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    James Franco Beats Brad Pitt, Will Ferrell With One Arm Behind His Back?

    127 Hours, James Franco, Megamind DreamWorks Animation, 20th Century Fox

    Megamind did fine. Due Date did fine. For Colored Girls did fine.

    James Franco did awesome.

    The results from the weekend box office:

    MORE: Will anything beat Harry Potter?

    As expected, the Will Ferrell-, Brad Pitt- and Tina Fey-voiced Megamind led the standings, with a $47.7 million estimated gross. (Got a quibble that the 3-D toon didn't break $50 mil? Get over it.)

    Due Date, the Robert Downey Jr.-Zach Galifianakis road-trip comedy, was a supersize second, with a $33.5 million take that put it halfway home to its $65 million budget.

    In third, Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls, which actually wasn't titled Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls, grossed $20.1 million, a strong number for a 2-D drama about grown-ups, if a lesser number in the Perry canon. The all-star film, with Whoopi Goldberg and Janet Jackson, was Perry's "weakest" box office starter since Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys.

    Together, the three films got Hollywood's holiday season off to a big, fat start. No film, however, was bigger or fatter, theater for theater, than Franco's 127 Hours

    The Danny Boyle-directed endurance test starring Franco as Aron Ralston, the real-life hiker who famously amputated an arm in order to free himself from a boulder, opened at four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, where it sold out its Friday and Saturday night shows, grossed $265,925 overall and averaged $66,481—or more than five times what Megamind did (at thousands and thousands more theaters, natch). So far this year, only The Kids Are All Right has debuted to a bigger per-screen average.

    127 Hours' success made the debut of fellow Oscar buzz film Fair Game look relatively pedestrian. The Naomi Watts-Sean Penn drama about the Valerie Plame-CIA leak grossed $700,000 at 46 theaters (for a per-screen average that, yes, was also bigger than Megamind's, but not nearly as showy as 127 Hours'). 

    Elsewhere, Secretariat ($4 million) ground its way past $50 million, deposed champ Saw 3D ($8.2 million; $38.8 million) missed Halloween, and Katherine Heigl's and Josh Duhamel's Life As We Know It ($3.1 million; $48.5 million overall) exited the Top 10 after a four-weekend stay. For Heigl, the comedy was a step up from last summer's Killers, which cost more and made less. 

    Here's a complete look at the weekend's top-grossing films, per Friday-Sunday estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

    1. Megamind, $47.7 million
    2. Due Date, $33.5 million
    3. For Colored Girls, $20.1 million
    4. Red, $8.6 million
    5. Saw 3D, $8.2 million
    6. Paranormal Activity 2, $7.3 million
    7. Jackass 3D, $5.1 million
    8. Hereafter, $4.02 million
    9. Secretariat, $4 million
    10. The Social Network, $3.6 million

    CLICK: Holiday Movie Guide!

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