Twenty-eight years after the original Tron did merely okay at the box office, Disney decided to throw $200 million into reviving the moderately enjoyed techno-marvel with Tron: Legacy, another inside-the-machine adventure designed to take advantage of the latest in computer effects. The somewhat predictable result? It did merely okay again. With $43.6 million on opening weekend, Tron: Legacy earned nearly three times as much as other box-office contenders, but it’s digging itself out of a deep production-and-marketing hole. On the plus side, it’s got little competition for family-friendly spectacle this Christmas; on the minus, it’s boring as fuck. Still, some positive spin could be put on its performance, which is more than could be said of the other big openers: Yogi Bear accidentally justified its existence by inspiring a brilliant parody video, then had the courtesy to whiff in theaters, taking $16.7 million for second place. Though it marked Reese Witherspoon’s return to the screen after a two-year absence, James L. Brooks’ romantic comedy How Do You Know was a non-starter, riding a poor title and unkind reviews to $7.6 million and eighth place.
In limited release, the well-regarded Nicole Kidman-Aaron Eckhart drama Rabbit Hole got off to a somewhat tepid start relative to its star power, earning $11,000 per screen on five screens. Given the difficulty of the subject matter—a couple grappling with the death of their only child—this does not bode well. News was even worse for Casino Jack, the feature version of the Jack Abramoff story, which took $5,000 per screen on seven screens. Nevertheless, a pair of genuine arthouse sensations kept rolling along: Black Swan, expanding to nearly 1,000 screens, raked in $8.3 million for seventh place, suggesting that it has some life in the multiplex; and the Oscarrific The King’s Speech enjoyed the best per screen average of the week with $25,000 per screen on 43 screens—this despite being in its fourth week.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.