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December 08, 2008

'Frost/Nixon' blooms at the boxoffice


Vince Vaughn couldn't stifle the gag reflex but movie goers sure have, to the tune of $18.2 million for "Four Christmases," making the comedy that leans heavily on baby puke jokes the highest-grossing pic for the second week in a row. Cume: $70.8 million.

Sorry, Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon, but you could've been anybody in this scenario. Please choose a follow-up wisely.

That's the yin of the boxoffice from the weekend. Here's the yang: "Frost/Nixon" racked up a fat $60,049 per screen average (compared with $5,451 for "Four Christmases"), buffing its awards buzz and proving that some people prefer a history lesson over dirty-diaper quips.

For some analysis on per-screen averages and what they mean -- something about $25,000 and 50% drop-offs -- go here.

Having previously admitted our embarrassing addiction to the "Twilight" book series, we'll go you one further today. We saw the movie -- again. We were not alone, not that night and not in general. Repeat viewing is pretty decent for the regular-girl-falls-for-hot-vampire romance, putting "Twilight" in second place this weekend. Its haul so far: $138.6 million, which is about $100 million above its production costs. A sequel is assured, but without Catherine Hardwicke?

After being too hung up on comparisons to the book at first viewing, we let it wash over us the second time, seeing that the rain-drenched Romeo and Juliet-ish story stood on its own. And despite some really scary stuff, and by that we mean the pasty makeup and Looney Tunes special effects, we now deem it a good little flick.

We would've liked to see what Hardwicke could do with "New Moon" and a lot more cash.


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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