LOS ANGELES - Audiences fell under the spell of "Enchanted," a fairy-tale romance that debuted as the No. 1 movie and led Hollywood out of its recent box-office doldrums with solid business over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Starring Amy Adams as a cartoon princess exiled to real-world Manhattan by her fiance's wicked stepmother (Susan Sarandon), Disney's "Enchanted" took in $35.3 million over the weekend and $50.05 million since debuting Wednesday, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Sony Screen Gems' family reunion holiday tale "This Christmas," whose ensemble cast includes Delroy Lindo, Regina King, Mekhi Phifer and Idris Elba, opened at No. 2 with $18.6 million for the weekend and $27.1 million since Wednesday.
Hollywood had been in a box-office funk this fall, but the two movies paced the industry to a healthy Thanksgiving, with the top-12 movies pulling in $218.1 million from Wednesday to Sunday, up 6 percent from the holiday period last year.
"That's good for an industry that's been in a downtrend for almost two months," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. "Thanksgiving sets the tone for the rest of the year and the holiday season in general. This was a key weekend, and it delivered."
"Enchanted" had the second-best five-day Thanksgiving debut ever, behind the $80.1 million haul of Disney's "Toy Story 2." Disney released all five of the top-grossing movie debuts over Thanksgiving, with "Unbreakable," "A Bug's Life" and "101 Dalmatians" trailing "Toy Story 2" and "Enchanted."
"It's a really good place to launch a movie," said Chuck Viane, head of distribution for Disney. "When you get a movie as strong and well-playing as this, it bodes well for us right through the Christmas holiday."
Among other new wide releases, 20th Century Fox's video-game adaptation "Hitman" debuted at No. 4 with $13 million over the weekend and $21 million since Wednesday. The movie follows the exploits of a genetically engineered assassin (Timothy Olyphant).
The Warner Bros. drama "August Rush" opened in seventh-place with $9.4 million for the weekend and $13.3 million since Wednesday. "August Rush" stars Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Robin Williams in the tale of an orphaned musical prodigy seeking his parents.
The Stephen King adaptation "The Mist," a fright flick distributed by MGM for the Weinstein Co.'s Dimension Films banner, premiered in ninth-place with $9.1 million for the weekend and $13 million since Wednesday.
The third King adaptation from director Frank Darabont ("The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile"), "The Mist" stars Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Andre Braugher and Toby Jones among residents trapped in a supermarket after their Maine town is engulfed in a haze filled with terrifying creatures.
Horror films generally are trashed by critics, but "The Mist" earned fairly positive reviews, much like Dimension Films' summer hit "1408," also based on a King story. Bob Weinstein, co-founder of the Weinstein Co., said that could mean a longer shelf life for "The Mist" the same way that "1408" hung on in theaters.
"It just stuck around, and hopefully, we'll be around for several weeks," Weinstein said. "We're just so thrilled to be in the Stephen King business."
Expanding nationwide after two weeks in limited release, Miramax's "No Country for Old Men" came in at No. 10 with $8.1 million, raising its total to $16.6 million. Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, the acclaimed crime saga stars Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Enchanted," $35.3 million.
2. "This Christmas," $18.6 million.
3. "Beowulf," $16.2 million.
4. "Hitman," $13 million.
5. "Bee Movie," $12 million.
6. "Fred Claus," $10.7 million.
7. "August Rush," $9.4 million.
8. "American Gangster," $9.2 million.
9. "The Mist," $9.1 million.
10. "No Country for Old Men," $8.1 million.