The weekend kicked off with a mild rumbler and closed out with a sputter, as not even Lionsgate's completely stupid Punisher remake of a remake of a remake managed to connect with completely-stupid-movie-loving audiences. Still, things continued to bode well for indepe—we mean specialty films—with Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, and a number of other brain-fertilizing offerings continuing to show specialty legs. That said—buckle-up for a ride on the post-Thanksgiving Deja Vu Express, aka the Grove Trolley to Movie Hell:
1. Four Christmases - $18.180 million
The LAT's Patrick Goldstein laid out his compelling case over the weekend for why Nicole Kidman is not, in the traditional sense, a classic "movie star" ("...Exhibit 7D: Movie stars can arch one or more eyebrows..."), but we wonder how his litmus test would apply to Reese Witherspoon, who boasts the #1 movie in America for the second week in a row. Surely, if America's Jake-Wrangling, Alpha-Type Sweetheart can swindle another 18 mil for this drek, she's ably proven how she still meets every movie star qualification, thereby placing some breathing room between herself and fearsome salary-terrorist Katherine Heigl.
2. Twilight - $13.197 million
The incendiary "leaked" Facebook exchanges of Count Hair-Productula are looking more and more to have been the work of a malicious internet prankster. Unfortunately, the other circulating Twilight rumor—that director Catherine Hardwicke would be dropped from the sequel—has proven to be true. We've already offered our shortlist of names best suited take over the reins on this epic tale of sunlight-retardant vampires and the werewolves who sleep with their best friends's girlfriends. May the best director win.
3. Bolt - $9.696 million
Inspired by the town of Batman, Turkey's lawsuit against Warner Bros. for superhero-name-infringement, world's fastest man Usain Bolt is mulling his own lawsuit against Disney for appropriating his copyrighted brand for use in their unsettling, John Travolta-as-dog-who-hangs-out-with-a-gerbil-stuck-inside-a-Benoit-ball movie. Good luck, Usain!
4. Australia - $7 million
It was another modest weekend for Baz Luhrmann's sprawling epic about Australian history, but the director can always take some solace in knowing his tourism campaign for the land of the same name kept people away from Australia in even larger numbers, as world travelers opted for a vacation destination that didn't require them to first get dumped by a lover in a rainstorm and be visited later that night by aboriginal child-spirit Brandon Walters.
N/A. Frost/Nixon - $180,000
That's on just three screens, mind you—here, NYC, and Toronto—bringing in 50% more revenue than The Queen did in its limited release, and nearly twice the amount that appeared to us in our crystal balls. Still, it strikes us as weird, because the Cinerama dome was at least half-empty yesterday afternoon—though it's perhaps a bit too soon to start crying "Historical-Reenactment-of-WaterGateGate!"