Holiday weekend movie crowds gobbled up the Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn holiday comedy "Four Christmases," which debuted at No. 1 with $46.7 million over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to studio estimates Monday.
The Warner Bros. release, featuring Witherspoon and Vaughn as a couple suffering through four separate family holiday gatherings, marked the third biggest Thanksgiving holiday opening ever (after 1999's "Toy Story 2" and last year's "Enchanted").
In terms of revenue, it was Hollywood's second-biggest Thanksgiving period ever. The top 12 movies took in $223.7 million from Wednesday to Sunday, trailing only the $232.2 million haul over Thanksgiving in 2000.
Summit Entertainment's vampire romance "Twilight," which had a huge No. 1 opening the previous weekend, took a steep decline from its $69.6 million debut, but managed stay ahead of Disney's animated family flick "Bolt."
"Twilight"'s total for the weekend was $39.5 million, compared to "Bolt"'s $36 million.
"Twilight' is still a phenomenon, but you can't really maintain that level of intensity week after week," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers.
"Twilight" raised its 10-day total to $119.7 million, while "Bolt" lifted its sum to $66.9 million.
Hollywood typically releases a handful of holiday-themed movies starting in November, but "Four Christmases" has the market virtually to itself this season.
"It was the perfect time. It's the only movie out there that deals with Christmas," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros.
The only potential competition comes Dec. 12 with the John Leguizamo tale "Nothing Like the Holidays."
The weekend's other new wide release, the Nicole Kidman-Hugh Jackman epic "Australia," opened at No. 5 with $14.8 million for the weekend and $20 million since debuting Wednesday.
The 20th Century Fox film reunites Kidman with "Moulin Rouge" director Baz Luhrmann for a World War II-era romance between an aristocratic British woman and an Australian ranch hand.
Sean Penn's drama "Milk" got off to a great start in limited release, coming in at No. 10 with $1.9 million in just 36 theaters. The film had a strong average of $51,836 per screen, compared with $14,112 in 3,310 theaters for "Four Christmases."
"Milk," an Academy Awards contender released by Focus Features, stars Penn as gay-rights pioneer Harvey Milk, the San Francisco city supervisor slain by a colleague who also killed the mayor. The film expands to more theaters Friday.
"Slumdog Millionaire," the critically acclaimed film by British director Danny Boyle, pulled in $1.7 million in limited release.
Estimated ticket sales for Wednesday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC.
1. "Four Christmases," $46.7 million.
2. "Twilight," $39.5 million.
3. "Bolt," $36.0 million.
4. "Quantum of Solace," $28.1 million.
5. "Australia," $20 million.
6. "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa," $19.6 million.
7. "Transporter 3," $18.5 million.
8. "Role Models," $7.8 million.
9. "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas," $2.2 million.
10. "Milk," $1.9 million.