[Guest post by DRJ]
Either Will Smith and the Chipmunks are the most popular actors of all time or American movie-goers are desperate to see anything but the anti-war movies (like Lions for Lambs, Rendition, and Redacted) that Hollywood has offered so far this Fall:
“Turning into instant box office legends, Warner Bros.’ Will Smith starrer “I Am Legend” became the highest grossing December picture of all time with an estimated opening haul of $76.5 million from 3,606 theaters and Twentieth Century Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks” surpassed all expectations in debuting at an estimated $45 million from 3,475 runs.
Solidifying Smith’s status as one of the world’s most bankable stars, “Legend” is the new lord and master of the Christmas frame, beating out previous record-holder “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which opened to $72.6 million in December 2003. “Legend,” which Warners produced and co-financed with Village Roadshow Pictures, is the 16th highest opener of all time for anytime of the year.
“Alvin,” showing strength across all age groups, enjoyed the second-highest December opening ever for a film rated G or PG after Disney’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” which opened to $65.5 million in 2005. “Alvin” is the eighth highest-grossing December film ever.
Combined, the two films jolted the domestic box office back to life after a brutal fall, which has been posted steady declines year-over-year.“
No offense to Will Smith and the Chipmunks – I like them all – but almost anything could lure me to the theater compared to Hollywood’s recent fare.