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BENDIS!
12-17-2006, 02:44 PM
'Happyness' delivers box office joy By DAVID GERMAIN, AP Movie Writer
Sun Dec 17, 2:04 PM ET



LOS ANGELES - Not even a dragon or the world's most-beloved spider could deny Will Smith another first-place finish at the box office.

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Sony's father-son drama "The Pursuit of Happyness," starring Smith and his own son, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, debuted as the No. 1 movie with $27 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Smith's latest topped 20th Century Fox's dragon fantasy "Eragon," which opened in second place with $23.45 million, and Paramount's children's tale "Charlotte's Web," which premiered a distant third with $12 million.

The previous weekend's No. 1 movie, Mel Gibson's Mayan saga "Apocalypto," fell to sixth place with $7.7 million, raising its 10-day total to $27.9 million.

The story of a struggling dad who becomes homeless along with his young son, "Pursuit of Happyness" joins a long line of No. 1 openings for Smith, including the action tales "Independence Day" and "I, Robot."

"Audiences around the world love him," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution at Sony, whose past hits with Smith include the "Men in Black" flicks and last year's romantic comedy "Hitch."

"Everyone who sees Will Smith or meets Will Smith feels like he could be their best friend," Bruer said. "He has that type of charisma that resonates throughout whatever room he's in."

Combining live action and computer animation, "Charlotte's Web" had a soft opening despite an all-star voice cast including Julia Roberts, Robert Redford and Oprah Winfrey in E.B. White's classic about a spider that befriends a lonely pig.

Don Harris, executive vice president of distribution at Paramount, said the studio hopes "Charlotte's Web" will follow the pattern of other pre-Christmas family releases such as "Stuart Little" and "The Prince of Egypt," which opened in the same range but held on through the holidays to become hits.

"The movie has every chance to get to $100 million off of this opening," Harris said.

Paramount's musical "Dreamgirls," starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson in an adaptation of the stage hit, opened to big numbers at three theaters in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Premiering with reserved seating and special programs at a premium ticket price of $25, the film took in $360,000, a healthy start to its nationwide release on Christmas.

George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh's latest collaboration, "The Good German," debuted solidly with $78,572 at five theaters. Clooney stars with Cate Blanchett and Tobey Maguire in a black-and-white tale of murder and intrigue in Berlin just after World War II.

Overall business was off, with the top 12 movies taking in $112.3 million, down 8.3 percent compared to the same weekend last year, when two blockbusters "King Kong" and "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" were Nos. 1 and 2.

This weekend's holdover films retained strong audiences, though, a sign that many current movies may have a long shelf life, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers.

"It's hard to say this is a positive thing that this is a down weekend. But the strength of this weekend has been the holdovers," Dergarabedian said. "There is a lot of depth to the marketplace. It's a direct reflection of audience satisfaction. That's more important I think than beating last year's competition."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "The Pursuit of Happyness," $27 million.

2. "Eragon," $23.45 million.

3. "Charlotte's Web," $12 million.

4. "Happy Feet," $8.5 million.

5. "The Holiday," $8.2 million.

6. "Apocalypto," $7.7 million.

7. "Blood Diamond," $6.3 million.

8. "Casino Royale," $5.7 million.

9. "The Nativity Story," $4.7 million.

10. "Unaccompanied Minors," $3.7 million.

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Bill Nolan
12-17-2006, 02:46 PM
"Happyness" Delivers Box Office Joi would have been so much better as a headline. I'm disappointed in the AP...

- B

Ray G.
12-17-2006, 02:46 PM
That's a good bow, but what's really shocking is how badly the other two debuts did.

Vonn Hennigar
12-17-2006, 02:47 PM
I'm shocked that Eragon even made $ 23 DOLLARS let alone $23 million.

Are people that bored?

NickT
12-17-2006, 02:48 PM
That's a good bow, but what's really shocking is how badly the other two debuts did.
I dunno. Eragon had no big pulls, and we really haven't seen any big fantasy hits outside of three huge novel series.

Bill Nolan
12-17-2006, 02:50 PM
I know its received decent reviews, but Charlotte Web's previews were practically offensive to me, as a parent. Infantile fart jokes don't make me think "beloved children's classic"... And I really think Julia Roberts has a negative public perception akin to that of Tom Cruise at this point. Through no fault of her own, either, as far as I can tell. She just grates.

- B

Joe Henderson
12-17-2006, 02:55 PM
I was so disappointed in Eragon. I was hoping for "Poseidon" bad, but instead I got dull, boring bad.

WillieLee
12-17-2006, 03:07 PM
Why is there a 'y' in happiness?

bartleby
12-17-2006, 03:12 PM
Why is there a 'y' in happiness?

In the movie, "happyness" is misspelled that way on a banner made by kids at his son's school.

WillieLee
12-17-2006, 03:14 PM
In the movie, "happyness" is misspelled that way on a banner made by kids at his son's school.

Understood.

THWIP!
12-17-2006, 03:35 PM
I dunno. Eragon had no big pulls, and we really haven't seen any big fantasy hits outside of three huge novel series.

What about Harry Potter?

bartleby
12-17-2006, 03:37 PM
What about Harry Potter?

I'm pretty sure that's one of the three huge novel series along with LORD OF THE RINGS and THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA.

NickT
12-17-2006, 03:38 PM
What about Harry Potter?
That's one of the three :)

LOTR, Potter and Narnia. Take those three series away, and you know what the biggest flat-out fantasy movies have been at the US box office? Hook and the Scorpion King.

bartleby
12-17-2006, 03:45 PM
Take those three series away, and you know what the biggest flat-out fantasy movies have been at the US box office? Hook and the Scorpion King.

If you're pretending that STAR WARS isn't fantasy.

HCMarvel
12-17-2006, 03:47 PM
If you're pretending that STAR WARS isn't fantasy.

or indiana jones



Or the Passion of Christ

NickT
12-17-2006, 03:47 PM
If you're pretending that STAR WARS isn't fantasy.
I am, even though I do agree that Star Wars is fantasy, more so than Sci-Fi.

Andrew j
12-17-2006, 03:49 PM
It did look the most promising of the ones opening this week. Saw the holiday this week and will probrably see Pursuit next week.

WillieLee
12-17-2006, 03:53 PM
That's one of the three :)

LOTR, Potter and Narnia. Take those three series away, and you know what the biggest flat-out fantasy movies have been at the US box office? Hook and the Scorpion King.

Ben-Hur?

LilPoe
12-17-2006, 03:53 PM
And I really think Julia Roberts has a negative public perception akin to that of Tom Cruise at this point. Through no fault of her own, either, as far as I can tell.

- B

Can you explain why this is? Did she have some sort of scandal I'm unaware of that would make her as unliked as Cruise is?

WillieLee
12-17-2006, 03:55 PM
Can you explain why this is? Did she have some sort of scandal I'm unaware of that would make her as unliked as Cruise is?

I think some outlets got tired of her, just because. When she did that Broadway play there was a lot of negative press.

THWIP!
12-17-2006, 03:56 PM
That's one of the three :)

LOTR, Potter and Narnia. Take those three series away, and you know what the biggest flat-out fantasy movies have been at the US box office? Hook and the Scorpion King.

I thought you meant the three book series. I took that as LotR.

andrew french
12-17-2006, 04:03 PM
it should be amazing.

it's written by the guy who did weather man, so i'll be seeing it tonight.

TheGibson
12-17-2006, 04:39 PM
I heard that Eragon copies Star Wars (A New Hope) beat for beat the entire movie.

The Roman Candle
12-17-2006, 05:01 PM
In the movie, "happyness" is misspelled that way on a banner made by kids at his son's school.

Spoilers! :x

Jasmine
12-17-2006, 06:11 PM
Surprised at the numbers for Charlotte's Web, thought it would be in second place at least.

Bill Nolan
12-17-2006, 06:27 PM
Can you explain why this is? Did she have some sort of scandal I'm unaware of that would make her as unliked as Cruise is?

I really can't point to anything. The world just got tired of her, I think. Kind of an "Enough, already!" Plus, her voiceacting is pitiful.

- B

bartleby
12-17-2006, 06:31 PM
I really can't point to anything. The world just got tired of her, I think. Kind of an "Enough, already!" Plus, her voiceacting is pitiful.


I don't really get the sense that "the world" has gotten tired of her... just the snide people on Internet message boards that have disliked her from the very moment she became famous. There's been an obvious shift in public perception of Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson. I don't see how anything has changed in regards to Julia Roberts.

Joe Henderson
12-17-2006, 06:36 PM
I don't really get the sense that "the world" has gotten tired of her... just the snide people on Internet message boards that have disliked her from the very moment she became famous. There's been an obvious shift in public perception of Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson. I don't see how anything has changed in regards to Julia Roberts.

I'd disagree. In my opinion, her warm everygirl status (or the girl every girl wanted to be) has been swapped with a more distant, regal persona which isn't as appealing to everyone. I don't think people have turned on her; I just don't think people are very interested in her right now.

Bill Nolan
12-17-2006, 06:36 PM
I don't really get the sense that "the world" has gotten tired of her... just the snide people on Internet message boards that have disliked her from the very moment she became famous.

But I LOVED those three movies in a row where the were musical montages of her trying on different hats!

- B

bartleby
12-18-2006, 01:44 PM
I'd disagree. In my opinion, her warm everygirl status (or the girl every girl wanted to be) has been swapped with a more distant, regal persona which isn't as appealing to everyone. I don't think people have turned on her; I just don't think people are very interested in her right now.

I'll agree that there's a disinterest in Julia Roberts right now, but I wouldn't categorize it as disdain. And I don't know that it has as much to do with her personality as much as it has to do with her film choices over the past five years. Since AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS, she really hasn't done a typical "Julia Roberts role" in a "Julia Roberts Movie."

Blake Sims
12-18-2006, 02:47 PM
I kinda want to see this. It looks alright, it looks like one of those feel good movies.

Kirblar
12-18-2006, 02:51 PM
I've seen no ads for Charlotte's Web. None in Print, none on TV, none on the Internet.

So that Box Office isn't suprising in the least. I'd expect Eragon/Happyness to drop pretty fast as well.

xyzzy
12-18-2006, 02:52 PM
I dunno. Eragon had no big pulls, and we really haven't seen any big fantasy hits outside of three huge novel series.

According to my wife, the school counselor, the Eragon books are pretty big with the kids these days.

Rod Nunley
12-18-2006, 02:58 PM
Happyness was all right. Kind of long. Not great.

Foolish Mortal
12-18-2006, 02:58 PM
I don't think it's Julia's fault, I think it's the movie studios fault for ramming the "All-American", "Girl next door" image of her down our throats for years. That's what people get sick of.

ReporterSteven
12-18-2006, 05:51 PM
I think some outlets got tired of her, just because. When she did that Broadway play there was a lot of negative press.

Maybe on the East Coast. Here in Seattle, I don't even know what you're talking about. She was in a Broadway production?

Happyness was a decent pic. Not the best of the year although I bet Smith gets an Academy Award nod for the role. His son was great.