You know what they say — once you go black, the glory of hand-drawn animation is sure to return. (Or something like that.) At any rate, The Princess and the Frog, Disney’s first animated musical about a black woman who isn’t even a princess before she’s turned into a frog, went into wide release this weekend after a two-week NY/LA engagement and danced its way to the top of the box office to the tune of $25 million. It’s sure to outgross the 2-D animation department’s last costly flop, 2004’s Home on the Range, and it may yet pave the way for the studio’s first Latina icon … Oh, who are we kidding? Let’s just be grateful for The Emperor’s New Groove and Lilo & Stitch … Yeah, that’s right, I actually like those flicks, wanna fight about it?
Speaking of fighting for black people (or something like that), The Blind Side has stuck around as the season’s unparalleled feel-good flick with $15.5 million in second place, bringing its total gross to $150 million and making its Oscar chances all the more feasible (oh, why’d they have to make this a ten-nominee year?). Speaking of fighting for black people AND awards, Clint Eastwood’s prestige-coasted Invictus opened to a modest $9 million, although that’s certainly better than any other Nelson Mandela rugby pic this year.
In fourth place, you’ve got your glitter vamps (New Moon - $8 million); fifth, your Scrooges (A Christmas Carol — $6.9 million); sixth, your war vet love triangle (Brothers — $5 million). Seventh place went to the end of the world with 2012 ($4.4 million), eighth place went to the end of the world with Old Dogs (also $4.4 million), ninth place went to the best B-movie out there with Armored (not great, but fun; $3.5 million), and tenth place went to the worst B-movie out there with Ninja Assassin ($2.7 million).
Up in the Air added over 50 screens to take eleventh place with $2.5 million; expect this to expand steadily through Christmas. The Lovely Bones, Peter Jackson’s (misguided) adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel, opened with $116,000 at three locations, earning the weekend’s highest per-location average with $38,000; it won’t go wide until January 15th, as Paramount wants to keep things focused on Up in the Air as the Film of the Moment. And down in fourteenth place, Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox quietly outgrossed his The Darjeeling Limited, and I must once again encourage you to seek it out while you can. Trust me, the black princess is gonna be around for a while.