Maybe potential moviegoers were too busy Christmas shopping this weekend to think much about travel, or travel-themed movies. Far fewer than expected booked passage with either of the weekend's wide releases, 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' and 'The Tourist.' 'Narnia' won the box office weekend with an estimated $24.5 million, but given the expectations for 'Dawn Treader,' that's barely treading water.
Not that anyone expected 'Dawn Treader' to do as well as the first two 'Narnia' movies. 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' opened with $65.6 million on this same weekend five years ago, while 'Prince Caspian' debuted with $55 million in 2008. With the apparent downward trend, the nearly three-year wait between sequels, middling reviews and competition for the fantasy/family audience from 'Tangled' and 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I,' 'Dawn Treader' faced stormy seas. Still, the series' fanbase (including Christian viewers who appreciate C.S. Lewis' spiritual allegories) and the 3-D surcharge were expected to boost 'Dawn Treader' to a debut between $38 and $45 million.