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Box office: 'True Grit' almost gallops past 'Little Fockers' [Updated]

January 2, 2011 |  9:28 am

TrueGrit2 "Little Fockers" did hold onto the No. 1 spot at the box office over New Year's weekend, but the real holiday box-office champ turned out to be "True Grit."

The western, directed by the Coen brothers and starring Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon, sold an estimated $24.5 million in tickets on its second weekend in theaters. That put it just behind the more hyped and more expensive "Little Fockers," starring Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller, which took in $26.3 million.

No new movies debuted nationwide the week after Christmas as studios focused on raking in more money with its big holiday films. With many people off work and kids out of school, the last seven days were some of the most lucrative that the industry had seen all year.

Moviegoing trends were about the same as those over Christmas weekend.

"Little Fockers" remained the most popular holiday movie but also something of a disappointment, with total ticket sales now at $103.2 million, or about 64% of the total of "Meet the Fockers" at the same point in its run in 2004. Together with Paramount Pictures and Relativity Media, "Fockers" domestic distributor Universal Pictures reportedly spent a hefty $130 million to $140 million on production, though a studio spokeswoman maintained that the cost was about $100 million.

With an expected final domestic gross just short of $200 million and a little less overseas, that makes "Little Fockers" a decent performer but far from the monster hit many had expected going into the holiday season.

"True Grit," meanwhile, looks to be very profitable for Paramount, which spent only about $38 million on production. It's already the most successful Coen brothers film ever, with a total gross of $86.8 million, and is on its way to grossing well over $100 million.

Several other movies saw a substantial jump in their grosses from Christmas weekend, indicating that they had strong word-of-mouth. They included Disney's animated "Tangled," for which ticket sales grew 56%; "Yogi Bear," which rose 66%; and "The King's Speech," which increased 70% (assisted by the fact that it expanded wide after playing in just a few theaters last Friday).

But Walt Disney Studios' hopes that "Tron: Legacy" sill blossom into a hit family film are fading. It was the only top 10 movie in theaters at least two weeks to see a decline in ticket sales -- a modest 4% but still an indication that it's not building momentum as much as many other pictures in the market.

BlueValentineThe total domestic gross for the costly 3-D event film is $130.9 million. So far, there's no indication it will perform significantly better overseas, as its foreign take stands at $110 million so far.

[Updated, 11:16 a.m.: Overseas, "Gulliver's Travels" posted a solid $10.9-million opening in Britain despite having flopped in the U.S. and Canada. Playing in only five of the top 15 markets, the Jack Black comedy is already at $47 million internationally, nearly double its domestic take.

Another film that's performing significantly better with foreign audiences is "The Chronicles of Narnia: The  Voyage of the Dawn Treader." Its foreign gross is now $210 million, nearly 2 1/2 times its total in the United States and Canada.]

In limited release, the Ryan Gosling-Michelle Williams romantic drama "Blue Valentine" had a strong opening. It debuted Wednesday at four theaters in Los Angeles and New York and has collected $277,945.

The Mike Leigh-directed drama "Another Year" launched in six theaters on Wednesday to a decent $173,175.

[Updated, 9:50 a.m: Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office, with international grosses when available, according to studio estimates and Hollywood.com:

1. "Little Fockers" (Universal/Paramount/Relativity): $26.3 million in its second weekend in theaters, down 15%. Domestic total: $103.2 million. $22.5 million overseas in 41 foreign markets. International total: $72 million.

2. "True Grit" (Paramount/Skydance): $24.5 million in its second weekend in theaters, down 1%. Domestic total: $86.8 million.

3. "Tron: Legacy" (Disney): $18.3 million in its third weekend in theaters, down 4%. Domestic total: $130.9 million. $23.7 million overseas in 40 foreign markets. International total: $110 million.

4. "Yogi Bear" (Warner Bros.): $13 million in its third weekend in theaters, up 66%. Domestic total: $66.1 million.

5. "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" (Fox/Walden): $10.5 million in its fourth weekend in theaters, up 11%. Domestic total: $87.1 million. $21.4 million overseas in 68 foreign markets. International total: $210 million.

6. "Tangled" (Disney): $10 million in its sixth weekend in theaters, up 55%. Domestic total: $168 million. $14.8 million overseas in 23 foreign markets. International total: $146.5 million.

7. "The Fighter" (Relativity/Paramount/Weinstein): $10 million in its fourth weekend in theaters, up 45%. Domestic total: $46.4 million.

8. "Gulliver's Travels" (Fox/Dune/Ingenious): $9.1 million in its second weekend in theaters, up 44% (opened last Saturday). Domestic total: $27.2 million. $24 million overseas in 33 foreign markets. International total: $47 million.

9. "Black Swan" (Fox Searchlight/Cross Creek): $8.5 million in its fifth weekend in theaters, up 35%. Domestic total: $47.4 million.

10. "The King's Speech" (Weinstein Co.): $7.6 million in its sixth weekend in theaters, up 70%. Domestic total: $22.8 million.]

-- Ben Fritz

Photos, from top: Jeff Bridges and  Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit." Credit: Lorey Sebastian / Paramount Pictures. Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling in "Blue Valentine." Credit: The Weinstein Co.

[For the record, 11:23 a.m.: An earlier version of this post included a line that said grosses for "The Fighter" rose 45% over Christmas weekend.  The film only saw a 32% rise.]

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