Will Smith Versus Jim Carrey: Comedy Versus Drama

Dec 20, 2008–Jim Carrey’s comedy “Yes Man” was the top film at the box-office on Friday with $6.5 million, whereas Will Smith’s drama occupied number two with $5.2 million.

Distributed by Warner and playing at 3,434 locales, “Yes Man” bested the opening day of Carrey’s previous PG-13 December comedy, “Fun With Dick and Jane,” which generated $3.8 million in 2005 as well as a three-day weekend of $14.4 million. “Dick and Jane” had a domestic take of $110.3 million.

Marking Smith’s second Sony drama with Italian director Gabriele Muccino, “Seven Pounds,” playing at 2,758, charted under the $9 million first day of their first collaboration “The Pursuit of Happyness,” in 2006.  “Happyness” opened to $26.5 million and ended its domestic run with $162.6 million. Smith also received an Oscar nod for best actor for his performance in “Happyness.”

Universal’s animated “The Tale of Despereaux” based on the Kate DiCamillo kids’ book took in $3.5 million from 3,104. Outside Disney’s reissues, the majors typically have churned out few animated pics during the December frame. “Despereaux’s” first day gross is in line with previous toons for the winter month, notching ahead of Disney’s 2000 feature “Emperor’s New Groove” ($2.3 million) and charting under DreamWorks’ 1998 pic “The Prince of Egypt” ($4.3 million).

Fox’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still” declined 76% in its second Friday, earning $2.8 million off 3,560 for fourth place. Through its first eight days, the Keanu Reeves sci-fi remake has generated $41.3 million.

Warner holiday comedy “Four Christmases” continued to stay afloat in the top five, dipping only 47% in its fourth Friday. The Reese Witherspoon-Vince Vaughn vehicle is close to the century mark, drawing $2.2 million off 3,515 for a domestic gross to date of $94.6 million.

Fox Searchlight scored with Darren Aronofsky's drama, “The Wrestler,” which scored a per site gross of $14,375.  In its first three days, the Mickey Rourke vehicle has already pinned down $142,506 from four N.Y. L.A. showings, reeling in $57,000 alone on Friday. Picture has already picked up a SAG and Golden Globe best actor nomination for Rourke’s turn as an over-the-hill wrestler.

Fox Searchlight’s “Slumdog Millionaire” continued to chart in the top 10, slotting eighth in its sixth Friday with $754,000 and a cumulative to date of $9.8 million. After hiking its theater count from 169 to 589, “Slumdog” saw a 35% gain in its Friday-to-Friday B.O.

Warner-Clint Eastwood picture “Gran Torino” charted the day’s second best theater average behind “The Wrestler” with $6,143 or $117,000 from 19 sites. The film's second Friday was up 56% after expanding from six engagements and its eight day cumulative is currently at $509,000.

Miramax’s “Doubt” moved from 15 playdates to 39, seeing a 32% gain in its second Friday with $185,000 and a current B.O. of $904,000. The per site average for the John Patrick Shanley film was $4,745.