Weekend Report: 'Twilight' Leads, 'Muppets' Succeeds Over Thanksgiving Weekend
by Ray Subers
November 27, 2011
|The Muppets|| |
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 easily repeated in first place at the box office over Thanksgiving weekend, while The Muppets revived the long-dormant franchise with a strong second place debut. Arthur Christmas and Hugo weren't quite as fortunate, though the true measure of their success will be determined over the next month.
Breaking Dawn added $61.8 million for the five-day weekend, which is a off from New Moon's $66.3 million over the same time period in 2009. On Saturday, Breaking Dawn passed $200 million, and through its first 10 days the penultimate Twilight movie has earned $220.8 million.
The Muppets opened to $41.5 million, which is down from past Disney Thanksgiving entries Tangled ($68.7 million) and Enchanted ($49.1 million). Considering the previously-dilapidated state of the Muppet brand, though, that number is an enormous accomplishment, and credit is due to Disney's marketing team for reintroducing the puppets in a fun, engaging advertising campaign. In just five days, the movie eclipsed the total of all previous Muppet movies with the exception of 1979's The Muppet Movie, which it will pass by next weekend. Of course, it still lags behind all of the movies in attendance except 1999 dud Muppets from Space, though that will quickly change over the next week or two. The audience was 53 percent female and awarded the movie an "A" CinemaScore.
Happy Feet Two fell 14 percent to $18.35 million for the five-day frame. In comparison, the first Happy Feet improved 22 percent to $50.6 million over Thanksgiving weekend in 2006. The sequel's $44.76 million total is a far cry from the original's $99.3 million through the same point.
Arthur Christmas debuted in fourth place with $16.3 million. It's $12 million three-day start ranks at the bottom of Aardman Animation wide releases, though it surely relieved some demand with its Wednesday opening. While this isn't a very impressive debut, the movie's direct connection to the upcoming Christmas holiday should translate in to strong holds throughout the month of December. 3D presentations accounted for 53 percent of the gross, and the audience was 59 percent female and 31 percent under the age of 25. The movie received an "A-" CinemaScore.
Hugo claimed fifth place with $15.4 million at just 1,277 locations. As hard as this may be to believe, Hugo's $11.36 million Friday-Sunday gross is actually director Martin Scorsese's third-highest debut ever behind Shutter Island and The Departed. Throughout the marketing effort distributor Paramount Pictures consistently emphasized the benefits of seeing Hugo in 3D, which paid off with a 75 percent 3D share. Paramount is currently planning to expand Hugo in to many more theaters on Dec. 9, which should help the movie hold well throughout the season.
Down in 10th place, Alexander Payne's The Descendants added a massive $9.38 million from just 390 locations. That's an incredibly strong expansion for the Fox Searchlight awards contender, and the movie will surely be making a nationwide expansion in the next week or two.
Aside from the onslaught of new family movies, the weekend also saw a few noteworthy limited releases targeted at adults. My Week with Marilyn burst on to the scene with $2.06 million over its first five days. After playing at 123 locations on Wednesday and Thursday, it expanded to 244 theaters for the traditional three-day weekend and claimed a spot in the Top 12 with $1.75 million.
David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method opened to $226,685 from four theaters over the five-day weekend for a solid $56,671 average. The period drama about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung stars Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender, and it should be in good shape for a solid limited run.
Finally, The Artist opened at four theaters on Friday and earned $204,878 for the three-day weekend. That's 58 percent of The King's Speech's opening at the same time last year. The Weinstein Company will likely expand the movie gradually over the next two months to take advantage of inevitable awards buzz and strong word-of-mouth, though it's hard to imagine this black-and-white silent movie playing well outside of arthouse theaters.
• 'Breaking Dawn's Huge Debut Just Shy of 'Twilight' Record
This Timeframe in Past Years:
• 2010 - 'Harry Potter,' 'Tangled' Tower Over Thanksgiving Weekend
• 2009 - Fading 'New Moon' Eclipses 'Twilight,' 'Blind Side' Surges
• 2008 - 'Four Christmases' Rushes Thanksgiving
• 2007 - 'Enchanted' Bewitches Thanksgiving
• 2006 - 'Happy Feet,' 'Casino Royale' Top Thanksgiving
• 2005 - 'Goblet' Gobbles 'Rent'
• Five-Day Holiday Weekend Box Office
• Three-Day Weekend Box Office
• All-Time Biggest 5-day Thanksgiving Openings
• All-Time Biggest 5-day Thanksgiving Weekends (all titles)