Weekend Box Office: Record-Breaking Thanksgiving Holiday Led by Holdovers BREAKING DAWN PART 2 and SKYFALL; Slow Start for RISE OF THE GUARDIANS

     November 25, 2012

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After a slow start on Wednesday and Thursday, the domestic box office roared to life on Black Friday and ended with the highest five-day Thanksgiving frame of all time. Holdovers were the main course, with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, Skyfall and Lincoln claiming the top three spots. But audiences also made room for new arrivals, including Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, the long-delayed Red Dawn remake and the CGI-animated Rise of the Guardians.

Title Weekend Total
1. Breaking Dawn Part 2 $43,070,000 $226.9
2. Skyfall $36,000,000 $221.7
3. Lincoln $25,020,000 $62.1
4. Rise of the Guardians $24,025,000 $32.6
5. Life of Pi $22,000,000 $30.1
6. Wreck-It Ralph $16.760,000 $149.5
7. Red Dawn $14,600,000 $22
8. Flight $8,600,000 $74.8
9. Silver Linings Playbook $4,623,000 $6.4
10. Argo $3,875,000 $98.1

twilight-breaking-dawn-part-2-posterOn the first Friday of the 2012 holiday season the domestic box office had gifts for just about every studio. In some cases, earnings jumped by triple digits from Thanksgiving Day and, by the end of the weekend, overall grosses easily topped 2009’s $270 million to establish a new five-day record for the holiday frame.

Leading the post-Thanksgiving charge was Breaking Dawn Part 2. In its second week, the final chapter in Summit’s Twilight Saga earned an estimated $64 million over five-days for the third-best Thanksgiving frame in history. For the three-day period, Part 2 was down almost 70% with $43 million – a big drop but a number that still tops both Breaking Dawn Part 1 and New Moon in terms of The Twilight Saga’s all-time Thanksgiving weekend earnings. Breaking Dawn Part 2 has already made $577 million worldwide and, here in the US, it crossed the $200 million mark on Friday after just eight days.

Skyfall also crossed $200 million on Black Friday – the first film in the James Bond franchise to reach that particular goal in the US. The 23rd film in the series has also continued to make waves internationally: earning a reported $790 million worldwide with Sunday’s estimate included. Following Breaking Dawn Part 2 and Skyfall in the Thanksgiving weekend top three, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln reached the more modest total of $50 million after 16 days (the first seven of which it spent in just eleven locations).

DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians debuted in fourth place this Thanksgiving – a slightly disappointing start for a film that was promoted as the must-see family film of the season. The CGI-animated feature (released by Paramount) had a very slow first two days, earning just $8.5 million from Wednesday and Thursday combined. The film saw a 150% surge on Black Friday, however, and finished the weekend with a respectable $24 million, or $32.6 million for the five-day frame. In terms of recent holiday releases, Rise of the Guardians did not come close to the $48.7 million (or $68.7 million five-day) total earned by Tangled in 2010. On the other hand, the success of a holiday film is not wholly dependent on its debut and, with its promising ‘A’ CinemaScore in the mix, there is a good chance that Guardians will build momentum over the coming weeks.

Unlike Rise of the Guardians, Life of Pi had a better than expected holiday showing. It was the only film to see a significant rise from its Wednesday debut to Thanksgiving Day and it saw another big jump (almost 100%) on Black Friday. Based on the best-selling book of the same name, director Ang Lee’s compute-generated fantasy was projected to take in just $20 million over its first five days. Instead, it made that over the three-day weekend alone.

red-dawn-posterFilm District’s Red Dawn also did better than expected. The long (long) awaited remake of the 1984 cult classic was completed almost three years ago and remained a hostage to MGM’s bankruptcy proceedings ever since. The teen drama starring Chris Hemsworth was expected to pull in $18 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday but made almost $15 million this weekend and an estimated $22 million from Wednesday through Sunday.

After opening in 16 locations last Friday, the Weinstein Company’s Silver Linings Playbook went wider on Wednesday. From 367 dates, the R-rated romantic comedy starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence earned an estimated $4.6 million this weekend and $5.9 million for the five-day frame.

The Weinstein Co. will have a second movie in the mix next Friday with Killing Them Softly. Even with Brad Pitt in the lead, however, the R-rated drama is not expected to make box office waves. That will leave plenty of room for familiar holdovers like Breaking Dawn Part 2 to pad their domestic totals while newer titles like Rise of the Guardians and Life of Pi try to find their places in the holiday pecking order.

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