Disney's TRON: Legacy was off to a first place start of $44.03 million this weekend. The 3D sci-fi sequel opened in line with pre-release expectations, which varied widely heading into the weekend. TRON: Legacy skewed quite heavily towards male moviegoers, who accounted for 66 percent of its audience. The film played much more evenly between younger and older moviegoers as 46 percent of its audience was 25 and under. Pre-Christmas December releases typically see strong holding power throughout the holidays, but TRON: Legacy will need to start attracting more female and family moviegoers if it is going to experience typical holiday holding power. As for this weekend, TRON: Legacy was front-loaded with an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.51 to 1 (Friday's opening day gross was $17.51 million).
One advantage TRON: Legacy will have going forward is continued higher priced 3D grosses. The film did especially well on 3D screens and in IMAX locations this weekend. IMAX alone was responsible for $10.45 million; representing a sizable 24 percent of the weekend gross.
TRON: Legacy didn't make quite the same impact internationally, as it opened with $23.0 million from 26 foreign territories (placing the film's worldwide launch at $67.0 million). However, the film still opened in first place in a number of major markets that included Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom.
As was widely expected Warner's Yogi Bear opened in second place, though it came in a bit under expectations with a debut of $16.41 million. The 3D family film didn't light the box office on fire with a per-location average of $4,669, but benefited from opening in 3,515 locations. Family films opening the week before Christmas typically hold up exceptionally well during the holidays (regardless of word of mouth). That likely means that Yogi Bear will display strong holding power going forward, especially given the lack of new competition for family audiences in the coming weeks (outside of Fox's Gulliver's Travels).
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader experienced a significant, but expected, second weekend decline of 48 percent. Fox's fantasy sequel placed in third with $12.39 million. Dawn Treader has grossed a disappointing $42.75 million through its first ten days of release, but should begin to hold up much better going forward thanks to the holidays. Dawn Treader continued to perform stronger internationally by grossing $29.9 million this weekend. That brings the film's international total to $124.4 million and worldwide total to $167.2 million.
Finishing just behind Dawn Treader in fourth place was The Fighter. Paramount's Oscar Hopeful for Best Picture grossed $12.14 million in its first weekend of wide release. That was in line with the film's pre-release expectations. On the heels of a strong one-week platform start last week, The Fighter has grossed $12.57 million to date. The Fighter will hope to ride both awards buzz and solid word of mouth throughout the holidays and beyond.
Speaking of awards buzz and solid word of mouth, Fox Searchlight's Black Swan continued to perform well in its first weekend of major release. The fellow Oscar Hopeful for Best Picture grossed $8.38 million from 959 locations, giving it a healthy per-location average of $8,742 and a seventh place finish. Black Swan has grossed an impressive $15.79 million in 17 days of release and is set to expand into more locations on Wednesday.
While most holdovers in wide release took big hits this weekend, Disney's Tangled was an exception. The computer animated film fell a respectable 39 percent to take fifth place with $8.78 million. Tangled has grossed $127.92 million in 26 days and should experience excellent holds throughout the holidays. Internationally, Tangled grossed $14.0 million from 17 foreign territories this weekend. That places the film's international total at $97.8 million and worldwide total at $225.7 million.
For the second straight weekend the news wasn't good for Sony as the studio's How Do You Know opened all the way down in eighth place with $7.48 million. The big-budget comedy opened just 13 percent stronger than last year's Did You Hear About the Morgans? and 15 percent softer than 2004's Spanglish. Opening the film right between the studio's own The Tourist (which was down 48 percent to take sixth place this weekend with $8.52 million) and Universal's Little Fockers backfired in a big way. Even if How Do You Know can manage to hold up well throughout the holidays, it still looks to go down as one of the year's bigger disappointments.
Additional reporting by Phil Contrino.