November 29, 2004
‘National Treasure’ Cashes in at No. 1
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "National Treasure" continued to strike box-office gold, taking in $33.1 million from Friday to Sunday to retain the No. 1 slot over the busy Thanksgiving weekend.
"The Incredibles" remained in second place with $24.1 million, while Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis' holiday comedy "Christmas With the Kranks" debuted at No. 3 with $22.7 million over the three-day weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Premiering Wednesday, "Christmas With the Kranks" took in $32 million over the five-day holiday period.
The weekend's other new wide release, Oliver Stone's historical epic "Alexander," had a so-so debut of $13.4 million, coming in sixth behind two holdovers, "The Polar Express" (No. 4 with $20.1 million) and "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" (No. 5 with $17.8 million).
Since debuting Wednesday, "Alexander" grossed $21.6 million.
In limited release, the French-language film "A Very Long Engagement" opened strongly with $106,000 in four theaters. A love story set in World War I and its aftermath, the film stars Audrey Tautou, reuniting with her "Amelie" director Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
It was a healthy holiday for Hollywood, with the top 12 movies grossing $215 million from Wednesday to Sunday, the second-best Thanksgiving period ever behind 2000's haul of $232.2 million.
With "National Treasure" and "The Incredibles," distributor Disney had the top two films over one of the busiest moviegoing weekends of the year. The one-two punch has helped lift Disney from a box-office slump that lasted most of 2004, with such duds as "The Alamo,""Around the World in 80 Days" and "King Arthur."
Starring Nicolas Cage as an adventurer who steals the Declaration of Independence to uncover clues to a hidden fortune, "National Treasure" raised its 10-day total to $87.9 million.
The cartoon superhero tale "The Incredibles," from "Finding Nemo" creator Pixar Animation, pushed its total since debuting Nov. 5 to $214.7 million, the fifth movie released in 2004 to top $200 million.
Action-packed but carrying family-friendly PG ratings, "National Treasure" and "The Incredibles" have drawn broad audiences.
"'National Treasure' is a blessed movie. It plays matinees loaded with kids and families, and evenings just loaded with adults," said Disney head of distribution Chuck Viane. "It happened with 'The Incredibles' in the same exact way."
With six of the top 10 movies rated PG or G, competition for the family crowd was fierce, but the movies all managed to find a solid slice of the audience.
"Christmas With the Kranks" succeeded despite poor reviews, and distributor Sony and producer Revolution Studios expect its holiday theme will sustain the movie through the end of the year.
The movie benefited from the family appeal of Allen, who starred in the holiday hit "The Santa Clause" and its sequel, and Curtis, fresh off last year's comic romp "Freaky Friday."
"Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis are the poster adults for children's movies," said Tom Sherak, a partner in Revolution Studios, whose founder, Joe Roth, directed "Christmas With the Kranks." The movie is based on John Grisham's novel "Skipping Christmas."
"Alexander," starring Colin Farrell as the Greek conqueror, also got bad reviews, but the R-rated movie served as counterprogramming over a weekend dominated by family flicks.
"We're certainly different than any other movie out there," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., which released "Alexander."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "National Treasure," $33.1 million.
2. "The Incredibles," $24.1 million.
3. "Christmas With the Kranks," $22.7 million.
4. "The Polar Express," $20.1 million.
5. "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie," $17.8 million.
6. "Alexander," $13.4 million.
7. "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason," $6.8 million.
8. "Finding Neverland," $4.7 million.
9. "Ray, $3.9 million.
10. "After the Sunset," $3.3 million.