Decline of western civilization, moviegoers aren’t smart, cinema is dead, bla bla bla. Edward and Bella performed yet another hit-and-run on the box office this weekend, and while “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” closes this particular story with a $140 million three-day opening, you’d have to be a Grade-A Moron to think that a series that consistently produces $100 million plus weekends is going to be put into storage by Lionsgate, even if the studio now has a new ATM machine in “The Hunger Games” films.
This opening is slightly better than ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 1,’ but failed to eclipse (har!) ‘New Moon,’ the second film in the series. So, the bad news is, the base for these films never expanded. But holding on to an audience consistently over this many films means the studio knows exactly what the Twihards wants, critics or quality be damned. And with the numbers adding up to the 8th best opening of all time domestically, and taking in a total of $340.9 million worldwide for a franchise total of $2.84 billion across five movies — even the Volturi have got to respect that. This marks the end of the series for a while, as next year brings the introduction of several new YA adaptations to fill the void. But don’t think that the Lionsgate/Summit Voltron is going to let this sleeping beast lie dormant for too long.
After a massive opening weekend, “Skyfall” took the expected drop, losing a large chunk of that blockbuster audience to ‘Breaking Dawn.’ Of course, not only is it sparkling compared to the nearly 70% plunge taken by “Quantum of Solace,” but it will pass its predecessor by midweek to become the most successful Bond film domestically. After the mammoth first day for “Skyfall,” the question was no longer if this would be the biggest Bond, but by what margin. And with ease, “Skyfall” has become the highest grossing picture in the series of all time with $669.2 million globally.
With a slow expansion, “Lincoln” landed at 1,775 locations, and in its first weekend of semi-wide release, the picture put up a per-screen average nearly as high as “Skyfall,” currently available in twice as many theaters. While the release was structured differently due to the holidays, Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” had a similar debut last year, but in more theaters, and with less buzz – “Lincoln“ is likely to play stronger, particularly over the coming Thanksgiving weekend. Some were worried after the exhausting elections that “Lincoln” would be an underperformer, but the appeal of the sixteenth President reaches across both aisles. The guy is printed on MONEY, people. Can’t say the same about Bella Swan. Yet.
“Wreck-It Ralph” eased up similarly to its second weekend, suggesting this isn’t a spectacular hit, but a decent programmer relative to budget. $200 million is likely out of the question, and it will be challenged by “Rise of the Guardians” over the holiday weekend. “Flight” was only a tad behind, crossing $60 million after three weekends, a solid number for an R-rated drama.
“Argo” is chugging along, and it’s quite possible the drama can limp to $100 million by the end of Thanksgiving weekend; a massive success that definitely underscores Ben Affleck as both a bankable director and leading man. “Taken 2” also continues to play — right now it’s only making time at the bottom half of the top ten and doesn’t look like it will surpass the $145 million logged by the first one. However, the film has judo-chopped more than $200 million in worldwide receipts — more than twice as much as its predecessor. For comparison’s sake, Sylvester Stallone and his team of all-star badasses could only goose “The Expendables 2” to a $300 million global total. And now we know that Liam Neeson is worth several Dolph Lundgrens.
“Pitch Perfect” and “Here Comes the Boom” are exiting stage right, crossing $60 and $40 million, respectively. Clocking in at tenth place is a rarity, a Bollywood film called “Jab Tak Hai Jaan,” which performed quite strongly at only 161 locations. Industry superstar Shah Rukh Khan helped push this one to the fourth-best per-screen average in the top ten this week.
The news wasn’t as strong for two awards hopefuls. Sixteen locations greeted “Anna Karenina,” which is expected to gross close to $315k, a modest result. Meanwhile, “Silver Linings Playbook” began a platform release, instead of a wide release bow that The Weinstein Company was initially planning. This weekend’s take proved this was a prudent decision, as the film will debut with $458k at sixteen locations, a strong number. And if anyone knows how to release a film like this it’s The Weinstein Company, so this opening could very likely be a distant memory if they expand the film into the holiday season to stronger grosses from word of mouth. Support your local arthouse theater, boys and girls.
1. Twilight: Gargling Drano (Lionsgate/Summit) – $141.3 million
2. Javier Bardem Hacks Her Majesty’s Secret Servers (Sony) – $41.5 million ($161.3 mil.)
3. Abraham Lincoln: SAG Award Hunter (Disney/Dreamworks) – $21 million ($22.4 mil.)
4. Wreck-It Rufio (Disney) – $18.3 million ($121.5 mil.)
5. Don’t Trust That Pilot! (Paramount) – $8.6 million ($61.3 mil.)
6. Argo (Warner Bros.) – $4 million ($92 mil.)
7. Taken: The Destruction Of Jared-Syn (Fox) – $2.1 million ($134.6 mil.)
8. Pitch Perfect (Universal) – $1.3 million ($61.6 mil.)
9. Jab Tak Hai Jaan (Yash Raj) – $1.2 million
10. Here Comes The Boom (Sony) – $1.1 million ($41 mil.)