November 25, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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>Based on Wednesday and Thursday 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 18% 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, a not so great pattern that leads to an adjustment downward in the Friday-Sunday weekend forecast.  The Muppets is now looking like $27.2 million this Friday-Sunday weekend versus a forecast of $35.0 million. The five-day Wednesday-Sunday total should approach $40 million, and the well-reviewed (but let’s face it, more niche than mass) Muppets is headed for only $115 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 losing steam.  With $2.4 million Wednesday and $1.8 million Thursday, the three-day weekend is now looking like $10.5 million weekend Friday-Sunday, compared to a $17 million prediction).  The oddly animated Christmas film is on pace for under $15 million Wednesday-Sunday and headed for $46 million total in North America.  

Actually gaining a little bit of traction in the marketplace, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo is now on track for $12.3 million Friday-Sunday, ahead of the $8 million forecast.  The film opened to $1.7 million Wednesday and $2.3 million Thursday.  Hugo should collect over $16 million Wednesday-Sunday.  Hugo is headed for $51 million total domestically, and possibly much more if word of mouth takes hold.   

Pulling in $12.4 million Wednesday and $7.8 million Thursday to lead the pack both days, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 is now on pace for a $35.7 million Friday-Sunday, slightly below the $39.5 million forecast but still enough to win the weekend despite a jaw-dropping 74% decline from the opening weekend (jaw-dropping by normal standards but not for the Twilight series).  The final domestic tally estimate has been dropped to $277 million.    

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

Twilight Breaking 1 (Sum)[$39.5]    $35.7   $ 7.8     $277
The Muppets (Dis)        [$35.0]    $27.2   $ 5.8     $115-

Happy Feet Two (WB)      [$19.0]    $12.4   $ 2.1     $ 73- 
Hugo (Par)               [$ 8.0]    $12.3   $ 2.3     $ 51
Arthur Christmas (Sony)  [$17.0]    $10.5   $ 1.8     $ 46 
Puss In Boots (DW/Par)   [$ 9.0]    $ 8.2   $ 1.3     $168 
Jack and Jill (Sony)     [$ 8.5]    $ 8.1   $ 1.9     $ 73
Immortals (Rel)          [$ 7.7]    $ 7.4   $ 1.9     $ 84 
The Descendants (Fox)    [$ 4.5]    $ 6.6   $ 1.0     $ 32
Tower Heist (Uni)        [$ 5.2]    $ 6.5   $ 1.6     $ 80
J. Edgar (WB)            [$ 4.3]    $ 4.1   $ 1.0     $ 37

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 really disappointing $141 million total Friday-Sunday, down 18% 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  $141  Muppets $27, Hugo $12, Arthur Christmas $10.5
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 updates of the weekend box office Friday and Saturday mornings.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."