Box Office: On slow weekend, 'Breaking Dawn' is No. 1 again [Updated]
Not even lovable Kermit the Frog could pull moviegoers away from teen heartthrobs at the multiplex this weekend, as "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" claimed the No. 1 spot at the box office for the third consecutive time.
The fourth installment in the vampire series, starring Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, pulled in an additional $16.9 million this weekend, according to an estimate from distributor Summit Entertainment. After 17 days in theaters, the film has grossed an impressive $247.3 million in North America. Still, that's slightly lower than the $255.4 million the third "Twilight" film, "New Moon," grossed during the same time period in 2009.
Overall, weekend ticket sales were lackluster, as no new movies opened nationwide and audiences shied away from theaters after heading there in droves over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was the second-slowest moviegoing weekend of the year, with receipts totaling only $82 million, according to data compiled by Hollywood.com.
Heading into the weekend, it was expected that Walt Disney Studios' "The Muppets" would be able to outsell "Breaking Dawn." Despite being beloved by both critics and moviegoers, word-of-mouth on the kid-friendly picture was not strong enough to propel it to the top spot. Instead, the movie came in far below expectations with $11.2 million, bringing its overall total to $56.1 million since its debut over Thanksgiving.
Dave Hollis, Disney’s executive vice president of distribution, said he believes the film is in the process of “transitioning into being a family film” after playing to a large contingent of nostalgic adults last weekend. (Roughly 65% of the crowd who saw the movie upon its debut last weekend was over the age of 18.)
Compared with their competition, both "Hugo" and "Arthur Christmas" enjoyed relatively modest drops. Martin Scorsese's 3-D "Hugo" fell 33% to $7.6 million, while "Arthur Christmas," an animated 3-D holiday tale, saw receipts drop 39% to $7.4 million.
However, "Hugo" is still expanding into theaters nationwide; this weekend, it played in just over 1,800 locations. Paramount Pictures is rolling out the movie slowly in hopes of capitalizing on the movie's stellar critical reviews and awards buzz.
But the picture about an orphan living in a train station in 1930s Paris was also far more expensive to produce than "Arthur Christmas. The live-action film had a budget of between $150 million and $170 million, while the animated movie cost about $100 million to make. So far, both films have grossed around $25 million in total.
[Updated 12:02 p.m., Dec. 4: Though "The Help" was released in the U.S. back in the summer, the civil rights drama has continued to roll out overseas in the following months and this weekend crossed the $200-million mark at the global box office. The film has opened abroad in countries including Australia and France, and has collected a total of $31.5 million in ticket sales internationally. The movie's worldwide total now stands at $200.5 million as the picture is set to open in Germany next weekend.
Here are the top 10 current movies at the domestic box office, with international grosses when available, according to studio estimates and Hollywood.com:
2. "The Muppets" (Disney): $11.2 million on its second weekend, down 62%. $1.8 million overseas in three foreign markets. Domestic total: $56.1 million. International total: $4 million.
3. "Hugo" (Paramount/GK Films): $7.6 million on its second weekend, down 33%. Domestic total: $25.2 million.
4. "Arthur Christmas" (Sony): $7.4 million on its second weekend, down 39%. $11.4 million overseas in 52 foreign markets. Domestic total: $25.3 million. International total: $45.3 million.
5. "Happy Feet Two" (Warner Bros./Village Roadshow): $6 million on its third weekend, down 55%. $16.3 million overseas in 40 foreign markets. Domestic total: $51.8 million. International total: $34 million.
6. "Jack and Jill" (Sony): $5.5 million on its fourth weekend, down 45%. $3.2 million overseas in 22 foreign markets. Domestic total: $64.3 million. International total: $11.7 million.
7. "The Descendants" (Fox Searchlight): $5.2 million on its third weekend, down 29%. Domestic total: $18.1 million.
8. "Immortals" (Relativity): $4.4 million on its fourth weekend, down 50%. Domestic total: $75.6 million.
9. "Tower Heist" (Universal/Relativity): $4.1 million on its fifth weekend, down 42%. $4 million overseas in 45 foreign markets. Domestic total: $70.8 million. International total: $42.5 million.
10. "Puss in Boots" (Paramount/DreamWorks Animation): $3.1 million on its sixth weekend, down 59%. $23 million overseas in 26 foreign markets. Domestic total: $139.5 million. International total: $89.2 million.]
-- Amy Kaufman
Photo: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart star in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1." Credit: Summit Entertainment