Who wants overweight old men with long white beards when you have available beefy, beardless young werewolves? Well, there are surely many who would rather go for the hairy older men type — or at least for hairy, talking puppets — but those people apparently haven’t been going to the movies all that often. Hence … Bill Condon’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, starring young, hot, and beautiful Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner should top the North American box office for the third weekend in a row.
According to Box Office Mojo, Breaking Dawn earned an estimated $5.5 million on Friday. That means the fourth installment in the Twilight Saga movie series collected more than twice the $2.73 million earned by the no. 2 movie on the chart, The Muppets. Even if the kiddie flick soars on the weekend proper — as it’s bound to do — at this stage it seems unlikely it’ll manage to surpass the more teen- and adult-oriented Breaking Dawn.
If things remain as they are until Sunday evening, Breaking Dawn will break a Twilight record: it’ll become the first Twilight Saga movie to remain at the top of the North American box office for three weekends (consecutive or otherwise). Considering that we’re approaching Christmas and that the domestic box office competition includes past kiddie favorites such as the aforementioned The Muppets and the Happy Feet 2 penguins, in addition to Martin Scorsese’s well-received Hugo and the animated Arthur Christmas, that’s quite unusual.
Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight was on top for a single weekend in fall 2008; on Weekend 2, it fell to third place after the Reese Witherspoon-Vince Vaughn comedy Four Christmases and the kiddie-friendly animated feature Bolt. Twilight managed to surpass Bolt on Weekend 3, but from then on it went steadily downhill.
In fall 2009, Chris Weitz’s The Twilight Saga: New Moon was on top for two consecutive weekends. On Weekend 3, New Moon trailed the eventual Sandra Bullock blockbuster The Blind Side, a typical Christmas-time offering featuring what the media likes to sell — and the masses like to perceive — as "family values." On Weekend 4, New Moon was behind not only The Blind Side, but also Disney’s The Princess and the Frog and Clint Eastwood’s eventual (domestic) box office flop Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.
David Slade’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opened in the height of the summer season. Needless to say, it stayed one single weekend at the top of the domestic box office chart in early July 2010. On Weekend 2, it trailed Despicable Me; on Weekend 3, it trailed not only the animated sleeper blockbuster, but also the Christopher Nolan-Leonardo DiCaprio collaboration Inception and Nicolas Cage’s eventual box office disappointment The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. On Weekend 4, Eclipse was down at the no. 8 spot, behind the aforementioned three movies, plus Angelina Jolie’s Salt, Pixar’s Toy Story 3, the eventual Selena Gomez flop Ramona and Beezus, and the widely panned Adam Sandler hit Grown Ups.
Adapted by Melissa Rosenberg from Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling novel, in addition to Pattinson, Stewart, and Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 also features Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Dakota Fanning, MyAnna Buring, Booboo Stewart, and Michael Sheen.
Plus Maggie Grace, Lee Pace, Sarah Clarke, Anna Kendrick, Christian Serratos, Christopher Heyerdahl, Michael Welch, Christian Camargo, Julia Jones, Gil Birmingham, Kiowa Gordon, Billy Burke, Bronson Pelletier, Charlie Bewley, Tyson Houseman, Daniel Cudmore, Jamie Campbell Bower, Casey LaBow, Mia Maestro, and Alex Meraz.
Budgeted at a reported $45 million, The Muppets was directed by James Bobin. Its extensive cast includes Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, 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.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn photo: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment