'Christmas Carol' beats the dickens out of box office rivals

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The Independent Culture

With more than 40 shopping days left until Christmas, North American theater audiences already had enough holiday cheer to put "Disney's A Christmas Carol" at the top of the box office this week.

Early estimates on Sunday by box office tracker Exhibitor Relations showed the adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale, featuring Jim Carey as Ebenezer Scrooge, earned 31 million dollars in first week in theaters.

Falling to second place was "This Is It," a compilation of footage of the late Michael Jackson as he prepared for a final world tour.

The film cashed in on an outpouring of affection for the star after his death earlier this year, and took in 14 million dollars in receipts this weekend, bring its two-week earning to 57.9 million dollars.

In at number three was new release "The Men Who Stare at Goats," a satirical comedy starring George Clooney as a member of an elite US military force that uses mind control as a weapon.

The movie, which also features Ewan McGregor and Jeff Bridges, earned 13.3 million dollars.

The number four spot went to another new release, "The Fourth Kind," starring Milla Jovovich as a doctor investigating alien abduction, which took in 12.5 million dollars.

Falling three spots to number five was "Paranormal Activity," a low-budget horror movie that earned 8.6 million dollars to bring its seven-week earning to 97.4 million dollars.

At number six was "The Box," another horror movie, starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden as a couple who receive a mysterious box, which earned 7.9 million dollars in its first week in theaters.

Down three places from last week to number seven was "Couples Retreat," starring comic favorites Vince Vaughn and Jason Bateman, which earned 6.4 million dollars.

At number eight was "Law Abiding Citizen, a thriller about a man bent on avenging the deaths of his slain family, which took 6.2 million dollars in its fourth week in theaters.

Down four spots to number nine was "Where the Wild Things Are," director Spike Jonze's whimsical retelling of the beloved children's book of the same name, which earned 4.2 million dollars.

Rounding out the top ten with 2.6 million dollars in earnings was "Astro Boy," a 3-D animated feature film about the futuristic robot who first came to life in the 1950s as a character in the beloved Japanese science fiction manga series of the same name.