The weekend box office saw a revival with a hyped start from Will Smith's I Am Legend pushing out The Golden Compass from first place to give December its biggest weekend gross ever since the release in 2003 of the The Lord of the Rings: The Return the King.
The Warner Bros. Sci-fi thriller 'Legend' raked in an estimated $76.5 million in its debut while newcomer Alvin and the Chipmunks (Fox), a remake of the chipmunk-cartoon series, took second place with $45 million in sales according to tracking company Media by Numbers.
It was the biggest December weekend gross ever, inching past The Lord of the Rings: The Return the King's $72.9 million in 2003, said Warner Bros. Legend surpassed what Warner had initially hoped for which was in the mid-$40 million range. Internationally, it also debuted at No. 1 in seven of its eight Asian markets, including Japan ($6.4 million), South Korea ($6.3 million) and Taiwan ($2.4 million).
New Line's The Golden Compass fell 66 percent from its release three weeks ago, pushing it into third position with $9 million in sales. Disney's Enchanted fairy tale film brought in $6 million, pushing its total gross to $92.2 million since its release four weeks ago.
Among other openings, teen dramedy Juno showed the most promise with $1.4 million in its second weekend at 40 sites.
Christmas-themed The Perfect Holiday drew in a lower than expected $2.3 million at 1,307 sites, while drama The Kite Runner posted a passable $471,713 at 35 locations and is scheduled for a 350-theater roll-out this Friday.