Wreck-It Ralph and Flight each got off to strong starts on Friday, which suggests that Hurricane Sandy isn't having a negative effect on the box office.
Ralph scored an estimated $13.4 million, which is an improvement over most early November animated movies. For example, it's a bit higher than 2010's Megamind ($12.5 million) and much better than 2008's Bee Movie ($10.2 million). It was also up on the opening days of fellow Disney Animation movies Tangled ($11.9 million on a Wednesday) and Chicken Little ($10.6 million). Based on these comparisons, Wreck-It Ralph is in line for somewhere between $45 and $50 million for the three-day weekend.
Flight opened at half as many locations as Ralph (1,884 vs. 3,752), but still managed to score an impressive $8.2 million on Friday. That gross is in line with recent Denzel Washington movies The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 ($8.2 million) and Unstoppable ($8 million), even though it's at over 1,000 fewer venues. The audience was 51 percent male and 89 percent were 25 years of age or older, and they gave the movie a strong "A-" CinemaScore; Paramount is currently predicting a $23 million opening weekend.
The Man with the Iron Fists opened in third place with an estimated $3 million, which is lower than most comparable titles including Ninja Assassin ($3.3 million on a Wednesday). Universal is expecting $7.6 million for the three-day frame.
Argo eased 24 percent to just under $3 million, which was good for fourth place on Friday. The thriller has now accumulated $68.6 million, and by the end of the weekend it will be pacing ahead of Ben Affleck's The Town.
In fifth place, Taken 2 dipped 30 percent to $1.8 million, bringing its total to $121.5 million.
Cloud Atlas added $1.5 million on Friday for a new total of $14.5 million. That's a 56 percent drop from opening day, which pretty much kills any hope that the movie would hang on strong.