November 24, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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>The holiday film season is upon us.  Based on Wednesday numbers, Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1 should hold on to the #1 spot this weekend despite an anticipated precipitous drop, followed closely by The Muppets.  The other kid-friendly openers, Arthur Christmas and Hugo, are fighting over table scraps.  The weekend is shaping up to be down 9% from the same weekend last year.  Happy Thanksgiving!

The Muppets opened with $6.5 million Wednesday and is on track for the ShowBuzzDaily forecast (for an expected $34.9 million this Friday-Sunday weekend versus a forecast of $35.0 million). The five-day Wednesday-Sunday total should approach $49 million, and the well-reviewed Muppets is headed for $139 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 falling far short of our mediocre forecast ($2.4 million Wednesday for an estimated $11.7 million opening weekend Friday-Sunday, compared to a $17 million prediction).  The oddly animated Christmas film is on pace for $16 million Wednesday-Sunday and headed for $50 million total in North America.  

Exceeding very modest expectations, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo is on track for $10.5 million Friday-Sunday, ahead of the $8 million forecast.  The film opened to $1.7 million Wednesday and should collect over $14 million Wednesday-Sunday.  Hugo is headed for $46 million total domestically, and possibly much more if word of mouth takes hold.  

Pulling in $12.4 million Wednesday to lead the pack, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 is now on pace for a $36.8 million Friday-Sunday, slightly below the $39.5 million forecast but still enough to win the weekend despite a jaw-dropping 73% decline from the opening weekend (jaw-dropping by normal standards but not for the Twilight series).  The final domestic tally estimate has been dropped slightly to $282 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    WED    Domestic
                        Forecast    Proj.   Actual   Final

Twilight Breaking 1 (Sum)[$39.5]    $36.8   $12.4     $282-
The Muppets (Dis)        [$35.0]    $34.9   $ 6.5     $139
Happy Feet Two (WB)      [$19.0]    $14.9   $ 2.9     $ 85
Arthur Christmas (Sony)  [$17.0]    $11.7   $ 2.4     $ 50
Jack and Jill (Sony)     [$ 8.5]    $10.7   $ 1.9     $ 80+

Hugo (Par)               [$ 8.0]    $10.5   $ 1.7     $ 46

Puss In Boots (DW/Par)   [$ 9.0]    $ 8.8   $ 1.7     $170
Immortals (Rel)          [$14.0]    $ 8.4   $ 1.8     $ 87+
The Descendants (Fox)    [$ 4.5]    $ 5.9   $ 1.0     $ 32Tower Heist (Uni)        [$ 5.2]    $ 6.7   $ 1.3     $ 81+
J. Edgar (WB)            [$ 4.3]    $ 4.7   $ 0.8     $ 39+

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 an okay $156 million total Friday-Sunday, down 9% 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  $156  Muppets $35, Arthur Christmas $12, Hugo $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 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.