Express Stops Short of Incredibles

The weekend turned into an animated battle at the box office as Sony’s holiday pic, The Polar Express, took a run at Disney/Pixar’s superhero spoof, The Incredibles. When the smoke cleared, Bob Par and family indeed proved more powerful than a locomotive. The Incredibles held onto the top spot with an estimated $51 million while The Polar Express pulled around $23.5 to claim second place.

The Incredibles only slipped 27.6% in its second weekend and now stands at around $144 million. The film was directed by Brad Bird, whose feature debut, The Iron Giant, returns to video shelves tomorrow with a special edition loaded with extra features including feature-length commentary with the director.

Buoyed by the incredible second week, Pixar’s stocks hit an all-time high, trading at $93.42 at one point this morning, according to Reuters. The rally comes after prices dipped when The Incredibles opened below the projected $80 million.

With a budget of around $170 million, The Polar Express has a long way to go to break even since it’s only made an estimated $30.8 million since Wednesday. However, the innovative CG family flick should have strong legs over the holiday period, especially if word-of-mouth proves positive. The film is performing strongly at the 59 IMAX theaters that showcase the 3Dversion, thanks in part to attendance from school groups.

There was little room for adult fare to shine this weekend. New Line’s heist movie, After the Sunset, bowed in third place with an estimated $11.5 million, while Universal’s sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, brought in just under $9 million to debut in the No. 4 spot. Rounding out the top five is Focus Features’ Seed of Chucky with around $8.7 million, a good bow for the $12 million fifth installment in the comic horror franchise.

This weekend sees yet another big animated feature enter the arena as The SpongeBob SquarePants movie opens Friday, Nov. 19. The predominantly 2D pic will benefit from a built-in audience, but will it be enough to prove that a traditionally animated movie can hold its own at a time when 3D toons are dominating the box office? Only time will tell.