Flushed Away Holds Ground

The CG-animated feature Flushed Away from DreamWorks Animation and Aardman Animations held onto its No. 3 spot over the weekend despite the debut of four new wide-release movies. The toon picked up another $16.6 million (est.) to bring its two-week total to around $39.8 million. Just barely edging it out for second place again was Disney’s The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause , which held tight with an estimated $16.9 million while 20th Century Fox’s Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan remained the No. 1 movie in America with approximately $28.2 million in its second week.

Though Flushed Away hasn’t risen to the top of the heap, it’s staying power proved more potent than the premiere of Stranger The Fiction , Sony’s new comedy starring proven box-office draw Will Ferrell. The live-action pic debuted to a lackluster $13.4 million to land at No. 4. None of the weekend’s openers performed particularly well. Though the horror genre has been hot lately, Rogue Pictures’ The Return starring Sarah Michelle Gellar opened at No. 9 with just $4.4 million while Fox’s Russel Crowe romantic comedy A Good Year took in an estimated $3.7 million to round out the top 10.

Finally dropping out of the top 10 this weekend was Sony Animation’s Open Season, another animated feature that showed legs this season. After six weeks in the upper tier, the movie dropped down to No. 15 with around $1.4 million for the weekend and a seven-week cumulative draw of approximately $83.5 million.

This weekend sees the release of Warner Bros.’ Happy Feet, a CG feature about a young penguin who has to rely on his fancy footwork to get noticed in a society where mates are attracted by singing. Directed by George Miller (Babe: Pig in the City, the Mad Max films), the movie has been receiving good reviews but may suffer from bringing up the tail of a long string of CG critter pics. The two other animated films yet to debut theatrically in the U.S. this year are Luc Besson’s Arthur and the Invisibles, which The Weinstein Co. is releasing domestically on Dec. 15 and Sony Classics’ Paprika, Satoshi Kon’s latest mind game of a movie.