SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 8TH UPDATE: Oh sure, you’re too cool (or too male) for the Twilight Saga global phenom. But Summit Entertainment’s Breaking Dawn Part 1 is shattering the four-month-old North American box office slump and shooting the overall moviegoing weekend of $222 million up +14% from last year’s total. Hollywood should be grateful to females young and old for keeping the business buoyed this weekend now that young males have abandoned indiscriminate moviegoing. (Seriously, give thanks early.)
Here is the Top 10 rundown. Full analysis later:
1. Breaking Dawn Part 1 (Summit) NEW [4,061 Theaters]
Friday $72M, Saturday $40.7M, Weekend $139.5M
Yowza! Summit Entertainment was cautiously optimistic that this fourth Twilight Saga installment Breaking Dawn Part 1 could break records. It recorded the 5th best opening weekend of all time, the 3rd best-ever Single Day and Friday opening, and the 2nd best midnight debut. Despite director Bill Condon receiving the worst reviews of the franchise, audiences gave it a ‘B+’ CinemaScore, with females bestowing an ‘A-‘. Also, the penultimate pic based on Stephenie Meyer’s vampire romance novels soared internationally as it rolled out in 54 markets around the globe with $144M from Wednesday through Sunday screenings. The global total is now $283.5M. This installment had a budget of $110M budget, the buggest of the franchise. The fact that Breaking Dawn couldn’t exceed New Moon‘s numbers ($142.8M domestic, $296.6M global) isn’t dampening Summit’s relief one bit. Given the dismal state of box office for the past four months, the studio saw that its Twilight Saga is as popular as ever, grossing over $1 billion in international alone to date.
2. Happy Feet Two (Warner Bros) NEW [3,606 Theaters]
Friday $5.9M, Saturday $9.3M, Weekend $22M
Given how well family fare is doing at the North American box office these days, the real test for this 3D sequel to George Miller’s beloved 2D toon will be over Thanksgiving weekend. But for now Happy Feet Two is grossing only half of the 2006 original, which opened to a $41.5 weekend. “One word: disaster. Despite being in 3D,” a rival studio exec snarked to me. But another noted, “No doubt all the families are waiting until next week to go to the movies.” Pic released on the anniversary of the original and received a ‘B+’ CinemaScore from audiences. Hollywood expected an opening in the high $30sM. Nope. Not even close. And next week The Muppets movie debuts so more competition for the tots and their parents. On the other hand, singing and dancing CGI penguins are hard to resist.
3. Immortals (Relativity) Week 2 [3,120 Theaters]
Friday $3.8M, Saturday $5.1M, Weekend $12.2M (-62%), Cume $52.9M
That’s an unfortunate drop for a 300-clone that underperformed last Friday. Immortals is not the Hail Mary that Relativity hoped it would be.
4. Jack And Jill (Sony) Week 2 [3,438 Theaters]
Friday $3.5M, Saturday $5.2M, Weekend $12M (-52%), Cume $41M
This Jack And Jill won’t have the usual gazillion multiple of most of Adam Sandler/Happy Madison comedies.
5. Puss In Boots (DreamWorks Animation/Par) Week 4 [3,415 Theaters]
Friday $2.5M, Saturday $5M, Weekend $10.7M, Cume $122.3M
This toon cat Puss In Boots still has a few more than nine lives left.
6. Tower Heist (Universal) Week 3 [2,942 Theaters]
Friday $2.1M, Saturday $3.2M, Weekend $6.9M, Cume $53.3M
7. J. Edgar (Warner Bros) Week 2 [1,947 Theaters]
Friday $1.8M (-57%), Saturday $2.6M, Weekend $5.9M (-47%), Cume $20.6M
8. Harold & Kumar 3D Xmas (NL/Warner Bros) Week 3 [1,808 Theaters]
Friday $915K, Saturday $1.2M, Estimated Weekend $2.9M, Cume $28.3M
9. In Time (Fox) Week 3 [2,591 Theaters]
Friday $520K, Saturday $750K, Estimated Weekend $1.6M, Estimated Cume $33.4M
10. The Descendants (Fox Searchlight) NEW (opened Wed) [29 Theaters]
Friday $318K, Saturday $493K, Weekend $1.2M, Cume $1.3M
Alexander Payne’s dramedy starring George Clooney had good momentum heading into its opening weekend expansion into 11 additional markets (including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego, Denver, Minneapolis, and Toronto). Fox Searchlight’s The Descendants had made $79K from Wednesday and Thursday grosses at 5 theaters (2 in NY and 3 in LA) and this weekend scored an outstanding $42,150 per screen average. The production budget was $20 million with tax rebates and the Academy Awards talk should help the film perform through March. “This comedy/drama is attracting the over-30 upscale audience who is aware of the terrific reviews we have received,” a Fox Searchlight exec tells me. “And exhibition is very excited about the film after seeing it at the Show East Convention in late October.” On Wednesday before Thanksgiving, The Descendants increases to over 60 markets and about 425 theaters. “We feel the Thanksgiving Holiday is an excellent time to be playing wider as it is counter programming to the 3 wide kids films opening on this date. At Searchlight, we fell it really is a marathon and not a race with our releases.”
The initial marketing campaign was launched virally in early May with a web teaser called “Who is he?” which consisted only of a scene from the film with George Clooney goofily running to his neighbor’s house to ask – you guessed it – “Who is he?” Then, at the end of May, Searchlight launched The Descendants trailer on The Tree Of Life linking auteur filmmakers Alexander Payne and Terrence Malick and continued through the summer and into the fall. The film was an audience and critical favorite when it premiered at the 2011 Telluride Film Festival, and the buzz carried over into The Toronto Film Festival. The film went on to play over 15 more festivals including New York and London. Searchlight is now working with various museums and film societies across the county to set Alexander Payne retrospectives and to target urban art house cinefiles initially and eventually upscale suburbanites over Thanksgiving and through December. (more…)