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The New York Metropolitan area is the second largest moviegoing market after Southern California, so there was some concern that after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy earlier in the week that the box office could take a hit this weekend. Somewhat surprisingly, that doesn't appear to be the case.
Perhaps looking for some good laughs or inspired by the strong reviews, Walt Disney's "Wreck-it-Ralph" drew audiences to the local multiplex Friday opening with a superb $13.4 million. The Disney Animation comedy could easily gross anywhere from $48-$50 million over the weekend which is right in line with "Tangled's" debut two years ago. "Ralph" also earned an A from Cinemascore which is a sign of good word of mouth as the lucrative Thansksgiving holiday approaches.
Coming in the second slot was another new release, Robert Zemeckis' "Flight." The Denzel Washington drama pulled in $8.1 million in just 1,900 theaters or a little over half of the screens "Ralph" is on. "Flight" could easily gross $20-23 million which would be a fantastic start. Especially considering the Paramount Pictures release reportedly cost only $31 million.
Third place went to another new film, "The Man with the Iron Fists." The Universal Pictures flick is the directorial debut of hip-hop artist RZA and kung fu fought its way to $3 million. Budgeted at just $15 million, the unconventional action picture could end up with $8-9 million for the three-day.
Dropping from the top spot in its fourth week was Ben Affleck's "Argo." The expected Oscar player grossed $2.9 million and like "Fists" should find $8-9 million for the weekend. "Argo" has now amassed $68.6 million in just 22 days.
Fifth place went to "Taken 2" with $1.8 million and $121 million to date.
Look for complete box office estimates Sunday on HitFix.