Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, Breaking Dawn
The no. 7 movie this Christmas weekend at the domestic box office will surely be Steven Spielberg's War Horse, which, as mentioned in part I of this three-part box office article, is expected to gross close to $7 million on opening day – today.
In addition to its four-legged star(s), War Horse features Jeremy Irvine, two-time Oscar nominee Emily Watson, Thor's Tom Hiddleston, Peter Mullan, Niels Arestrup, David Thewlis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Kebbell, David Kross, Celine Buckens, Patrick Kennedy, Robert Emms, and Eddie Marsan.
Sunday's other wide release, The Darkest Hour, an apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, isn't expected to make much of a splash at the box office despite showings at 2,324 locations. In fact, there's a good chance it won't even land among the top ten. Directed by former art director Chris Gorak (Minority Report, Fight Club, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), The Darkest Hour stars Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, and Rachael Taylor.
The Stephen Daldry-directed Extremely Cloud and Incredibly Close, despite the presence of Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, should perform way better in limited release. However, at only six theaters, it's impossible for it to crack the top ten.
So, rounding out the top ten movies this Christmas weekend should be Garry Marshall's New Year's Eve with an estimated $3 million (-59 percent), Sarah Smith/James McAvoy's animated feature Arthur Christmas with $2.7 million (-24 percent, domestic total: $44.2 million), and Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, with $2.1 million (-50 percent, domestic total: $270.9m) as per studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.
Now, if Breaking Dawn does indeed remain among the top ten this weekend, that'll mark a Twilight movie first. David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Chris Weisz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight all remained on the top-ten chart for five weekends. Breaking Dawn is now on its sixth weekend out.
However, bear in mind that Breaking Dawn's position among the top ten isn't assured. In addition to the unlikely but not impossible The Darkest Hour threat – coincidentally a Summit Entertainment release – right on Breaking Dawn's heels are Martin Scorsese's Hugo (with $2.02m) and Amy Adams-Jason Segel's The Muppets (with $2m). If, say, Summit's estimates are a little too high, that could mean Breaking Dawn has followed the path of its predecessors: five top-ten strikes, and they're out. Weekend box office actuals will be released on Monday.
It's also important to note that even if Breaking Dawn remains among the top ten one more weekend, that doesn't mean it has sturdier legs than its predecessors. Instead, that'll be a reflection of the overall weakness of the latest Hollywood releases. For comparison's sake: on Christmas weekend 2009 (Christmas fell on a Friday), New Moon was down only 31 percent from the previous weekend despite the loss of 1,442 locations; it earned $3.04m. And Breaking Dawn will end its North American run $15-$20m behind both Eclipse and New Moon.
The all-star omnibus comedy-drama New Year's Eve features Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Josh Duhamel, Hilary Swank, among others.
In addition to Stewart, Pattinson, and Lautner, the extensive Breaking Dawn cast includes 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.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn photo: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment