Move over, princesses: there's some new Disney royalty in town. Like Pac-Man gobbling ghosts, "Wreck-It Ralph" chewed up the competition over the weekend, racking up a high score of $49.1 million for Disney Animation. "Ralph" had the biggest opening ever for a Disney Animation flick, knocking 2010's "Tangled" from the throne as it debuted at #1. And despite the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the box-office top 12 was up 20 percent.
Though Pixar's John Lasseter served as a producer, "Ralph" was a Walt Disney Pictures movie, and its opening was pretty similar to that of "Tangled" two years ago. Reviews were extremely positive as well, with the kid flick's mix of '80s video game nostalgia and heart boasting an 84 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, which aggregates reviews from film critics. Like an arcade game, "Ralph" should continue to rack up coins for at least a couple of weeks; it won't face much competition for kid audiences until "Rise of the Guardians" arrives in theaters.
Denzel Washington's "Flight" nabbed the #2 spot with a $25 million opening despite playing on roughly half as many screens as "Ralph." "Back to the Future" director Robert Zemeckis' first live-action film since "Cast Away," which came out 12 years ago, posted Washington's fifth-biggest debut ever.
Rapper/producer the RZA's directorial debut, "The Man With the Iron Fists," was #4 with $8.2 million. The Wu-Tang Clan mastermind's Quentin Tarantino-produced ode to classic martial arts films was bankrolled by Universal for just $15 million, so its opening isn't a huge disappointment. Actor Ben Affleck's third directorial outing, "Argo," was #3 with $10.2 million. The '70s era hostage drama has made $75.8 million domestically, generating Oscar buzz along the way.
Liam Neeson's "Taken 2" rounded out the top five with another $6 million. The action sequel has made $125.6 million since it opened, but will surely be overshadowed by the latest James Bond film, "Skyfall," this weekend. The 23rd entry in the Bond series has already earned nearly $300 million abroad.
"Taken 2" and "Hotel Transylvania" are the first fall movies to cross the $100 million mark. Expect "Wreck-It Ralph" to easily do the same. Giant studio pictures "Skyfall," "Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2," "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and "Jack Reacher" are all due before 2012 is over.
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