Box Office: ‘Twilight’ Feasts on Thanksgiving Audiences

The Reject ReportOut of all the family movies that were marketed towards reuniting families across America this weekend, and it’s the Twilight movie that came out on top once again. I can’t say I’m shocked, though. Only in its second weekend, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 dropped 69.8% from three-day weekend to three-day weekend. But its take last weekend was so huge that hardly any film could compete with it, even with such a massive drop. That level of drop wasn’t a shocker, either, seeing as how New Moon dropped 70% upon its release in November of 2009. As it stands, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is still in third place among overall domestic gross for the Twilight franchise, ahead of the first film and about $80m away from either New Moon or Eclipse.

With a reported budget of $110 – nearly double the cost of Eclipse, the second most expensive film in the series – you would think Summit Entertainment is thankful that the series is headed towards its end. Still, you have to look at worldwide box office, and Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is running smoothly with $488.8m overall. It’s still a solid investment, and Breaking Dawn – Part 2 will only be putting more and more dollars in Summit’s coffers.

The Muppets had fine footing over the weekend, too, even better when you factor in their 5-day total. It’s not quite the $65.2m The Muppet Movie pulled in total domestic in 1979. Of course, with inflation adjustment, The Muppet Movie basically made over $200m domestic, a feat this new Muppets movie doesn’t look capable of taking on. Nonetheless, The Muppets could have some strong legs under them, even though we can’t see them, and this could end up being a reasonable success for Disney.

Even with the influx of family entertainment, pretty much all the movies aiming for that family demographic pulled their weight here. Hugo and Arthur Christmas had comparable weekends. Happy Feet Two made a modest return here in its second weekend. Even Puss in Boots held strong once again bringing its total domestic gross to $135.4m, nearly $200m worldwide.

No one family film dominated and shut the other films out, a good sign for the overall box office but maybe not so much for the individual studios. None of them look to be making much of a return on the investments they put into their family film. All of them felt they had to open around this same date hoping their film would stand out, but they all got caught with positive word of mouth. They all did a fine job marketing themselves. They all worked to pull apart the very demographic they were all aiming for. There’s a lesson to be learned about log jamming here, and it’s one the studios have been needing to learn for a very long time.

Here’s how the weekend broke down (5-day totals in parentheses):

  1. Breaking Dawn – Part 1 – $41.6m ($61.8m) $220.8m total
  2. The Muppets – $29.2m ($41.5m) $41.5m total
  3. Happy Feet Two – $13.3m ($18.3m) $43.7m total
  4. Arthur Christmas – $12m ($16.3m) $16.3m total
  5. Hugo – $11.3m ($15.4m) $15.4m total
  6. Jack and Jill – $10m ($13.8m) $57.1m total
  7. Immortals – $8.8m ($12.6m) $68.7m total
  8. Puss in Boots – $7.5m ($10.4m) $135.4m total
  9. The Descendants – $7.3m ($9.3m) $10.8m total
  10. Tower Heist – $7.1m ($10m) $65.1m total

The total take for the weekend was $148.1m, $209.4m for the 5-day. That’s the lowest the Thanksgiving weekend has been since 2006 when Happy Feet topped the charts its second weekend out. We don’t mean to pick on the adorable penguins. It just works out that way. Granted, much of the weekend box office was taken away from the Wednesday and Thursday crowds, but, still, with one of the last Twilight films in only its second weekend and The Muppets riding a strong wave of buzz, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility to expect more.

One thing we can expect next weekend, and that’s Michael Fassbender’s penis. But that’s only for a select few of you markets out there. Shame is probably the biggest film to hit theaters next weekend in terms of notoriety, but it’s only opening on nine screens. In fact, there are only limited releases hitting next weekend, so it’ll surely be Twilight and The Muppets coming out on top once again. Sorry to all you who were expecting Fass-penis.

We’ll be back on Thursday to see how the weekend is shaping up.

Jeremy's been writing about movies for a good, 15 years, starting with the film review column of his high school newspaper. He stands proud as the first person in his high school to have seen (and recommend) Pulp Fiction. Jeremy went on to get a B.A. in Cinema and Photography with a minor in journalism. His experience and knowledge of film is aided by the list of 6600 films he has seen in his life (so far). Jeremy's belief is that there are no bad films, just unrealized possibilities. Except Batman and Robin. That shit was awful.

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