Weekend Box Office – BREAKING DAWN PART 1 Makes it Three in a Row with $16.9 Million

     December 4, 2011

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After two weeks spent chasing the superior numbers of New Moon, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 has finally achieved something that its predecessor could not: three weeks in a row on top of the domestic box office.

Title Weekend Total
1 Breaking Dawn Part 1 $16,900,000 $247.2
2 The Muppets $11,200,000 $56.4
3 Hugo $7,625,000 $25.1
4 Arthur Christmas $7,350,000 $25.2
5 Happy Feet $6,000,000 $51.7
6 Jack and Jill $5,500,000 $64.3
7 The Descendants $5,200,000 $18
8 Immortals $4,394,000 $75.5
9 Tower Heist $4,134,000 $70.7
10 Puss In Boots $3,050,000 $139.5

twilight-saga-breaking-dawn-part-1-movie-poster-finalYou may recall that on this weekend in 2009, The Blind Side managed a mini-miracle when it replaced New Moon at number one after playing second-fiddle to the film for its first two weeks.  Then last year Eclipse, the only film of The Twilight Saga to launch in July, claimed just one week on top before Despicable Me dislodged it. In 2008 Twilight also spent just one week in first place, which means that Breaking Dawn Part 1 has now become the first film of the franchise to string together three weeks on top of the domestic box.  Granted, Breaking Dawn’s current weekend estimate of $16.9 million is not significantly higher than the $15.4 million New Moon made at its own three week mark so what we have here is a symbolic victory… and on a very slow weekend for box office news at that.

The other significant news for Breaking Dawn came earlier this week when Part 1 crossed the $500 million mark worldwide. Once again, New Moon holds the franchise record with $709 million in combined domestic and international grosses, though Eclipse is not far behind with $698 million.  So far, Breaking Dawn has topped earlier Twilight releases in many overseas markets, so it seems likely that its final worldwide tally will get close to that $700 mark.

In case you couldn’t guess by looking at the titles in the top ten chart, the studios offered no new wide releases this weekend.  That’s because the weekend after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the least profitable frames of the entire year – and 2011 certainly doesn’t seem to be bucking the trend.  Looking at the top ten, this year should come in on par with 2010, when Tangled took number one with $21.6 million.

the-descendants-image-George Clooney Shailene Woodley Amara MilleThough no new titles emerged (yes, I do realize there were some specialty releases), two holdover titles did get increased visibility.  Paramount expanded the run of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo from 1,277 to 1,840 locations while Fox Searchlight’s The Descendants increased its count from 390 to 574.  Neither film was able to turn those additional venues into increased grosses, however.  Hugo fell off by 33% while The Descendants dropped 29% from Thanksgiving weekend.

Next week New Year’s Eve (and its cast of thousands) will hit nationwide along with the R-rated comedy The Sitter, thankfully providing me with something new to talk about.  Considering what a hit the last big-ensemble holiday flick, Valentine’s Day, turned out to be, I’m thinking that box office totals will end up topping 2010 levels – when The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Tourist were the biggest things going.

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