Monday, November 23, 2009

'New Moon' Pulls In Big Box-Office Numbers

#1 "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" ($140.7 million)

#2 "The Blind Side" ($34.5 million)

#3 "2012" ($26.5 million)

#4 "Planet 51" ($12.6 million)

#5 "A Christmas Carol" ($12.2 million)

The full extent of the "Twilight" phenomenon made itself known this weekend with the debut of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," the second installment in the supernatural romance franchise starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. There was little to no doubt that "New Moon" would emerge as this weekend's box-office champion, but perhaps no one was prepared for just how successful Summit Entertainment's "Twilight" sequel would be.

On Friday alone, "New Moon" managed to earn $72.7 million, surpassing "The Dark Knight" as the single best opening day in cinema history. A hefty $26.3 million chunk of that Friday change came purely from midnight showings, propelling "New Moon" past "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" with the highest-grossing midnight opening of all time. "New Moon" also debuted with the biggest November opening ever and the third-best opening weekend of all time, taking that distinction away from "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

To put the success of "New Moon" in perspective, the first "Twilight" film — which opened almost a year ago to the day — earned only $69.6 million in its debut weekend, demonstrating just how widespread the "Twilight" craze has become in only 12 months.

The audience for the "Twilight" films isn't just made of young women pining for shirtless screen time from Pattinson and Lautner, either — the movie's audience, while mostly female, was divided evenly between viewers under and over the age of 21. Apparently, there is no age restriction when it comes to falling in love with vampire and werewolf heartthrobs.

The success of "Twilight" won't end with "New Moon" either, as "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" launches on June 30, 2010.

Despite the unprecedented victory for "New Moon," credit must be given to some of the film's other competitors this weekend. "The Blind Side," starring Sandra Bullock, managed a second-place finish with an impressive $34.5 million intake. "Planet 51," another newcomer, earned fourth place with $12.6 million. Holdovers "2012" and "A Christmas Carol" also performed adequately under the pressure of "New Moon," winding up with $26.5 million and $12.2 million apiece.

Upcoming Releases

Warner Bros. unleashes "Ninja Assassin" next weekend to combat the formidable vampires and werewolves of "New Moon," while Buena Vista hopes to corner the comedy market with John Travolta and Robin Williams' "Old Dogs."

Jackson, Swift face off at American Music Awards

It's the country cutie versus the King of Pop at this year's American Music Awards.

Taylor Swift comes into Sunday's ceremony with six nominations. Michael Jackson has five. And both are up for artist of the year.

Also vying for the show's top prize are multiple nominees Kings of Leon, Lady Gaga and Eminem.

The American Music Awards honor the year's top-selling artists in the categories of pop/rock, country, rap/hip-hop, soul/R&B, alternative, adult contemporary, Latin and contemporary inspirational. Fans voted online to select the winners.

"The AMAs are like the loose, crazy cousin of the music awards," said rocker Melissa Etheridge, who was to be a presenter on the show, shortly before it began. "They've been around a long time, and they tend to go with whatever is really popular. It's everything. It's a whole big pot all stuck in together, and I love that."

Swift, who has enjoyed a chart-topping year with her crossover album "Fearless," is up for female artist and favorite album in the pop/rock and country categories. She's also nominated for favorite adult-contemporary artist.

Jackson is nominated for male artist and favorite album in the pop/rock and soul/R&B categories for his greatest-hits collection, "Number Ones." The 2003 album surged in popularity after Jackson died in June at age 50.

Eminem has four nominations: Pop/rock male artist and rap/hip-hop artist and album for "Relapse," along with artist of the year. Lady Gaga and Kings of Leon have three nods each. She's up for female artist and album for her debut, "The Fame," and the Nashville quartet is up for alternative artist and favorite pop/rock band.

Other triple-nominees include Beyonce, the Black Eyed Peas and T.I.

Even more than awards, the AMAs are about the performances. That's what AMA presenter Selena Gomez was excited about.

"It's about all coming together and just enjoying music," the teen entertainer said. The performance she was most anticipating?

"Rihanna. I love her," Gomez said.

Etheridge said she was more interested in seeing Lady Gaga.

"I've got to see what she's wearing or what she's not wearing," she said.

More than a dozen artists are set to take the stage Sunday. Besides Rihanna and Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, Green Day, Jennifer Lopez, Lil Wayne, Keith Urban, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige and Adam Lambert are among those planning to perform. Janet Jackson is set to open the show with a medley of songs.

Michael Jackson's glove sells for $350,000 at auction

Michael Jackson's famous white glove sold for $350,000 at a memorabilia auction on Saturday, soaring far past pre-sale estimates, while a black jacket he wore during a 1989 world tour fetched $225,000.

The Jackson memorabilia was the highlight of an auction of hundreds of rock'n'roll items, including many not associated with the "King of Pop," who died in June.

Darren Julien, CEO of Julien's Auctions, which ran the auction, called the glove "the Holy Grail of Michael Jackson," and many expected it to sell for far more than its pre-sale estimate of about $50,000.Add Image

With the added commission, the final price excluding taxes, ran to some $420,000.

The buyer was Hong Kong businessman Hoffman Ma.

Bidding for the black, strap and zipper-laden jacket Jackson wore during the 1989 "Bad" tour soared to $225,000, more than 20 times its estimate. With commission, the tab came to about $275,000.

Fans and dealers turned out at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York's Times Square for the sale that included a car driven by Jackson, as well as David Bowie's guitar and memorabilia from the Beatles to Bo Diddley.

"I never got to see Michael, and now that he's gone this is the closest I could get," said Jazmynn Moore, 19, a student from Manhattan.

The glove was worn by Jackson when he first staged the famous moonwalk dance at the 1983 Motown 25 television special. The opening bid of $10,000 leaped immediately to $120,000 before peaking at $350,000.

Most of the 80 Jackson lots consisted of items that came from friends and family to whom Jackson had given them, the auctioneer said.

Jackson was somewhat of a collector himself, having paid more than $1.5 million for the "Gone With the Wind" best picture Oscar statue at Sotheby's auction, one of the highest prices ever paid for memorabilia at auction.

The auction house had valued the Jackson collection at $80,000 to $100,000. But Julien said such pre-auction estimates were intentionally conservative to help generate interest. Many of Jackson's items sold for 10, or even more than 20 times the estimates.

Julien's had been preparing for a huge auction of Jackson memorabilia in April that was canceled after an agreement with Jackson, who had filed a lawsuit demanding the return of certain items.

During the promotion for that sale, Julien's had amassed a large database of Jackson collectors from Asia to the Americas, and many of the winning Internet bidders were from Japan or Hong Kong.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pushcart educator named CNN Hero of the Year

Efren Peñaflorida, who started a "pushcart classroom" in the Philippines to bring education to poor children as an alternative to gang membership, has been named the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year.

CNN's Anderson Cooper revealed Peñaflorida's selection at the conclusion of the third-annual "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday night.

The gala event, taped before an audience of 3,000 at the Kodak Theatre, premieres on Thanksgiving, November 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the global networks of CNN.

The broadcast, which honors the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2009, features performances by Grammy Award-winning artist Carrie Underwood, R&B crooner Maxwell and British pop sensation Leona Lewis.

Peñaflorida, who will receive $100,000 to continue his work with the Dynamic Teen Company, was selected after seven weeks of online voting at More than 2.75 million votes were cast.

"Our planet is filled with heroes, young and old, rich and poor, man, woman of different colors, shapes and sizes. We are one great tapestry," Peñaflorida said upon accepting the honor. "Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need.

"So to each and every person inside in this theater and for those who are watching at home, the hero in you is waiting to be unleashed. Serve, serve well, serve others above yourself and be happy to serve. As I always tell to my co-volunteers ... you are the change that you dream as I am the change that I dream and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be."

The top 10 CNN Heroes, chosen by a blue-ribbon panel from an initial pool of more than 9,000 viewer nominations, were each honored with a documentary tribute and introduced by a celebrity presenter. Each of the top 10 Heroes receives $25,000.

"With the recognition they receive on our stage," said Cooper, who hosted the tribute, "they'll be able to help thousands and thousands of people. Through their efforts, lives will be changed and lives will be saved."

Maxwell sang "Help Somebody" from his first album in eight years, 'BLACKsummers'night.'

Lewis, a three-time Grammy nominee, performed "Happy," from her second album, "Echo."

All three performances echoed the spirit of the CNN Heroes campaign, which salutes everyday people whose extraordinary accomplishments are making a difference in their communities and beyond.

Presenters included Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Neil Patrick Harris, Pierce Brosnan, Dwayne Johnson, Eva Mendes, Randy Jackson, Greg Kinnear, George Lopez and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

"This record number of nominations is further evidence of the momentum CNN Heroes has built in just a few short years," said Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide.

"Viewers have been engaged by these stories of inspiration and accomplishment beyond our expectations. It is truly an honor to be able to introduce the CNN Heroes to our global audience every year."

Again this year, producer/director Joel Gallen served as executive producer of "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute." Among his credits, Gallen produced telethon events supporting victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina, winning an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award for "America: A Tribute to Heroes."

The Kodak Theatre is best known as the first permanent home of the Academy Awards.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Taylor Lautner Never Had A Dream Like 'Twilight'

On "Oprah" last week, Stephenie Meyer repeated the story about how she got the whole idea for "Twilight" in a dream. That brings up the possibility that there's the potential for such great ideas lurking in the subconscious minds of people everywhere. And we wondered if the stars of "New Moon" also had some budding franchises coming to them in their sleep.

Taylor Lautner said that's not the case for him. "I'm not the best at remembering my dreams," he told MTV News on the red carpet of the "New Moon" premiere in Los Angeles on Monday night. "Or, I'll remember them in the morning when I wake up, but then I completely forget about them."

Regrettably, even the ones he does remember aren't anything like "Twilight." "Definitely not anything close to this," Lautner said.

Last Friday, Meyer told Oprah all about her dream, which eventually became chapter 13 of the first novel. "In the dream it was two people in a circular meadow, and one of them was a sparkly boy and one was just a girl who was human and normal and the boy was a vampire, which was bizarre," she explained.

Meyer also addressed the question of whether she'll continue the "Twilight" saga beyond "Breaking Dawn," which came out last year. "I might do something completely different — I've got to cleanse the palette," she said in bonus footage that didn't air on Friday's show. "I might come back to it. I did envision it as a longer series, but I wrapped up 'Breaking Dawn' in a way that I felt satisfied with."

By Jocelyn Vena, with reporting by Larry Carroll

Miley Cyrus Says She Has No Interest In 'Twilight'

With the release of "New Moon" just a few days away, "Twilight" mania seems to be taking over Hollywood. But at least one starlet wants nothing to do with the vampire craze. In a backstage interview at a show in Cleveland, Miley Cyrus told radio station Q92 that she's neither Team Edward nor Team Jacob — in fact, she's not even on team "Twilight." The singer said that not only has she never watched the vampire flick, but she doesn't plan to.

"I've never seen it and nor will I ever," Miley told surprised Q92 reporter Nikolina. The starlet went on to elaborate on what exactly it is about "Twilight" that offends her.

"I don't believe in it. I don't like vampires. ... I don't like the wolf that pops out of the screen when I'm watching my TV at night. I don't like it. I don't want anything to do with it. I don't like the shirts. I don't like any of it," she said.

But Miley knows she's in the minority when it comes to teenagers and the "Twilight" phenomenon: "I feel really lame because everyone's, like, so excited, and I'm like, 'Don't even talk about it.' "

Yet, as anti-"Twilight" as she may be, the "Hannah Montana" actress might just be forced to watch the series — if nothing more than for research. The singer recently signed up to work with "Twilight" producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey on "Wings," a fantasy movie — which bears some resemblance to the vampire series — about a 15-year-old who becomes a fairy.

It's not the first time the Disney star has gone against a popular trend. The singer of "Party in the U.S.A.," in which she claims a Jay-Z song helped ease her transition to L.A., recently admitted that she's never actually heard Jay-Z and that she doesn't really listen to pop music.

Miley, who was originally a huge proponent of the social-networking tool Twitter, also prompted a lot of chatter after she suddenly left the site and told a Chicago morning show that "Twitter should just be banned from this universe."

By Nuzhat Naoreen

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

YouTube launches channel for citizen journalists

Celebrities beware: YouTube is making it even easier for anyone with a camera phone to turn your behavior -- be it mundane or sensational -- into news.

The world's top purveyor of Internet video has launched YouTube Direct, whereby TV and online news editors can obtain video from so-called "citizen journalists" -- and even request such video be shot by amateurs seeking attention.

It's not entirely about celebrities, of course. Many news outlets will be seeking disaster footage, for example, or rowdy behavior at political town hall meetings.

News outlets seeking footage can announce it in a variety of ways, including via call-out videos posted at YouTube. When a YouTube user has video they think will interest the mainstream media, it can make it easy for editors, producers and journalists to contact them.

"News organizations always want to verify the content they use," said Steve Grove, head of news and politics at YouTube.

YouTube Direct isn't a revenue play -- either for YouTube or its users, Grove said. "It's an incentive to upload great video, because of the recognition you'll get from legitimate news organizations," he said.

Testing the service now are Huffington Post, NPR, Politico, the San Francisco Chronicle and a couple of Boston TV stations.

In a blog posting, Grove links to examples of such newsworthy user-generated video: presidential candidate George Allen's "Macaca" reference, video of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in China and a teacher screaming at and slapping an autistic student.

Separately on Monday, Univision said it would supply Spanish-language TV shows to YouTube from its three networks: Univision, TeleFuture and Galavision.

Janet Jackson blames doctor for Michael's death

Pop star Janet Jackson holds Michael Jackson's personal doctor responsible for her brother's sudden death and has told ABC News that a day does not go by when she doesn't think about her late sibling.

"He was the one that was administering," Janet Jackson said about Houston-based physician Dr. Conrad Murray. "I think he is responsible."

Murray, who was hired to treat Michael Jackson in the months before Jackson died on June 25 of a drug overdose, is currently a target in the manslaughter investigation of the "Thriller" singer's death.

Since June, Los Angeles County coroner officials have said the powerful anesthetic propofol, which is used in surgery, and the sedative lorazepam, were the primary drugs responsible for Jackson's death. Police have referred the case to prosecutors to determine if criminal charges should be filed.

Janet Jackson has remained mostly quiet about her brother's death, but she spoke with ABC television journalist Robin Roberts in an interview set to air Wednesday night on the network's show "In the Spotlight."

"It's been a tough year," Jackson told Roberts, in excerpts posted on ABC News' website on Monday. "You have your days where it's just really -- it's hard to believe. And a day doesn't go by that I don't think about him."

(Reporting and writing by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Steve Gorman)

Underwood says "Idol" winners should play to fans

Since winning "American Idol" in 2005, country singer Carrie Underwood has become one of the show's highest selling graduates, but she warned the latest crop of "Idol" finalists to "stay true" to their fans if they want to find similar success.

Underwood, who on Monday spoke to reporters during a conference call, will star next month in a holiday special, and she just released her second consecutive chart-topping album, "Play On."

As it happens, three finalists from this past season of top-rated U.S. television show "American Idol," a reality singing competition, are about to release their own albums.

"I feel like any contestant that comes off 'Idol' that does well on 'Idol' has to stay true to what people voted for," Underwood said, in response to a question.

"I've seen it happen a few times where people are one thing on the show, and then they got off the show and try to do something else," she said.

Underwood, 26, said that she finds it "really strange" when "Idol" contestants change their musical style after leaving the show, because through their votes viewers tell contestants "what they want."

On Tuesday, "Idol" champion Kris Allen will release his first album since winning the title in May. Allen told Reuters this month that his self-titled disc will include elements from different musical styles, from pop to the blues.

Also, "Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert's album "For Your Entertainment" will hit stores on November 23, and fourth-place finisher Allison Iraheta will release her album "Just Like You" on December 1.

Underwood said she was a fan of Kris Allen's this year, and also third-place finisher Danny Gokey, whose country-style debut album is expected early next year.

Meanwhile, the four-time Grammy winner will star on December 7 in a two-hour variety program called "Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special," on Fox, which is also the network behind "American Idol."

Underwood will be joined on-stage by country icon Dolly Parton, Grammy winner Brad Paisley, 2008 "Idol" winner David Cook and by singer and actress Kristin Chenoweth.

Underwood said that when she performed alongside Parton recently, it was a "dream come true."

"When Dolly's there, you just sort of step out of the spotlight and let her do her thing, because no matter how hard you try she's going to steal the spotlight, and it's great," Underwood said.

Former "Idol" contestant Jennifer Hudson, who won a Grammy this year for her debut album, will also star in a holiday special this season. Her program, "Home for the Holidays," will air on December 14 on ABC.

By Alex Dobuzinskis

Thousands cheer stars of 'Twilight' sequel in LA

Exactly 12 months ago, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were surprised to be greeted by throngs of eager fans of the novel "Twilight" at the premiere of the big-screen adaptation.

What a difference a year makes.

The actors unveiled the sequel — "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" — at the same location Monday night in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. But this time they knew what was coming.

"I'm not as scared as I was last year," said Stewart, despite a brief touch-and-go moment as she signed autographs. "At some point, the security guy said, 'This is very unsafe.' And I was like, 'Uh.' Other than that, everything was cool."

Pattinson, who plays vampire Edward Cullen in this latest adaptation of author Stephenie Meyer's popular series, said this year's crowd of thousands of screaming fans was larger than the 2008 turnout.

"And it seems different to me because we have done this world tour in the last week and it has just been unbelievable in every single city," he said. "It is about 10 times bigger than any other city in the world."

Some "twi-hards" __ as they call themselves __ arrived as early as Thursday afternoon to secure a place in line for tickets allowing them to watch the stars' arrivals on the red carpet. The 800 available tickets were all distributed by Monday morning, but the line still stretched for blocks well after lunchtime.

Nicole Zamora, 36, was sixth in line after getting to Westwood on Thursday afternoon. She and her three sisters wore "New Moon" T-shirts they'd made for the occasion and said they spent the weekend "reading, listening to the iPod and trying to sleep — anything to pass the time."

Christina Fuentes and four of her friends traveled from New Jersey for the "New Moon" premiere. The 24-year-old wore vampire teeth ("They just clip on," she said) and carried a homemade sign that read, "We flew in from NJ! We've been camping out for three days just to see you!" She pasted her airline boarding pass to the poster as proof.

Scores of other fans — mostly young women — crowded onto street corners near the Mann Village and Bruin theaters, site of the premiere. They sat on beach chairs, displayed homemade signs and wore T-shirts proclaiming their allegiance to either the handsome vampire played by Pattinson or his werewolf rival, Taylor Lautner.

Lautner, who rises to headliner status in "New Moon," said he was also amazed by Monday's fan response.

"It's the amount of passion," he said. "It's not normal."

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Charlie's Angels" flying again on TV

ABC is close to a ordering a pilot for "Charlie's Angels," planning a contemporary take on the 1970s crime series.

The project is being executive produced by the three producers of the two "Charlie's Angels" movies, Drew Barrymore, Nancy Juvonen and TV veteran Leonard Goldberg, who also executive produced the original series.

Josh Friedman, who recently adapted the "Terminator" movie franchise with Fox's "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," is writing the script and will also executive produce.

Kara on Ellen: "Idol" chemistry is crucial

Kara DioGuardi wants to hang out with Ellen DeGeneres before the new season of "American Idol" to get the judges working together comfortably.

The second-year judge said she plans on spending down time in December with the newest addition to "Idol."

"I'm hoping the chemistry with Ellen will be great -- and a great start to the season," she said at the Media and Money conference in New York on Friday.

It's all part of her effort to establish her identity on the Fox show after a rookie year that saw plenty of criticism come her way about her on-air role. She explained, "you have to know on the show who you are and have a vision of yourself. What am I trying to represent? You'll see more of this branding myself."

DioGuardi also had kind words for Paula Abdul. Asked by Billboard editorial director Bill Werde what she thought of the departing judge, with whom DioGuardi as a songwriter has a long relationship, DioGuardi called her "the heart of the show." In her view, Abdul "nurtured and empathized. That was her role, and she was great at it."

As a songwriter, business owner (Arthouse Entertainment) and most recently a senior vp at Warner Bros. Records, DioGuardi has been mostly focused on inspiring, critiquing and putting young artists through their paces. That includes dealing with what she says all musicians have to confront at one time or another: rejection.

Her role on "Idol" has reflected that background and approach -- but could now shift, given the dynamics to come.

"The show exists without me," she said. "It's really a TV show, not just a singing contest: It's about the American dream, and it also plays an A&R (talent-discovery) role."

In other remarks to the mostly business and advertising executives at the Roosevelt Hotel gathering, the Duke-educated entrepreneur dispelled for the audience any notion that successful creative people do anything "without working their asses off." A little crazy, well, yes, but disciplined totally.

"I made a choice early on to do something very difficult -- though when friends heard I wanted to be a songwriter they'd say 'how cute," she said, imitating a cutesy voice. But, to make it in such a tough business, she said she had to be "very focused, consistently looking at the trends."

And, DioGuardi noted that having had a stint at Billboard as her first job, she was savvy about the business of music before going out on her own.

"I was educated about where revenue streams came from," she told Werde. "Eventually I bet on myself and I knew, unlike many artists who can't pay the rent, I'd make a living (at running her own company and owning her own copyrights)."

In selling part of her own company, she said she thought of it as a stock, buy low, sell high, and indeed managed a great deal, tax advantages and all. She had spent $5,000 to set Arthouse up out of her grandmother's house: All it took was "a pad, a car and my voice," she said.

FX makes date for "2012"

FX has snapped up TV rights to "2012," the disaster movie that just enjoyed a blockbuster $225 million opening weekend worldwide.

Appropriately, the Roland Emmerich-directed Sony movie will premiere on the basic cable network in the beginning of 2012.

In addition to "2012," FX has acquired another Sony film that opened at No. 1 this fall, the horror-comedy "Zombieland," which will be available at the end of next year.

The license fee for both movies is said to be standard, about 12% of their domestic box office.

If "2012" crosses the $200 million mark in North America, as expected after its big $65 million opening weekend, it could fetch as much as $24 million. For the Woody Harrelson starrer "Zombieland," which grossed $73 million domestically, the price tag is estimated to be $8 million-$9 million.

Hit movies, especially big, special effects-heavy disaster flicks, have done well on FX, including the Emmerich-directed disaster duo "The Day After Tomorrow" and "Independence Day."

'2012' has worldwide box-office bang of $225M

Doom spelled dollars at the box office as the global-disaster tale "2012" opened at No. 1 domestically with $65 million and pulled in $225 million worldwide.

The Sony Pictures action saga tells the story of a scramble to save remnants of humanity aboard giant arks as the earth's crust shifts and flood waters pour over most of the planet. With a cast led by John Cusack, Danny Glover and Chiwetel Ejiofor, "2012" was directed by doomsday specialist Roland Emmerich ("Independence Day," "The Day After Tomorrow").

Overseas, "2012" did $17.2 million in France, $15.3 million in Russia, $9.9 million in South Korea and $8.1 million in Spain.

Domestically, "2012" came in just shy of the $68.7 million opening weekend for "The Day After Tomorrow." But Sony reported that its global total was the best ever for an original movie not based on an established franchise, brand or best-selling novel.

"Roland is that type of filmmaker that casts his net really wide," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony. "The story is something people could really relate to. It's a story of the survival of humanity."

"Disney's A Christmas Carol" slipped to No. 2 with $22.3 million, down only 26 percent from its No. 1 opening gross a weekend earlier. The Jim Carrey holiday adventure raised its 10-day total to $63.3 million.

Big films typically can drop 50 percent or more in the second weekend, but the strong hold for "A Christmas Carol" indicates it could have a long shelf life through the holidays.

Lionsgate's acclaimed drama "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' by Sapphire" broke into the top-10 as it expanded to more theaters after a huge debut in limited release the previous weekend.

Finishing at No. 4, "Precious" took in $6.1 million in 174 theaters, averaging $35,000 a cinema and raising its 10-day total to $8.9 million. That compared to a $19,095 average in 3,404 theaters for "2012."

With a cast that includes Mo'Nique, Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz, "Precious" stars newcomer Gabourey Sidibe as a Harlem teen pulling herself out of an abyss of illiteracy, incest and domestic abuse.

"Michael Jackson's "This Is It" added $5.1 million domestically to raise its total to $67.2 million. The Sony release became the all-time top-grossing music documentary, passing the $65.3 million total of last year's "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert."

The weekend's other new wide release, Focus Features' rock 'n' roll comedy "Pirate Radio," opened a weak No. 11 with $2.9 million in 882 theaters, averaging $3,253 a cinema.

The ensemble cast of "Pirate Radio" features Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy and Kenneth Branagh in a story about 1960s disc jockeys blasting illicit rock music into stodgy Britain from an offshore radio station aboard a tanker.

Starting in limited release, Fox Searchlight's animated comedy "Fantastic Mr. Fox" drew big audiences with $260,000 in four theaters, for a whopping average of $65,000 a cinema. The film expands to nationwide release the day before Thanksgiving.

George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Bill Murray lead the voice cast of "Fantastic Mr. Fox," adapted by director Wes Anderson from the Roald Dahl children's book about a poultry-thieving fox and three evil farmers.

Paramount's micro-budgeted horror flick "Paranormal Activity" pulled in $4.2 million to cross the $100 million mark. Shot for just $15,000, the supernatural tale rode a surge of online buzz to become a horror sensation, with a domestic gross now standing at $103.8 million.

Despite the big opening for "2012," Hollywood business dipped. Overall revenues came in at $140 million, down 6 percent from the same weekend a year ago, when the James Bond adventure "Quantum of Solace" led with $67.5 million.

Still, "2012" was a strong prelude as Hollywood gears up for Thanksgiving, one of the busiest weekends at movie theaters.

"It feels totally like summer," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for "This proves that if you put a summer movie anywhere in the release schedule, you can sometimes get summer numbers."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "2012," $65 million.

2. "Disney's A Christmas Carol," $22.3 million.

3. "The Men Who Stare at Goats," $6.2 million.

4. "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' by Sapphire," $6.1 million.

5. "Michael Jackson's This Is It," $5.1 million.

6. "The Fourth Kind," $4.7 million.

7. "Couples Retreat," $4.3 million.

8. "Paranormal Activity," $4.2 million.

9. "Law Abiding Citizen," $3.9 million.

10. "The Box," $3.2 million.