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Weekend Report: 'Twilight,' Bond Dominate Fruitful Thanksgiving

by Ray Subers
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
 

 
November 25, 2012

With a handful of strong holdovers and a few interesting new releases, moviegoers turned out in massive numbers over the Thanksgiving weekend. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, Skyfall and Lincoln held on to their positions in the top three, while newcomers Life of Pi and Red Dawn outperformed. The only disappointment was Rise of the Guardians, which missed the mark for a DreamWorks Animation offering.

For the three-day weekend, the Top 12 earned $200.4 million, which set a new Thanksgiving record ahead of 2009's $175.2 million.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 earned $43.6 million for the three-day frame ($64.4 million five-day), which is the highest-grossing second weekend ever for a Twilight movie. Through 10 days in theaters, the franchise finale has taken in $227.4 million, and is tracking less than $4 million behind New Moon.

In second place, Skyfall added $35.5 million ($50.5 million five-day) for a new total of $221.1 million. It's already easily the highest-grossing Bond movie ever ahead of Quantum of Solace ($168.4 million), and it's on pace to close with at least $270 million.

While Breaking Dawn and Skyfall ranked first and second, respectively, the real all-star of the weekend was third place finisher Lincoln. In its second nationwide outing, the Steven Spielberg political drama was impressively up 22 percent to $25.7 million ($34.8 million five-day). The movie has already grossed $62.8 million; it's hard to say exactly how it's going to play over the next few weeks, but it does now appear guaranteed to earn over $100 million.

Rise of the Guardians opened to a poor $23.8 million over the three-day weekend, which added up to a $32.3 million five-day start. That's way less than The Muppets ($41.5 million) last year or Tangled ($68.7 million) two years ago. More importantly, though, the movie's five-day start is lower than any three-day opening for a DreamWorks Animation movie since 2006's Flushed Away.

The movie's audience was 57 percent female and 53 percent under the age of 25. They largely rejected 3D showings, as that format only accounted for 35 percent of the movie's box office.

Combine good word-of-mouth ("A" CinemaScore) and the holiday tie-in, and Guardians is at least likely to perform well over the next few weeks. Still, it's going to have a tough time getting past $100 million, which is terrible for an expensive DreamWorks movie.

Life of Pi was slightly behind Guardians with $22.5 million for the three-day weekend and $30.6 million for its five-day opening. That's about twice as much as Hugo made over the same period last year, though Pi was playing in more than twice the number of theaters. The movie's audience was 52 percent male and 60 percent were 25 years of age and up, and they gave Pi a solid "A-" CinemaScore. Unlike Guardians, people sought out the 3D version of Pi, and it represented 68 percent of the movie's box office.

Wreck-It Ralph flexed its muscles again with $16.6 million over the three-day frame ($22.8 million five-day), which was off just 10 percent from last weekend. That hold is surprising given the direct competition from Guardians, and reinforces the fact that Ralph is getting some of the best word-of-mouth for an animated movie in years. The Disney Animation movie has now grossed $149.3 million.

The long-delayed Red Dawn remake opened in seventh place this weekend with $14.3 million ($21.7 million five-day start). That's a fine debut, and is even more impressive considering the movie was shot over three years ago. According to distributor FilmDistrict, Red Dawn played best through the South and in military areas, and the movie's demographic breakdown was 62 percent male and 52 percent 25 years of age and older. Audiences awarded it a middling "B" CinemaScore, and odds are it fizzles pretty quickly in the next few weeks.

Silver Linings Playbook expanded to 367 locations this weekend and wound up in ninth place with $4.4 million ($5.7 million five-day). That would be a great result if the movie was exclusively riding word-of-mouth buzz at this point; however, The Weinstein Company's marketing pitched the movie as a Nov. 21 release, meaning this could essentially be the opening weekend gross (albeit without the full theater count potential). Further expansion plans are unclear right now, though it's easy to imagine the movie getting a nationwide push on Dec. 7 against weak competition from Playing for Keeps.

With tough competition for adult audiences from Skyfall, Lincoln and Silver Linings, two new limited releases failed to break out this weekend. Hitchcock grossed $287,715 at 17 locations for a mediocre $16,924 per-theater average, while Rust and Bone only mustered up $27,154 at two theaters ($13,577 average). Hitchcock will expand in to 45 or 50 locations this coming weekend, while Rust and Bone's expansion plans are currently unknown.

Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo, and follow author Ray Subers at @raysubers.

This Weekend's Forecast:
Forecast: 'Guardians,' 'Pi' Target Family Audiences Over Thanksgiving

This Weekend in Past Years:
2011 - 'Twilight' Leads, 'Muppets' Succeeds Over Thanksgiving Weekend

2010 - 'Harry Potter,' 'Tangled' Tower Over Thanksgiving Weekend
2009 - Fading 'New Moon' Eclipses 'Twilight,' 'Blind Side' Surges
2008 - 'Four Christmases' Rushes Thanksgiving
2007 - 'Enchanted' Bewitches Thanksgiving
2006 - 'Happy Feet,' 'Casino Royale' Top Thanksgiving
2005 - 'Goblet' Gobbles 'Rent'

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