Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn in 'Four Christmases'
U.S. movie audiences are ignoring the critics—wisely—writes S. T. Karnick.

The comedy Four Christmases continued its strong box office performance in its second weekend, bringing in a solid $18.2 million in North American box office sales over the past three days. The film has earned approximately $71 million in its first twelve days. Although critics have hated the film, audiences are ignoring the naysayers, showing once again the declining credibility of the mainstream media.

Thematically the film is interesting in dealing with a basically stable but somewhat superficial and hedonistic young couple (played by Witherspoon and Vaughn) who want to remain unmarried because they’re both products of families disturbed by divorce during their childhoods and thus are extremely reluctant to commit to an institution that seems to bring so much damage. The film shows how the chaotic condition of the culture contributes to such family disorder.

But of course Four Christmases is a romantic comedy, a string of situations intended to be funny, which will be what audiences will appreciate the most about it. Still, those uncomfortable scenes and ideas remain in the mind. . . .

Twilight and Bolt continued their strong performances at numbers 2 and 3, respectively, and Australia moved up one place in the box office sweepstakes, to number 4, just ahead of Quantum of Solace, which remained a solid draw in its fourth week.

As I forecast last week, the critically acclaimed pro-homosexuality movie Milk lost some steam in its move to a wider release this past weekend. The film appeared in nearly three times as many theaters as in the previous week (though still relatively few), but its earnings rose by only 16 percent, indicating a much smaller per-theater take as the film tentatively ventured outside of the nation’s strongest metrosexual redoubts.

Milk maintained a relatively high per-theater average by not going out to very many theaters overall, but has shown limited appeal overall. It fell out of the top ten and has earned a very modest $4.1 million so far.

—S. T. Karnick