.  Meanwhile, Cloud Atlas drops out of the top five in its second week.  The three hour epic tome has polarized audiences and critics.  All the discussions and breakdowns haven’t been able to put asses in seats.  $5 million in its second week is the final nail in the coffin here in the U.S. 

Next week has only one major release, but it’s a doozy.   Daniel Craig returns as James Bond in the most anticipated movie of the holiday season: Skyfall.  Meanwhile Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln will see a limited release.  We know Bond will be big.  The only lingering question is ‘how big?’  See you next week.

Here’s your top films for North America:

1. Wreck-It Ralph
Weekend Estimate: $48 million

2. Flight
Weekend Estimate: $25 million

3. Argo
Weekend Estimate: $10 million; $75 million total

4. The Man with the Iron Fists
Weekend Estimate: $8 million

5. Taken 2
Weekend Estimate: $6 million; $125 million total

Anghus Houvouras

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