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