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'The Muppets' Trailing 'Enchanted,' 'My Week with Marilyn' Modest

The Muppets, Kermit the Frog, Amy Adams, Jason Segel
Kermit the Frog, Amy Adams, Jason Segel, The Muppets

In a solid – though hardly outstanding – second place on this post-Thanksgiving weekend, James Bobin's Disney release The Muppets grossed $29.5 million according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Jason Segel, and Rashida Jones star. Adams was also the star of Disney's Enchanted, which opened the week of Thanksgiving 2007. For comparison's sake: The Muppets' current estimated cume is $42 million after five days; four years ago, Enchanted had grossed $49.06 million (approximately $57 million today) during the same time frame.

The Muppets' extensive cast features Whoopi Goldberg, Sarah Silverman, Judd Hirsch, Neil Patrick Harris, Selena Gomez, John Krasinski, Ken Jeong, Alan Arkin, Mickey Rooney, David Grohl, Emily Blunt, Zach Galifianakis, Bill Cobbs, and Jim Parsons. This latest Muppets movie cost a reported $45m.

George Miller's Happy Feet Two continued its modest run, bringing in a mild $13.4 million at no. 3. The Warner Bros.-distributed animated movie's cume stands at $43.77m. For comparison's sake: back in 2006, Happy Feet had collected $99.5 million (not adjusted for inflation) during the same period. Happy Feet Two features the voices of Matt Damon, Elijah Wood, Brad Pitt, Hank Azaria, Robin Williams, Sofia Vergara, Hugo Weaving, Common, and Pink.

Directed by Sarah Smith, Arthur Christmas collected $12.7 million at 3,376 sites, for a five-day total of $17 million – if studio estimates are correct. Sony/Columbia predicted their animated 3D movie would be down only -28 percent on Sunday, which is considerably less than any other movie on the North American chart's top eight. Unless the international market comes to the rescue, there's no chance Sony will be able to recover its hefty $100m investment at the box office. The film has performed moderately well in the United Kingdom and Germany.

Arthur Christmas features the voices of James McAvoy, Laura Linney, Eva Longoria, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, Imelda Staunton, Joan Cusack, Jane Horrocks, Andy Serkis, Michael Palin, Ashley Jensen, Robbie Coltrane, Bill Nighy, and Dominic West.

See also: Kristen Stewart/Robert Pattinson 'Breaking Dawn' Worldwide Box Office to Pass $500 Million

The Muppets photo: Patrick Wymore / Disney Enterprises

Asa Butterfield, Jude Law, Hugo
Asa Butterfield, Jude Law, Hugo

At no. 5, Martin Scorsese's 3D adventure-fantasy drama Hugo brought in $15.38 million at 1,277 locations, averaging a solid – though hardly record-breaking – per-theater average of $8,888 according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Hugo's revenues and average were boosted by 3D surcharges, as about 75 percent of the film's take originated from 3D venues. Its reported cost was "less than $150m." Unless that means way less than $150m – preferably way less than $50m – Hugo has no chance of recovering its budget at the North American box office. Not even close.

Among the English-proficient French characters inhabiting Hugo's universe are Asa Butterfield in the title role, Ben Kingsley (as movie pioneer Georges Méliès), Sacha Baron Cohen, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Michael Stuhlbarg, Frances de la Tour, Richard Griffiths, and Jude Law.

Rounding out the top nine this weekend were Adam Sandler's widely panned comedy Jack and Jill with $10.3 million ($57.41 million cume), Tarsem Singh/Henry Cavill/Kellan Lutz's Immortals with $8.8 million ($68.63 million cume), Antonio Banderas/Salma Hayek's Puss in Boots with $7.45 million ($135.36 million cume), and Brett Ratner/Ben Stiller/Eddie Murphy's Tower Heist with $7.32 million ($65.38 million cume). Of the aforementioned four movies, only Puss in Boots has managed to surpass its ($130m) budget at the domestic box office.

But remember, studios only get about 50-55 percent of a film's domestic gross and production budgets don't include marketing/distribution expenses. In other words, the $75 million Tower Heist and the $80m Jack and Jill are flops. The $75 million Immortals would have been one as well, except for the fact that the period adventure fantasy has already grossed about $65 million overseas – where people like Sandler, Ratner, Stiller, and Murphy have a relatively small following.

At no. 10, Alexander Payne/George Clooney's The Descendants pulled in $7.2 million ($10.74 million cume). The likely Best Picture Oscar contender added more than 400 locations; its per-theater average at 433 sites was an excellent $16,628 – and without the help of 3D surcharges. For comparison's sake: The Descendants' average was more than twice that of My Week with Marilyn's $7,266 at 244 locations. In late December 2009, the George Clooney-Jason Reitman collaboration Up in the Air averaged $18,344 at 175 locations; Up in the Air went on to gross $83 million domestically. (All things being equal, the fewer the number of locations, the higher the per-theater average should be.)

Hugo photo: Jaap Buitendijk / GK Films

Eddie Redmayne, Dougray Scott, Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
Eddie Redmayne, Dougray Scott, Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

At no. 11, Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar raked in $4.95 million at 1,947 sites, as per Box Office Mojo. Written by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black, and featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Judi Dench, Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas, and others, J. Edgar has collected a total of $28.82 million after three weekends out.

For comparison's sake: Gus Van Sant's Milk, also written by Black and starring Best Actor Oscar winner Sean Penn, cumed at $31.83 million in early 2009. After three weekends in December 2009, Eastwood's Invictus, starring eventual Oscar nominees Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, had collected $23.04 million at more than 2,000 locations. Invictus ended its run with $37.49 million in North America. J. Edgar is clearly running ahead, though whether it'll manage to pass the $50m mark – especially if it fails to get much help from awards-season buzz – is debatable. Overseas prospects are brighter merely because of the presence of Leonardo DiCaprio. (The prospects for Martin Scorsese's Hugo are less bright overseas – and domestically, for that matter – because Scorsese's box office friendly muse DiCaprio is nowhere to be found in that period fantasy adventure.)

Starring likely Best Actress Academy Award contender Michelle Williams, Simon Curtis's My Week with Marilyn took in $1.77 million at 244 sites, averaging a good – though hardly great – $7,266 per theater. For comparison's sake: last January, Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine, starring Williams and Ryan Gosling, averaged $6,029 per site after expanding from 40 to 230 locations on its second weekend out. (Blue Valentine, however, had the advantage of higher earnings on a Sunday before a "partial" national holiday, Martin Luther King Day.)

The Weinstein Company released both My Week with Marilyn and Blue Valentine, which went on to gross only $9.7 million domestically despite Williams' Best Actress Oscar nod. In addition to Williams as Marilyn Monroe, My Week with Marilyn features Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier, Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh, and Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller, plusToby Jones, Geraldine Somerville, Pip Torrens, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2's Emma Watson, and Eddie Redmayne as the "My" in the title.

Another The Weinstein Company Thanksgiving release, Michel Hazanavicius' widely acclaimed The Artist, opened with a strong $210k at 4 locations, averaging $52,500 per site. For comparison's sake: last year, Tom Hooper's The King's Speech – one more TWC release – also opened on the Friday after Thanksgiving at four theaters, earning $355k, or $88,863 per site. (Obviously, The King's Speech had the advantage of featuring better-known names to North American audiences, e.g., Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Geoffrey Rush, in addition to, well, color and dialogue.) Thanks to awards-season momentum, The King's Speech went on to gross $135.45 million in North America.

Cannes Film Festival Best Actor winner Jean Dujardin star in The Artist, alongside Bérénice Bejo. Featured players in this black-and-white and (mostly) silent comedy-drama include Penelope Ann Miller, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Missi Pyle, and Malcolm McDowell.

Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method opened with $182k at four theaters, averaging $45,500 per site. Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, and Viggo Mortensen star in this – quite literally – psychological drama.

My Week with Marilyn photo: Laurence Cendrowicz / The Weinstein Company

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Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Jean Dujardin, The Artist

In a strong second place on Friday, James Bobin's The Muppets grossed $12.27 million according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Jason Segel, and Rashida Jones star. Adams was also the star of Disney's Enchanted, which opened the week of Thanksgiving 2007. For comparison's sake: The Muppets' cume is $24.77 million after three days; four years ago, Enchanted had grossed $28.97 million (not adjusted for inflation) during the same time frame.

The Muppets' extensive cast features Whoopi Goldberg, Sarah Silverman, Judd Hirsch, Neil Patrick Harris, Selena Gomez, John Krasinski, Ken Jeong, Alan Arkin, Mickey Rooney, David Grohl, Emily Blunt, Zach Galifianakis, Bill Cobbs, and Jim Parsons.

George Miller's Happy Feet Two continued its modest run, bringing in only $5.13 million at no. 3. The Warner Bros.-distributed animated movie features the voices of Matt Damon, Elijah Wood, Brad Pitt, Hank Azaria, Robin Williams, Sofia Vergara, Hugo Weaving, Common, and Pink.

Directed by Sarah Smith, Arthur Christmas, which cost a reported $100 million, collected $4.55 million at 3,376 sites. The Sony/Columbia animated 3D movie is expected to gross at most around $15-16 million by Sunday evening. Arthur Christmas features the voices of James McAvoy, Laura Linney, Eva Longoria, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, Imelda Staunton, Joan Cusack, Jane Horrocks, Andy Serkis, Michael Palin, Ashley Jensen, Robbie Coltrane, Bill Nighy, and Dominic West.

Martin Scorsese's 3D adventure-fantasy drama Hugo was down two spots at no. 5 on Friday. At 1,277 locations, Hugo brought in $4.53 million, for a solid – though hardly outstanding – per-theater average of $3,549. Hugo's revenues and per-theater average were boosted by 3D surcharges, as 70 percent of the film's take originated from 3D venues.

Among the English-proficient French characters inhabiting Hugo's universe are Asa Butterfield in the title role, Ben Kingsley (as movie pioneer Georges Méliès), Sacha Baron Cohen, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Michael Stuhlbarg, Frances de la Tour, Richard Griffiths, and Jude Law.

Starring likely Best Actress contender Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn took in $607k at 244 sites. The Weinstein Company release's per-theater average was a somewhat disappointing $2,488. Simon Curtis directed Williams, in addition to Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier, Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh, Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller, plusToby Jones, Geraldine Somerville, Pip Torrens, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2's Emma Watson, and Eddie Redmayne as the "my" in the title.

And finally, another The Weinstein Company release, Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist, opened with a strong $75k at 4 locations, averaging $18,750 per site. For comparison's sake: last year, Tom Hooper's The King's Speech – one more TWC release – also opened on the Friday after Thanksgiving at four theaters, earning $119k, or $29,763 per site. Thanks to awards-season momentum, The King's Speech went on to gross $135.45 million in North America.

Cannes Film Festival Best Actor winner Jean Dujardin star alongside Bérénice Bejo. Featured players in this (mostly) silent comedy-drama include Penelope Ann Miller, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Missi Pyle, and Malcolm McDowell.

The Artist photo: The Weinstein Company

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Hugo movie, Martin Scorsese, Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz
Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz in Martin Scorsese's Hugo

Martin Scorsese's Hugo, a 3D fantasy drama about English-speaking French families, was no. 3 on Thursday after debuting at no. 7 on Wednesday, according to Box Office Mojo. At 1,277 theaters, Hugo brought in $2.34 million, for a per-site average of $1,834. That's really not all that great, especially for a well-received and (costlier) 3D movie showing at a little over one third of the 3,440 locations showing The Muppets – which averaged $1,715. (All things being equal, the fewer the number of theaters, the higher the per-theater average should be.)

Hugo, which was made for "less than $150 million" as per producer Graham King, is expected to gross up to $14 million by Sunday evening. For the movie to break even (not including marketing/distribution expenses), its actual cost must have been way less than $150 million. The good news: among the top eight movies on the domestic box office chart, Hugo was the only one to be up more than 10 percent; in fact, Scorsese's period fairy tale was up an impressive 40 percent.

Among the English-proficient French characters inhabiting Hugo's fantasy world are Asa Butterfield in the title role, Ben Kingsley (as movie pioneer Georges Méliès), Sacha Baron Cohen, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Michael Stuhlbarg, Frances de la Tour, Richard Griffiths, and Jude Law.

Directed by Sarah Smith, Arthur Christmas, which cost a reported $100 million, isn't doing all that great. It opened with $2.4 million on Wednesday, and was down to $1.85 million on Friday. The Sony/Columbia animated 3D movie features the voices of James McAvoy, Laura Linney, Eva Longoria, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, Imelda Staunton, Joan Cusack, Jane Horrocks, Andy Serkis, Michael Palin, Ashley Jensen, Robbie Coltrane, Bill Nighy, and Dominic West.

Starring likely Best Actress contender Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn took in a surprisingly soft $156k on Thursday at 126 sites. The Weinstein Company release's per-theater average was a modest $1,268. Simon Curtis directed Williams, in addition to Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier, Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh, Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller, plus Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2's Emma Watson, Toby Jones, Geraldine Somerville, Pip Torrens, and Eddie Redmayne as the "my" in the title.

Hugo's budget via the Los Angeles Times.

Hugo photo: Paramount Pictures

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