Even with an impressive turnout for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, box office was once again down year-over-year in the month of November. Total grosses came in at roughly $863 million, which is a 3.8 percent decline from 2010. Even worse, it was off 13 percent from 2009 despite significantly higher ticket prices. When accounting for the inflated ticket prices, estimated attendance was at its lowest point since at least 1995. Through the first 11 months of the year, the 2011 box office is off four percent from last year at around $9.3 billion, and it's going to take a mighty December to prevent a noticeable year-to-year decline.
The top movie in November was easily Breaking Dawn, which earned $228.2 million through its first 13 days in theaters. The penultimate Twilight movie accounted for 26 percent of the total box office for the month, which was the highest share for one movie since Iron Man 2 contributed 31 percent of May 2010's box office.
October holdover Puss in Boots came in second place with just over $100 million, followed by Immortals at $70.6 million and Tower Heist at $66.3 million. Jack and Jill rounded out the Top Five with $58.4 million, and The Muppets was also a solid contributor with $44.44 million through just eight days in theaters.
While a handful of movies failed to really break out (including some in the Top Five), the month's biggest disappointment was definitely Happy Feet Two. The animated sequel only mustered $45.3 million through 13 days in theaters, or less than half of its predecessor's $102.9 million through the same point. Had Happy Feet Two taken a more standard sequel dive (20 percent or so), November 2011 would have wound up about even with November 2010.
After a fairly two-dimensional October, 3D made a big comeback in November. Ticket sales in the format contributed anywhere from $150-170 million. Interestingly, all five major 3D releases in November opened with a 3D share north of 50 percent, indicating that the format may be recovering a bit following its Summer funk.
Through the end of November, 2011 box office is trailing 2010 box office by around $390 million. In order to break even on the year, December 2011 will need to improve roughly 44 percent over December 2010, which is a nearly-unheard-of jump.