Raves for ‘Illusionist’ Brighten Weak Holiday Box Office

The+Illusionist-150px

Hollywood didn’t get exactly the present it wanted from the box office for Christmas, with box office failing to set any records despite some high-profile opening, but it did get a look at a small piece of magic in the opening of Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist.

Opening limited at three theaters, The Illusionist debuted Christmas Day and took in about $38,000. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the $2.8 million the film has taken in overseas, but the rave reviews indicate the film’s Oscar ambitions may pay off. The film has earned rave reviews from coast to coast, with Time magazine and critic Richard Corliss$ putting it right up there with Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon as the best animated films of the year.

Another animated Oscar contender from a foreign land, Summer Wars, opened in a single cinema and took in about $1,400.

On the other end of the box office spectrum was the comedy Little Fockers, which opened with an estimated $30 million, followed by $24 million for the Coen brothers’ remake of True Grit and a $19 million second weekend for Disney’s Tron: LegacyTron: Legacy’s domestic total has now reached $87 million, and its $65 million overseas take gives it a $152 million worldwide total.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader continued its run with $9.5 million domestic and a strong overseas take that now totals $165 million to give the film a $227 million worldwide total.

Yogi Bear, a mix of CG-animation and live action, landed in fifth place with $7.8 million. It’s grossed $35 million domestic to date.

Another new entry, Gulliver’s Travels, starring Jack Black and an army of CG Lilliputians, opened weakly in eighth place with $6.3 million in ticket sales.