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'Happy Feet' Dances to Top of Box Office

Sunday November 19 1:44 PM ET





James Bond has met his match not a fellow spy but a tap-dancing penguin. The Warner Bros. animated penguin romp "Happy Feet" debuted with $42.3 million, grabbing an edge for the weekend's No. 1 slot over Sony's Bond adventure "Casino Royale," which opened with $40.6 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.


The two films were close enough that their rankings could change when final numbers are released Monday.


"'Happy Feet' is just ahead by a flipper," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. "It's unusual to have two movies this close, battling for that No. 1 position."



Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner, said "Happy Feet" was solidly ahead and that the rankings would not flip-flop on Monday.


"It's not going to happen," Fellman said. "It's a clear victory here."


"Casino Royale" took an early lead over "Happy Feet" on opening day because of strong adult audiences Friday night. "Happy Feet" dominated the rest of the weekend, drawing big crowds on Saturday and Sunday when family films do their best business.


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


With the rarity of two movies in the $40 million range, Hollywood had a robust weekend, the top 12 movies taking in $133.6 million. Still, that could not measure up to the same weekend a year ago, when the $102.3 million debut of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" paced the top 12 to a $171.9 million total.


"Happy Feet" features the voices of Elijah Wood, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and Robin Williams in the story of an penguin who cannot carry a tune like his brethren but can tap-dance up a storm.




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