Weekend Box Office – BREAKING DAWN PART 1 Has Fifth Best Weekend of All Time with $139.5 Million

     November 20, 2011

Robert Pattinson Kristen Stewart Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1 image slice

While it fell short of breaking a series record, there is no diminishing the continued success of The Twilight Saga.  The penultimate chapter in Summit Entertainment’s astoundingly popular franchise, Breaking Dawn Part 1 posted this year’s second highest weekend total (and the fifth highest of all time) with an estimated $139.5 million from 4,061 locations.

Title Weekend Total
1 Breaking Dawn Part 1 $139,500,000 $139.5
2 Happy Feet Two $22,025,000 $22
3 Immortals $12,252,000 $52.9
4 Jack and Jill $12,000,000 $41
5 Puss In Boots $10,725,000 $122.3
6 Tower Heist $7,000,000 $53.4
7 J. Edgar $5,900,000 $20.6
8 Harold and Kumar 3D $2,900,000 $28.3
9 In Time $1,675,000 $33.4
10 The Descendants $1,222,000 $1.3

twilight-saga-breaking-dawn-part-1-movie-poster-finalIt was this week three years ago that Twilight caught a lot of people off guard with its nearly $70 million box office debut.  If you were not a teenage girl (or hadn’t paid attention to the news from 2008’s Comic Con) it felt like this tale of teen-vamp-love came out of nowhere to change the pop culture universe.  Within months the film had earned $192.7 million in domestic ticket sales, the studio had greenlit three sequels and the title Twilight had been changed to the more franchise-worthy The Twilight Saga.

But screw the history lesson.  I’m guessing that if you read this far you are either a box office geek or a Twilight fan.  In either case, you don’t need a blow by blow of where the series went from there… records smashed, girls screamed and the total domestic gross for each new release climbed a little bit higher than the last.  So, even with 20011’s bad box office climate, it was clear that Twilight Four was going to be big.  What was less clear was whether Breaking Dawn Part 1 would only look big in relation to recent box office numbers or whether it would measure up to the series’ storied past.

I am here to tell you that Breaking Dawn Part 1 is big by any measure. No records were broken this time around, though the fact that film came so close to matching New Moon should be sign enough that the franchise hasn’t lost any luster.  Breaking Dawn Part 1 earned the second-highest opening day in series’ history and the third highest of all time, behind New Moon and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. The latter title also claimed the all-time weekend record with $169.1 million last July, though it had a little help from its 3D price premium.  Breaking Dawn Part 1’s current estimate means that two of the five best weekends and three of the five best opening days in history now belong to The Twilight Saga. That’s about as impressive as it gets.

The weekend’s other franchise title was a bit less impressive.  Happy Feet Two opened to $22 million from 3,606 locations.  That is more than 45% off of Happy Feet’s $41.5 million launch in November of 2006.  When you consider the fact that the sequel was released in 3D, the discrepancy becomes even more glaring.

the-descendants-image-George Clooney Shailene Woodley Amara MilleFox Searchlight made it into the top ten with their limited release The Descendants. The dramedy starring George Clooney opened in five locations on Wednesday and expanded to 29 two days later.  So far, the film’s estimated weekend take of $1.2 million bodes well for its expansion into 425 theatres on the day before Thanksgiving.

Of course, by Thanksgiving things are going to get a little crowded with family fare.  Both Disney’s The Muppets and Sony’s 3D Arthur Christmas are opening in 3,300 locations, while Martin Scorsese’s 3D Hugo plays to a more modest 1,200.  With Breaking Dawn in the mix it looks like this year’s holiday box office could improve over 2010’s Thanksgiving frame… as long as The Muppets deliver for Disney the way that Tangled did last year.


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  • Natalie Lancaster

    Yes! Yes! Yes! OMG, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is absolutely incredible! I can’t wait for Part 2!
    MORE MORE MORE!!!! Don’t ever stop making Twilight movies! They’ve never been better…never! Never better! Woooo! :)

    • Brian

      I don’t know why but I want to punch you in the face… That is all.

    • Dakota

      You’re hurting the Lancaster name.

      • Pierce

        New Moon…nrrmmmmm
        Breaking Dawn….nrrrrmmmmmmmm…pop (head explode)

  • Carlos

    “2011’s bad box office climate”?
    Is this bitch out of her mind? There have been THREE films this year alone that have grossed over 1 billion dollars (something that’s never happened before), the last Harry Potter film shattered the opening day and weekend records held by New Moon and The Dark Knight, and by the looks of it, since this couldn’t even top New Moon in it’s opening weekend, I doubt it’ll even reach $300 million

    • l1

      Hey Carlos, maybe you should have read a little before you made your idiotic post but it’s made almost $300 million in this weekend alone world-wide and several markets like Germany and China still haven’t opened yet so read it and weep mofo Fandango Fandango
      ‘Breaking Dawn’ rises to $283.5M worldwide debut (AP) http://fandan.co/6015R9g3

      And you dip stick, the only reason why Potter got the record is for the 3D premium price. The one thing she’s incorrect is that BD did not open to over 4,000 theaters, it picked up those theaters later. It only opened to approx 3,800 without IMAX OR 3D ticket prices. If you add in the premium tix, & increased the number of theaters to the HP level, BREAKING DAWN WOULD HAVE KICKED HARRY POTTER’S ASS!! LOL!

      Do the math! It’s at $139K without premium ticket prices or IMAX theaters. Had it had the over 4K theater count and IMAX it would have crushed Harry Potter.

      And dude, don’t count your chickens just yet, there’s another Breaking Dawn film. Oh and BTW, it kicked the comparable Deathly Hallows Part 1′s ass!!! We still have another Breaking Dawn movie to go and this one is going to be even better because Bella’s a vampire.

      So grab your crying towels, Box Office recoords are going down next year. LOL!!! BTW, guys are even included in these figures. This is purely predominently females doing this around the world with a few guys. Harry Potter was gender neutral and Twilight still kicks ass because the majoritiy of the audience for Twilight is female.

      It’s a mega box office blockbuster made up of a female audience and it’s killing at the box office. So Carlos, talk what you know so you don’t make an ass of yourself.


      • Liam_H

        He obviously meant $300 million domestic, which is valid considering the last two tapered off around that mark.

        I’ll also add in that this series about self loathing of women will be forgotten pretty quickly.

      • Carlos

        I’m not comparing those two franchises in terms of their gross, I merely pointed out that this article’s author is seriously deluded if she thinks that it’s been a disappointing year at the box office. I can recognize that the Twilight franchise has a bigger fan base IN THE U.S. as opposed to Harry Potter. But on a GLOBAL scale, this is not THAT popular. Harry Potter 7 PART ONE alone made $50 million more in its opening weekend in the foreign box office than Breaking Dawn did. For this film to be truly successful, it would need to gross at least $300 million domestically and over $1 billion worldwide (which is obviously not going to happen)

      • Jessica

        when it comes down to it, harry potter has more depth which ultimately makes it the better series, with better effects, costumes, story lines, sets and ACTORS. a mosquito has more of a personality than kristen stewart does. These movies are not even on the same level AND there is absolutely no chance that part 2 of breaking dawn will even come close to the jaw dropping opening weekend sales that harry potter had.

        As far as fans for both franchises go, Harry Potter still has most of their loyal fans that have stuck with them for eight films, over the course of ten years. Many of the twilight fans have lost interest over the years, and before you go off saying that i have a biased opinion, i believe that i am qualified to say that, because my friends and i are included in that category.

        and just commenting on the 3D sales of HPpart2, if you took that out of the equation, it would still kick twilights ass. (for the obvious reasons that i have stated above)

        In the end the numbers do the talking.

  • matt

    So how big will Twilight’s second weekend drop be? 80% Or will enough girls see it a second time to at least somewhat limit the collapse?

  • Irena

    Silly boys, you know men when it comes to Twilight, they become such little babies!
    I love the Twilight series! Breaking Dawn – Part 1 was amazing!
    Oh, God, the only thing that’s going through my head to describe this movie, it’s like sex with an orgasm at the end of it!

    • Gus

      Twilight can make all of the money it wants, it’s still garbage. Liam H said it best when he said it’s about self loathing of women and it will be forgotten quickly. Also, if you were a man, sex would always end with an orgasm. Battle of the sexes over!

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