'Happy Feet' ices Bond at the box office - but just barely

Jane H. Furse
New York Daily News

The weekend's biggest box office star may wear a tuxedo - but he'll take raw fish over martinis any day.

"Happy Feet," the tap-dancing penguin movie, opened with weekend sales of $42.3 million, enough to shuffle past "Casino Royale," the 21st James Bond flick.

The latest Bond adventure, featuring Daniel Craig in his eagerly awaited debut as Agent 007, pulled in $40.6 million.

Together, the two films made box office history.

It's the first time two movies opening on a nonholiday weekend broke the $40 million mark, according to Rory Bruer, president of distribution for Sony Pictures.

"It was a terrific weekend for Warner Bros. and a terrific weekend for us. It's all good," Bruer said.

The success of Daniel Craig, a British actor who is not well-known in the United States, "bodes well for the future and his staying power," Bruer said.

"Happy Feet," featuring the voices of Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and Robin Williams, is part of a growing category of family films that appeal to parents and children alike.

"Think of the Harry Potter movies. They're golden. They just seem to get better and better, whereas a picture like Bond is going to be an adult film," Bruer said.

"Casino Royale" took an early lead over "Happy Feet" on opening day because of adult audiences Friday night, but "Happy Feet" dominated the rest of the weekend, drawing big crowds Saturday and Sunday.

The box-office leader the past two weekends, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," slipped to third with sales of $14.35 million, lifting its total to $90.5 million.





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