Smith’s `Legend’ Lives On With $76.5 Million Record Debut

LOS ANGELES — Will Smith has broken his own record.

The actor’s post-apocalyptic thriller “I Am Legend” pulled in $76.5 million in its opening weekend, becoming number one at the box office and the biggest December opening ever.

Smith is no stranger to dominating the box office. Just a year ago, “The Pursuit of Happyness” debuted at number one with $26.5 million. And “I, Robot” and “Men in Black II” pulled in more than $52 million in their opening weekends.

“I Am Legend” also outdid the “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which had the previous best December opening with a $72.6 million debut in 2003.

Coming in at a strong number two this weekend was “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” It posted $45 million in its debut.

Last week’s number one, “The Golden Compass,” dropped to number three, bringing in just $9 million after opening at $25.8 million.