November 26, 2011


>Based on Wednesday-Friday numbers, Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1 will hold on to the #1 spot this weekend despite an anticipated precipitous drop, followed in second place by The Muppets.  The other kid-friendly openers, Arthur Christmas and Hugo, are fighting over table scraps.  The weekend is now looking like it will be down 11% from the same weekend last year.  2011 just continues to disappoint.

The Muppets opened with $6.5 million Wednesday and $5.8 million on Thanksgiving and the $12.275 Friday gives a better read on the traditional three day weekend: $30.5 million this Friday-Sunday weekend versus a forecast of $35.0 million. The five-day Wednesday-Sunday total should hit $43 million, and the well-reviewed (but let’s face it, more niche than super mass) Muppets is headed for only $125 million in North America when it crosses the finish line, according to the ShowBuzzDaily Domestic Final estimate.  International numbers for all recent films will be in our overseas round-up late Sunday.       

Arthur Christmas is looking fairly soft.  With $2.4 million Wednesday and $1.8 million Thursday and $4.55 million Friday, the three-day weekend is now looking like $11.5 million weekend Friday-Sunday, compared to a $17 million prediction).  The oddly animated Christmas film is on pace for under $16 million Wednesday-Sunday and headed for $49 million total in North America.  

Martin Scorsese’s Hugo is now on track for $11.0 million Friday-Sunday, ahead of the $8 million forecast.  The film opened to $1.7 million Wednesday and $2.3 million Thursday, and while its $4.5 million Friday nearly matched the Arthur Christmas number, Hugo will not enjoy the same high Saturday kid multiple that the more traditional family film will.  Hugo should collect over $15 million Wednesday-Sunday.  Hugo is headed for $48 million total domestically, and possibly much more if word of mouth takes hold. 

Pulling in $12.4 million Wednesday and $7.8 million Thursday and $16.9 million Friday to lead the pack all three days, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 is now on pace for a $40.0 million Friday-Sunday, almost exactly hitting the $39.5 million forecast with a very steep 71% decline from the opening weekend (jaw-dropping by normal standards but not for the Twilight series).  The final domestic tally estimate has been adjusted to $295 million. 

On the limited release circuit, The Descendants (starring George Clooney and from director Alexander Payne) should average a very good $15,700 Friday-Sunday at 433 theaters.  My Week with Marilyn (starring Michelle Williams) should average a more normal $6,600 Friday-Sunday at 244 theaters.     

In case you missed them, click to see this week’s Weekend Predictions
November 25-27, 2011    Pre-Wknd    Wknd            Showbuzz
(millions)              Showbuzz    Early    FRI    Domestic
                        Forecast    Proj.   Actual   Final

Twilight Breaking 1 (Sum)[$39.5]    $40.0   $16.9     $295+

The Muppets (Dis)        [$35.0]    $30.5   $12.2     $125
Happy Feet Two (WB)      [$19.0]    $13.0   $ 5.1     $ 76- 
Arthur Christmas (Sony)  [$17.0]    $11.5   $ 4.6     $ 49 
Hugo (Par)               [$ 8.0]    $11.0   $ 4.5     $ 48
Jack and Jill (Sony)     [$ 8.5]    $10.0   $ 3.8     $ 77
Immortals (Rel)          [$ 7.7]    $ 8.8   $ 3.5     $ 87
Puss In Boots (DW/Par)   [$ 9.0]    $ 7.5   $ 2.9     $166
Tower Heist (Uni)        [$ 5.2]    $ 6.9   $ —     $ 81
The Descendants (Fox)    [$ 4.5]    $ 6.8   $ —     $ 34
J. Edgar (WB)            [$ 4.3]    $ 4.8   $ 2.0     $ 38

Note: The table above summarizes an early look at the weekend.  The first column is a reminder of each film’s ShowBuzzDaily Forecast for the weekend (in brackets).  The second column, on which the films are sorted, displays the new weekend projection for each film, based on the Friday numbers (the third column).  The final column is a preliminary estimate of the ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Total number for the film’s total run in North America.  A “++” indicates the Domestic number has been upgraded; a “–” indicates a downgrade. 

Total Box Office Volume

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like a disappointing $152 million total Friday-Sunday, down 11% from the same calendar weekend last year (when Tangled open solidly and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 held much more of its opening than any Twilight film could).         

Top 12 Films: Weekend #47

     Volume    Movies Opening Each Weekend (millions)
2011  $152  Muppets $30, Arthur Christmas $11.5, Hugo $11
2010  $171  Tangled $49, Burlesque $12, Love & Other Drugs $10   
2009  $175  Old Dogs $17, Ninja Assassin $13, Fantastic Mr Fox $7

2008  $155  Four Christmases $31, Australia $15 Transporter3 $12 
2007  $ 76  Awake $6
Avg   $144 

Next Weekend
No wide release films are opening next week, kind of a hangover weekend after the doorbuster Thanksgiving weekend blowout.  Last year on the weekend after Thanksgiving, only The Warrior’s Way ($3 million opening weekend) tried its luck — the same thing as a weekend without any openers. 

Look for studio estimates for the weekend Sunday morning, as well as international results later in the day Sunday.

About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.