Box Office Results for December 2, 2011

This weekend, the annual post-turkey blues smacked the North American box office as The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 topped a sluggish frame that saw new films open in wide release.  The rest of the top ten featured the same Thanksgiving leftovers although in different positions thanks to some awards contenders that expanded into more theaters.  Hollywood is hoping this was the calm before the storm as the final wave of new movies for the holiday season begins this Friday.

Breaking Dawn Part 1 became the first Twilight movie to ever rule the box office for three weeks in a row with its $16.9M frame, according to estimates.  The Summit blockbuster fell 60% from its Friday-to-Sunday take over the Thanksgiving holiday, which represented a better hold than 2009’s The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which fell by 64% in the exact same situation.  With $247.3M in 17 days, Breaking Dawn Part 1 is running 3% behind its predecessors The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and New Moon, which each had just over $255M in the bank in the same number of days despite being released in different seasons of the year.  The Bella-and-Edward wedding flick now ranks as the fourth biggest grosser of the year trailing fellow sequels – Warner Bros.Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($381M), Paramount and Hasbro’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($352.4M), and Warner Bros.’ The Hangover Part II ($254.5M).  A final North American gross of roughly $290M seems likely.

The fourth Twilight installment was still a big player at the overseas box office taking in another $40.2M in its third weekend.  That boosted the international total to a stellar $341M while the worldwide tally climbed up to $588.3M.  The four films in the franchise have now grossed a combined $2.4B globally averaging an amazing $600M per film.

Staying put in the runner-up spot was Walt Disney’s The Muppets, which tumbled 62% to an estimated $11.2M bumping the cume to $56.1M after 12 days.  The Kermit-and-Piggy pic suffered the worst fall of any film in the top ten despite winning a solid A grade from CinemaScore last week.  The well-known brand and the Black Friday school holiday contributed to a very strong showing upfront and now business is fading away.  The Muppets should stabilize next weekend since no new kidpics are opening and find its way to a final gross in the $80-90M range.

Martin Scorsese’s big-budget RealD 3D film Hugo rose two spots to third place thanks to a wider expansion plus strong word-of-mouth and reviews.  The PG-rated film went from 1,277 locations to 1,840 and grossed an estimated $7.6M for an average of $4,144.  The director’s acclaimed use of the 3D format continued to find audiences as 76% of the weekend’s gross came from 3D screens – the highest rate for any film in the format currently.  Hugo upped its profile in the Oscar race on Thursday when it was named the best picture of 2011 by the National Board of Review with Scorsese taking the director prize too.  If it earns top nominations next week from the Golden Globes, the Paramount release can continue to stay in the game at the box office at least until the next wave of family films arrives with Fox 2000 and Regency’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked on December 16 and Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin from Paramount and Columbia on December 21.  But with $25.2M in 12 days, Hugo should be able to cross the $50M domestic mark.

Enjoying the smallest decline in the top ten for a film not expanding, Sony Animation and Aardman’s holiday toon Arthur Christmas placed fourth with an estimated $7.4 in its second weekend dipping only 39%.  The 3D kidpic has taken in a modest $25.3M in its first 12 days but its yuletide theme should allow it to have good legs for a few more weeks.  Both of next weekend’s new wide releases – New Line’s New Year’s Eve and 20th Century Fox’s The Sitter – will play to adults and not hurt the family marketplace too much.  A final domestic take in the neighborhood of $50M seems likely.  Overseas, where Arthur Christmas has been playing longer, the weekend saw a haul of an estimated $11.4M putting the international sum at $45.3M and the worldwide figure at $70.6M.

Warner Bros. saw an estimated $6M for its expensive animated sequel Happy Feet Two.  With $51.8M in 17 days, the 3D toon is running a disturbing 57% behind the pace of its predecessor, which held the number one spot during all three of its first weekends.  The domestic final should reach about $65M and the studio will hope for much better results from international markets where 3D animation can deliver much stronger results.  This weekend, the penguin pic opened in Russia, the U.K., Germany, and Spain and collected an estimated $16.3M from 40 markets for an international total of $34M and a worldwide take of only $85.8M.

Finishing in sixth place was Adam Sandler’s latest Razzie hopeful Jack and Jill, which made an estimated $5.5M, down 45%, for a cume to date of $64.3M.  The Columbia and Happy Madison film looks to end with $75-80M making it one of the actor’s worst-performing “broad comedies”.

George Clooney’s dysfunctional family saga The Descendants continued to score big points with ticket buyers in moderate release rising two spots to number seven with an estimated $5.2M.  For the third weekend in a row, the Fox Searchlight release posted the best per-theater average in the top ten with a sturdy $9,059 from 574 locations, up 141 from last weekend.  All other film sin the top ten averaged between $1,100 and $4,200.  The Hawaii-set film earned a handful of nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards this past week including best picture and director and will continue to add new theaters throughout December.  The Descendants saw its gross dip by only 29% and its average fall by 47% thanks to the expansion.  The current cume of $18.1M is sure to double by the end of the month.

Dropping 51% in its fourth attack was the 3D actioner Immortals, which collected an estimated $4.4M pushing the Relativity film’s domestic gross past its $75M budget to $75.6M.  Overseas, the Greek mythology adventure has taken in north of $100M.  Look for the North American figure to end up at around the $85M mark.

The Ben StillerEddie Murphy comedy Tower Heist held up surprisingly well sliding only 42% to an estimated $4.1M.  Universal and Imagine have banked $70.8M so far and could be headed for an $80M finish.  Rounding out the top ten was the InTru3D animated pic Puss in Boots, which tumbled 59% to an estimated $3.1M and $139.5M total.  The second highest grossing film since Labor Day after Breaking Dawn Part 1, the Paramount release will end up in the $145-150M range putting it in the same company of last year’s November offering from DreamWorks Animation, Megamind, which grossed $148.4M.  Puss in Boots grabbed an estimated $23M overseas this weekend to raise the international sum to $89.2M and the global tally to $228.7M.

Platforming in just 10 theaters in six top markets and generating plenty of heat was Fox Searchlight, Film4, and UK Film Council’s Shame, which debuted to an estimated $361,000 for a potent $36,100 average.  The NC-17 film starring Michael Fassbender as a New York bachelor addicted to sex has won positive reviews as well as universal praise for its leading man who is currently one of the favorites in the competitive Best Actor Oscar race.  Shame will take a slow and steady approach to its roll-out expanding to nine more theaters on Friday in such markets as Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, and Philadelphia.

Awards hopefuls in limited release continued to reach out to arthouse crowds with mixed results.  Fassbender saw encouraging results from his other indie release, David Cronenberg’s Sigmund Freud pic A Dangerous Method co-starring Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley, which collected an estimated $123,000 from four sites for a solid $30,750 average for Sony Classics.  The Weinstein Co.’s silent film The Artist, which last week won best picture and director honors from the New York Film Critics Circle, widened slightly in its second weekend from four to six houses and grossed an estimated $206,000 for a strong $34,333 average.  Cumes are $416,000 and $496,000, respectively.

The biopic My Week With Marilyn saw a more subdued response from audiences grossing an estimated $1.2M from 244 theaters for a mild $4,836 average.  The Weinstein Co. and BBC have have taken in $3.9M to date for the Michelle Williams film, which should earn the actress plenty of nominations in the coming months from various awards givers.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $71.4M, which was down 5% from last year when Walt Disney Animation StudiosTangled rose to the top spot with $21.6M; and down 17% from 2009 when Warner Bros. Pictures and Alcon Entertainment’s The Blind Side climbed into number one with $20M.


December 2, 2011 to December 4, 2011 Top Ten



1.   The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1

  • $16,900,000
  • Summit Entertainment

2.   The Muppets

  • $11,200,000
  • Walt Disney Pictures (Disney)

3.   Hugo

4.   Arthur Christmas

  • $7,350,000
  • Sony Pictures Animation (Sony) and Aardman Animations

5.   Happy Feet Two

6.   Jack and Jill

  • $5,500,000
  • a Columbia release (Sony)
  • Happy Madison Productions

7.   The Descendants

8.   Immortals

  • $4,394,000
  • Relativity Media

9.   Tower Heist

  • $4,135,000
  • Universal Pictures (NBCUniversal) and Imagine Entertainment

10. Puss in Boots

  • $3,100,000
  • a Paramount release (Viacom)
  • DreamWorks Animation SKG (DreamWorks SKG)


December 3, 2010 to December 5, 2010 Top Ten



1.   Tangled

  • $21,609,000
  • Walt Disney Animation Studios (Disney)

2.   Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

  • $17,018,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (TimeWarner)

3.   Burlesque

4.   Unstoppable

  • $5,970,000
  • 20th Century Fox (Fox)

5.   Love & Other Drugs

6.   Megamind

  • $4,937,000
  • a Paramount release (Viacom)
  • DreamWorks Animation SKG (DreamWorks SKG)

7.   Due Date

  • $4,133,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (TimeWarner)

8.   Faster

9.   The Warrior’s Way

  • $3,049,000
  • a Rogue release (Relativity Media)
  • Wellmade Entertainment

10. The Next Three Days


December 4, 2009 to December 6, 2009 Top Ten



1.   The Blind Side

  • $20,043,000
  • a Warner Bros. release (TimeWarner)
  • Alcon Entertainment

2.   The Twilight Saga: New Moon

  • $15,428,000
  • Summit Entertainment

3.   Brothers

  • $9,528,000
  • a Lionsgate release (Lions Gate Entertainment)
  • Relativity Media

4.   A Christmas Carol

5.   Old Dogs

  • $6,892,000
  • Walt Disney Pictures (Disney)

6.   2012

  • $6,772,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony)

7.   Armored

  • $6,511,000
  • Screen Gems (Sony)

8.   Ninja Assassin

9.   Planet 51

10. Everybody’s Fine

~ by Matt Whitfield on December 6, 2011.

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