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Weekend Box Office: It’s A ‘Twilight’ Thanksgiving While ‘The Muppets’ Wins The Family Film Battle Royale

Weekend Box Office: It's A 'Twilight' Thanksgiving While 'The Muppets' Wins The Family Film Battle Royale

It’s Thankgiving, which means people spend time and money to go see their loved ones, only to get away from them as fast as possible. And always the first to escape from dull holiday festivities, it looks like teens (and Moms who should know better) kept flocking to see Edward and Bella fang bang as “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1” took the top spot in week number two, taking in $62.3 million over the five day long weekend. However, the franchise is becoming increasingly front-loaded with its biggest second week drop over, hovering somewhere around 76%. Even so, the film should have at least one more solid week in the bank as next weekend is a bizarrely barren with no major release scheduled. However, it will likely be leap-frogged by this weekend’s number two movie “The Muppets.”

Disney is likely very happy with the franchise return taking in $42 million over five days. While the movie only cost $45 million to produce, the extensive marketing campaign which has been going since the late spring/early summer likely means this one needs another solid weekend to put it into the black. However, with audiences giving the movie a firm CinemaScore grade of A, the film should have long legs through the holiday season and should have a relatively easy time taking the box office top spot next weekend. You can bet the suits at Disney are already thinking sequel.

Speaking of sequel, don’t expect a third installment for “Happy Feet.” While the B+ score ensured “Happy Feet Two” stayed in the top three this weekend, reports are already circulating that layoffs are on the way and Warner Bros. is deeply unhappy as the movie went $50 million overbudget, and it looks unlikely to have the kind of cachet that allowed the first film to vault itself to a Best Animated Film Oscar nomination. Granted, the $17.6 million haul and decent 38% drop kept it above the bulk of its competition this weekend, next weekend will be the real test as to whether it’ll stick around for the holidays or get lost next to its better reviewed rivals.

Certainly, Sony and Aardman Animation are hoping that people will get into the holiday spirit over the next few weeks as “Arthur Christmas” debuted at #4 at $16.5 million over five days. And yes, that includes the extra 3D ticket price bump. That’s even less than the $18 million “Flushed Away” took in over three days in 2006 and it’s dismal start for the movie which doesn’t seem to be doing much outside of its native U.K., home to Aardman. The good news is, “Arthur Christmas” received an A- CinemaScore which will hopefully help out the the only family film this weekend not based on a pre-existing property in the weeks to come. Add to that families and kids feeling more Christmas-y as we get closer to Santa Day and the future may not be so bleak. But it will need strong legs to even reach the $60 million domestic of its predecessor; Aardman could be facing dark days ahead.

And while it be easy to call the number five debut of Martin Scorsese‘s “Hugo” a disappointment, there are a couple of things to consider. Firstly, it opened on a third of the screens of “Arthur Christmas” and “The Muppets,” in a platform style release that saw it earn one of the best per-screen averages of any movie this weekend. Add to that an A- CinemaScore and rave reviews from critics and you have a movie that looks like it could be here for the long haul. However, with a production said to have gone overbudget to the tune of $150 million, $15.4 million over five days is just a drop in the huge bucket of cash this one will need to make to break even, not to mention make a profit. International dollars are going to be crucial on this movie, however, unlike “The Muppets” or “Arthur Christmas” the movie has the Scorsese stamp allows the film to skew to older auds where those films don’t. It may also provide fodder for the early tween set who may be too old for some of the other family fare out there, so it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Meanwhile, America still loves Adam Sandler even when he’s completely checked out mentally, creatively and on any other level you can think of. “Jack & Jill” takes the sixth spot, with $14 million with the movie now headed toward a $75 million domestic haul. It’s one of his worst outings ever, but with a budget somewhere around $80 million it should wind up sliding into profitiability (if the relentless product placement hasn’t already covered a significant portion of the budget).

The once miraculous looking “Immortals” is now headed to the bottom of the top ten in week three, and possibly out by next weekend landing in number seven. But now nearing a $70 million tally domestically, with roughly the same amount overseas, the film has performed well beyond expectations and Relativity has got to be happy. Meanwhile, “Puss In Boots” continues to pad the coffers as it heads over $135 million domestic, goes over $180 million worldwide with plenty of foreign territories still to open. Antonio Banderas can rest assured he’ll have more voicework in the near future.

Meanwhile, “Tower Heist” sputters along and can be viewed as nothing short of disappointment, taking ninth spot giving the film a $65 million domestic tally. Considering the movie cost a reported $75 million (though we’d guess it likely cost more), Universal can’t be viewing this as anything more than a failure and it means both Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy will need to do penance in a paycheck family movie in the future (the latter already has “Hong Kong Phooey” lined up). For the pariah Brett Ratner, his days of big budget schlock may be over. If he has a dream indie movie screenplay somewhere in his mansion, he might want to dust that one off.

Meanwhile at the arthouse, George Clooney continues to pack ’em with “The Descendants” as it expanded this weekend into 433 theaters, allowing it to jump into the top ten with a very strong $7.2 million. Despite the relentless marketing, audiences seemed cooler on “My Week With Marilyn” which entered 244 theaters taking in $1.7 million (proof that Michelle Williams is an arthouse darling, but not yet a high wattage star). Meanwhile, on four screens each, both “The Artist” and “A Dangerous Method” made very strong showings, promising good things to come as they roll out particularly as awards season heat builds.

But despite the plethora of new films hitting theaters, audiences seemed to prefer lining up for Black Friday buying movie tickets — the box office faced a 12% drop compared to the same frame last year.

Box Office Top Ten (5-Day Figures)

1. “Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” – $62.5 million ($221.3 million)
2. “The Muppets” – $42 million
3. “Happy Feet Two” – $13.4 million ($43.8 million)
4. “Arthur Christmas” – $17 million
5. “Hugo” – $15.4 million
6. “Jack & Jill” – $14 million ($57.4 million)
7. “Immortals” – $13.3 million ($68.6 million)
8. “Puss In Boots” – $11.5 million ($135.3 million)
9. “Tower Heist” – $10 million ($65.3 million)
10. “The Descendants” – $7.2 million

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