Box office: 'Twilight,' 'Muppets' besting 'Hugo,' 'Arthur Christmas'
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" is easily topping the holiday weekend box office, followed closely by "The Muppets," the strongest-performing new film to open Wednesday. But the animated "Arthur Christmas" and Martin Scorsese's 3-D "Hugo" are lagging far behind with soft starts.
"Breaking Dawn," the fourth of Summit Entertainment's planned five movies based on the bestselling books, sold $20.3 million worth of tickets on Wednesday and Thursday and is on track to collect roughly $56 million by Sunday. "The Muppets" grossed $12.5 million in its first two days in theaters and should get to about $40 million by Sunday.
Although those are the strongest numbers posted at the box office this weekend, neither is particularly impressive. "Breaking Dawn" is on track to collect about $10 million less over the holiday weekend than the third "Twilight" movie, "New Moon," which opened the Friday before Thanksgiving in 2009. And "The Muppets" appears likely to come in below estimates based on pre-release surveys that indicated it would take in about $45 million.
The weekend's biggest disappointment so far is "Arthur Christmas." Sony Pictures' animated film, made in collaboration with Britain's Aardman Animations, took in only $4.3 million its first two days in theaters. The well-reviewed film, which cost approximately $100 million to produce, will gross about $15 million by Sunday.
"Hugo," Scorsese's adaptation of the children's book about a boy building a mechanical friend in a Parisian train station, has generated about $4 million since Wednesday and will likely sell $15 million worth of tickets by the end of the weekend. That's roughly the same as "Arthur Christmas," but playing at about 2,000 fewer theaters than its animated rival.
Financier GK Films spent significantly more to make "Hugo," though -- close to $150 million, according to the company, and around $170 million, according to a person close to the picture. That means the film, which is being released and marketed by Paramount Pictures, will ultimately have to open on more screens and perform significantly better to become a domestic box-office success.
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson in a scene from "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1." Credit: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment