By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood November 3, 2012 at 3:23PM
"Wreck-It Ralph" started off with a non-holiday Friday gross of over $13 million--huge for an animated film--which is likely to be quadrupled for the weekend. After "Hotel Transylvania" owned October, "Ralph," from Disney Studios, is in position to dominate early November. With Thanksgiving ahead, it looks the crowdpleaser has a chance to be among the top animated releases of the year.
Robert Zemeckis' "Flight" (Paramount) opened close to a third better than "Argo," last month's well-reviewed adult-oriented drama, even though it is screening in a tad more than half as many theaters. With heavy advertising and leaning the continued drawing power of Denzel Washington, it is initially playing mainly to older audiences who make up a smaller proportion of the movie-going audience overall, making this an even more impressive start.
The US/Hong Kong co-production "The Man With the Iron Fists" ended up third for the day, but will likely lag behind the still strong "Argo" when full weekend figures arrive.
Overall business was up only slightly from a year ago (for the top 10, $35 to $32 million), but considering the ongoing difficulties in key population areas and the expectation of improvement, this comes as a relief to studios and theater owners. The uptick is substantial (about 40%) from the pre-Halloween weekend's uninspiring new films.
The Top Ten for Friday (rounded off):
1) "Wreck-It Ralph" (Buena Vista) - $13.4 million
2) "Flight" (Paramount) - $8.2 million
3) "The Man With the Iron Fists" (Universal) - $3.0 million
4) "Argo" (Warner Brothers) - $3.0 million
5) "Taken 2" (20th Century-Fox) - $1.8 million
6) "Cloud Atlas" (Warner Bros.) - $1.5 million
7) "Paranormal Activity 4" (Paramount) - $1.4 million
8) (tie) "Hotel Transylvania" (Sony) - $1.1 million
8) (tie) "Silent Hill: Revelation" (Open Road) - $1.1 million
10) "Here Comes the Boom" (Sony) - $1 million