Two days ago I was told that I Am Legend would make $44 or $45 million for the weekend. The 12.14 release date, I was told, would be a bit of an issue. If it wasn’t opening in the Thanksgiving-to-Xmas dead zone (i.e., a period when people pass up films in order to save money for Xmas gifts and preparing feasts for the in-laws), it would make a lot more. Plus the northeastern snowfalls would slow it down a tad. All hooey, it turned out. The big-canvas Will Smith sci-fi drama earned $28 million yesterday and is looking to nudge $70 million by Sunday night.

The weekend’s #2 film is Alvin & the Chipmunks (20th Century Fox) did close to $13 million yesterday. The Saturday box-office surge that family-audience movies always benefit from should kick in, and it should end up with at least $35 million by tomorrow night. I saw the trailer a while ago and was flat-out horrified. I won’t see this film under any circumstances, ever. I wouldn’t watch it with a loaded gun pointed at my head. “Go ahead…shoot!” I would calmly reply. “I regret that I have only one life to give in the cause of renouncing insipid family movies.”

The Golden Compass made roughly $3 million yesterday and is looking at $10 million for the weekend. The projected haul will mean a 60% drop from last weekend, give or take. The Golden Lion of the Rings & the Wardrobe & the Order of the Magical Polar Bear is dead, dead…deader than dead. If this were Japan, certain New Line executives would be getting out their samurai swords in preparation for ritual seppuku.