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'Breaking Dawn Part 1': 'Tis the Season for Interspecies Breeding But BD1 Trailing Previous 'Twilight' Sequels

Breaking Dawn 1 with Kristen Stewart Nikki Reed Ashley Greene: 4th Twilight movie to beat predecessors?Breaking Dawn 1 with blushing bride Kristen Stewart, Nikki Reed, and Ashley Greene. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 is edging closer to the $700 million worldwide milestone. But will it beat its two preceding Twilight sequels? New Moon finished its global run with $709 million in early 2010, while Eclipse ended its run with $698 million in mid-October of that year. Internationally, New Moon reached $413.2 million, while Eclipse peaked at $397.95 million. It's all but guaranteed that Breaking Dawn 1 will earn more overseas than Eclipse; in fact, it may even surpass New Moon as well. What may prevent the fourth installment in the Twilight series from reaching a worldwide franchise record is the lethargic North American market. It should be noted that – unfortunately for Summit Entertainment – the Twilight movies haven't been shown in China (apart from Hong Kong), which allows in only about 20 foreign blockbusters per year. For the record, the original Twilight totaled $392.41 million worldwide in early 2009. Update: Breaking Dawn 1 ultimately scored $712.2 million worldwide: $430.91 million internationally and $281.28 million in the U.S. and Canada.

'Breaking Dawn - Part 1' rises again

Dec. 30 update: The biggest surprise among the Top 14 movies was the unexpected resurgence of Bill Condon's ravenous fetus fantasy The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1.

Starring Kristen Stewart as the pregnant human, Robert Pattinson as her vampire impregnator, and Taylor Lautner as the furiously jealous werewolf who wishes he'd done the impregnating, the fourth Twilight movie added $2.65 million, landing at no. 14.

After seven weekends out, Breaking Dawn 1 has reached $276.12 million at the domestic box office. Its reported cost was $110 million.

It's still unclear how far beyond the inevitable $280 million mark Breaking Dawn 1 will go, as it all depends on how steep the equally inevitable major drop next (non-holiday) weekend will be.

'Breaking Dawn - Part 1' down an alarming 10 spots

Dec. 27 update: More Christmas weekend news: Last weekend (Dec. 16–18), Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, was the no. 6 movie on the domestic box office chart. What a difference one week and a few new releases make.

On its sixth weekend out, Breaking Dawn 1 has followed in the footsteps of its three predecessors: David Slade's Eclipse, Chris Weisz's New Moon, and Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight were all gone from the Top Ten chart after five weekends.

What's most surprising is how far down the chart Breaking Dawn landed: no. 16 (four-day). The Summit Entertainment release collected $2.38 million from 1,603 locations – which means a 46 percent drop-off rate from the previous three-day weekend following the loss of 1,355 locations.

That doesn't sound so bad? Think again. Over the three-day Christmas weekend, Breaking Dawn 1 was actually down 65 percent in relation to its take a week ago.

At this stage, it seems that this cautionary tale about the dangers of interspecies breeding will end its North American run with about $280 million, or around $15–20 million behind Eclipse and New Moon. Earlier predictions had the fourth Twilight movie cuming at $285–$290 million.

Breaking Dawn - Part 1 with Robert Pattinson Kristen Stewart. Unorthodox family movie is Xmas Season hitBreaking Dawn - Part 1 with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart during their fateful honeymoon. The fourth and next-to-last installment in the Twilight movie franchise, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 takes a darker turn than its predecessors. After an idyllic marriage to the vampire of her dreams, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), the young human Bella Swan Cullen (Kristen Stewart) becomes pregnant while enjoying some tropical fun on an islet off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. That's when things go south (no pun intended). The Cullen couple must immediately travel back north to Washington State, where Bella gets eaten from inside by this ravenous hybrid creature. Edward wants to have the fetus aborted, but Bella is adamant that the creature must live even if it kills her, as it embodies their love – and she may never get pregnant again. What to do? Well, what Summit Entertainment chose to do was to release this unorthodox family tale during the Thanksgiving season, when Breaking Dawn - Part 1 became the latest Twilight blockbuster, easily eviscerating its PG-friendly competition.

'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1': Dark interspecies breeding tale (and love story) is third biggest domestic blockbuster of the year – but still lagging behind past 'Twilight' sequels

Dec. 15 update: Starring Kristen Stewart as a pregnant human carrying a ravenous, deadly fetus; Robert Pattinson as a guilt-ridden, impregnating vampire eager for his beloved human wife to have an abortion; and Taylor Lautner as a psychotically jealous werewolf are the stars of Bill Condon's love story and Thanksgiving/pre-Christmas season blockbuster The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1.

How big a blockbuster? Well, this poorly received mix of fantasy, romance, mother love, and interspecies breeding is now 2011's third biggest hit at the U.S. and Canada box office, having surpassed Todd Phillips' comedy sequel The Hangover Part II.

According to figures found at boxofficemojo.com, The Hangover Part II has collected $254.46 million in the domestic market. After 27 days (up until Dec. 14), Breaking Dawn - Part 1 has raked in $261.45 million. No wonder Star Trek veteran George Takei is terrified of the Twilight menace.

The two 2011 releases still ahead of Breaking Dawn - Part 1 – both of them with the advantage of box-office-inflating 3D surcharges – are:

  • David Yates' fantasy thriller Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, with $381.01 million. In the cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Fiennes, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint.
  • Michael Bay's action thriller/sci-fier Transformers: Dark of the Moon, with $352.39 million. In the cast: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, and John Turturro.

There's no chance Breaking Dawn - Part 1 will get even close to these two hits.

Something else: the top release in North America for 21 consecutive days – a record for a Twilight movie – Breaking Dawn - Part 1 was finally dethroned Friday last week, following the release of Garry Marshall's critically lambasted New Year's Eve, which features, among others, Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank, and Robert De Niro.

Top international markets

Internationally, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 has brought in $381 million, for a worldwide grand total of $642.45 million. The Twilight movie's top international markets are:

  • The United Kingdom ($45.1 million).
  • Russia ($31.1 million).
  • Germany ($29.6 million).
  • France ($27.1 million).
  • Australia ($26.7 million).
  • Brazil ($26.4 million).
  • Spain ($21.7 million).
  • Italy ($20.8 million).

'Breaking Dawn - Part 1' passes $250 million domestic milestone

Dec. 9 update: Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 topped the North American box office for the 20th consecutive day on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Breaking Dawn - Part 1 was barely above the $1 million-per-day mark, taking in $1.06 million, but that was enough to bring its grand domestic total up to $250.45 million.

For comparison's sake: Chris Weisz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon passed the $250 million mark on Day 16 in early December 2009. David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse passed $250 million also on Day 16 in mid-July 2010. Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight cumed at $192.76 million in early 2009.

'Breaking Dawn - Part 1' breaks 'Twilight' Top of the Chart record

Dec. 4 update: This may have been the slowest weekend at the 2011 domestic box office – estimates range from $79 to $82 million – but one star continues to shine, even while losing its brilliance at an alarming rate.

Although down an estimated 60 percent, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 topped the North American box office chart for the third weekend in a row, collecting an estimated $16.9 million, as found at Box Office Mojo.

Thus, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 has become the very first Twilight movie at the no. 1 spot on three weekends, consecutive or otherwise.

Internationally, the romantic fantasy adventure has topped three weekends in a row in Brazil and Australia, and two weekends in Germany and Mexico, among other countries.

For comparison's sake: 'Twilight' & 'New Moon'

Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight was on top for a single weekend in fall 2008; on Weekend no. 2, it fell to third place, trailing the Reese Witherspoon-Vince Vaughn comedy Four Christmases and the John Travolta-Miley Cyrus-voiced animated feature Bolt.

In fall 2009, Chris Weitz's New Moon was on top for two consecutive weekends. On Weekend no. 3, it fell behind the Sandra Bullock blockbuster The Blind Side.

David Slade's Eclipse opened at the height of the summer season. Needless to say, it stayed only one single weekend at the top of the domestic box office chart, in early July 2010. On Weekend no. 2, it trailed Despicable Me; on Weekend no. 4, it was down in the eighth slot.

Breaking Dawn Part 1 with Bella pregnant. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson top 3 weekendsBreaking Dawn - Part 1 with Bella pregnant and Edward worried – he knows what's coming. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in the fourth Twilight Saga movie, which has become the third biggest hit of the year, after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Breaking Dawn - Part 1 has also become the first Twilight Saga movie to remain at the top of the domestic box office chart for three weekends in a row. Even so, it's still trailing both New Moon and Eclipse, which had to face much stronger box office adversaries in fall 2009 (The Blind Side) and summer 2010 (Despicable Me, Inception) than The Muppets, Arthur Christmas, and Hugo.

'Breaking Dawn - Part 1' still trailing 'New Moon' & 'Eclipse'

Notwithstanding its remarkable $247.3 million cume, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 continues to trail New Moon in North America. At this stage (Day 17) in 2009, New Moon had raked in $255.36 million (about $271 million today).

Also, Eclipse had collected $260.96 million (about $263 million today) by Day 17 – though comparisons are iffy here because Eclipse opened in the summer, when millions of teenagers were out of school; weekday business, as a result, was quite strong.

By Day 17, the original Twilight had pulled in $138.4 million (about $153 million today) in fall 2008.

Weak 'Twilight' legs

Now, what about the Twilight movies' legs after the first weekend?

  • The first Twilight, coming from a lower box office level, was down 62 percent and 50 percent on weekends 2 and 3.
  • New Moon was down 70 percent and 64 percent.
  • Eclipse was down 51 percent (following a “mellow” weekend, as the film opened on a Wednesday) and 58 percent.
  • Breaking Dawn - Part 1 was down 70 percent and 59 percent.

In that regard, the first Breaking Dawn has displayed a stronger hold than New Moon, and is only very slightly behind Eclipse. Still, its box office legs are hardly what one would call sturdy.

Depending on how it fares in the coming weekends, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 should end up $10-$15 million (not adjusted for inflation) behind both New Moon and Eclipse at the domestic box office.

In other words: even if not impossible, it's unlikely Breaking Dawn - Part 1 will pass the $300 million mark. Its ultimate domestic total should reach about $285–$290 million – and around $700 million worldwide.

'Breaking Dawn - Part 1' cast

Adapted by Melissa Rosenberg from Stephenie Meyer's bestselling novel, in addition to Kristen Stewart as the (for the time being) human Bella Swan, Robert Pattinson as the enamored vampire Edward Cullen, and Taylor Lautner as the perennially shirtless werewolf Jacob Black, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 also features:

Peter Facinelli. Elizabeth Reaser. Kellan Lutz. Ashley Greene. Nikki Reed. Jackson Rathbone. Dakota Fanning. Maggie Grace. Michael Sheen. Billy Burke.

MyAnna Buring. Booboo Stewart. Lee Pace. Sarah Clarke. Anna Kendrick. Christian Serratos. Christopher Heyerdahl. Michael Welch. Christian Camargo. Julia Jones.

Gil Birmingham. Kiowa Gordon. Bronson Pelletier. Charlie Bewley. Tyson Houseman. Daniel Cudmore. Jamie Campbell Bower. Casey LaBow. Mia Maestro. Alex Meraz.

'Tis the season for unorthodox sex & 'Shame'

Dec. 4 update II: Considering that we're approaching Christmas and that the domestic box office competition includes fare such as The Muppets, Happy Feet Two, Hugo, Arthur Christmas, and Puss in Boots, it's somewhat surprising that the top movie this weekend in North America tells the story of a young woman impregnated by a vampire.

Later on, the fetus she's devotedly carrying inside her bulging tummy is – quite literally – just about ready to kill her. Meanwhile, a jealous, hunky, bare-chested werewolf lurks about.

And that's in the family-friendly The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1.

Enter Michael Fassbender as a man who enjoys sex much too much for the easily blushing folks at the Motion Picture Association of America: Steve McQueen's psychological drama Shame, which also features Carey Mulligan, is expected to rake in approximately $315,000 at nine locations, or about $35,000 per site.

For comparison's sake: last weekend, Michel Hazanavicius' fully clothed The Artist averaged $51,220 at four locations. Remember, all things being equal, the lower the number of theaters, the higher the per-theater average should be.

The Muppets with Amy Adams. Box office letdown as audiences flock to darker family movieThe Muppets with Amy Adams. One would think that James Bobin's The Muppets is the sort of ideal flick to come out during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Yet the family movie that has become one of the year's biggest blockbusters – not only in the U.S., but also internationally – deals not with furry puppets, but with themes such as the consequences of interspecies breeding, bearing a deadly fetus, and considering an abortion (i.e., The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1). Despite a number of good reviews and the presence of three-time Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Amy Adams (Junebug, 2007; Doubt, 2008; The Fighter, 2010), the $45 million-budgeted The Muppets has been an undeniable box office letdown for distributor Walt Disney Studios. International prospects outside English-language countries such as the U.K. (where the TV show actually originated in the 1970s) and Australia are at best iffy.

'Family movies'

Nov. 29 update: Thanksgiving is a time for families to gather, whether pigging out at the dinner table or watching movies on the big screen.

Movies espousing family values continue to dominate the North American box office this family-oriented Thanksgiving Weekend. There are family Christmases and families of movie lovers, in addition to penguin families, Muppet families, Hollywood families, and vampire families.

There's also interspecies sex (vampire + human), but we won't go there – for now.

Amy Adams' 'The Muppets' trailing 'Enchanted'

For starters, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 added $41.68 million over the Nov. 25–27, post-Thanksgiving Day weekend, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Its cume stands at $220.83 million.

In a solid – though hardly outstanding – second place, James Bobin's $45 million-budgeted Disney release The Muppets grossed $29.5 million. 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 also includes just about everybody, e.g., Whoopi Goldberg, Sarah Silverman, Judd Hirsch, Neil Patrick Harris, Selena Gomez, Alan Arkin, Mickey Rooney, and Jim Parsons.

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 $43.77 million. 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, Brad Pitt, Sofia Vergara, Hank Azaria, Robin Williams, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Common, and Pink.

'Arthur Christmas' disappoints despite stellar voice cast

Directed by Sarah Smith, Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures' animated 3D feature Arthur Christmas collected $12.7 million at 3,376 sites, for a five-day total of $17 million.

Unless the international market comes to the rescue – the film has performed moderately well in the United Kingdom and Germany – there's no chance Sony will be able to recover its hefty $100 million investment at the box office.

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.

Hugo with Asa Butterfield Chloe Grace Moretz. Martin Scorsese costly box office flopHugo with Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz. Martin Scorsese's costly (“less than $150 million”) fantasy revolving around the development of cinema has been a box office disappointment whose only – however small – hopes are the international market and some strong Oscar love. Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz are featured alongside a cast that includes Sacha Baron Cohen, Richard Griffiths, Best Actor Oscar winner Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, 1982) as film pioneer Georges Méliès, veteran Christopher Lee (The Mummy, The Wicker Man), and two-time Oscar nominee Jude Law (as Best Supporting Actor for The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1999; as Best Actor for Cold Mountain, 2003). John Logan (Gladiator, The Aviator) wrote the screenplay based on Brian Selznick's novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Costly 'Hugo' has no chance of recovering budget at domestic box office

At no. 5, Martin Scorsese's 3D adventure-fantasy drama Hugo brought in $15.38 million from 1,277 locations, averaging a solid – though hardly record-breaking – $8,888 per-theater average. 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 is “less than $150 million,” as per producer Graham King. Unless that means way less – preferably way less than $50 million – Hugo has no chance of recovering its budget at the North American box office. Not even close.

Among the English-proficient French (and non-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.

'Jack and Jill' one of Adam Sandler's worst + 'Immortals' dying slow death

From no. 6 to no. 9 on this weekend's box office chart were:

  • The Adam Sandler star vehicle Jack and Jill with $10.3 million ($57.41 million cume). This widely panned comedy featuring Sandler as both himself and his drag self will end up as one of the actor's worst box office performers in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Tarsem Singh's fantasy adventure Immortals with $8.8 million ($68.63 million cume). In the cast: Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto, Kellan Lutz, Isabel Lucas, Mickey Rourke, and two-time Academy Award nominee John Hurt (as Best Supporting Actor for Midnight Express, 1978; as Best Actor for The Elephant Man, 1980).
  • Puss in Boots, featuring the voices of Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. The DreamWorks Animation feature pulled in $7.45 million ($135.36 million cume).
  • Brett Ratner's actioner Tower Heist, toplining Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy, with $7.32 million ($65.38 million cume).

Of the aforementioned four movies, only Puss in Boots has managed to surpass its ($130 million) 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-budgeted Tower Heist and the $80 million-budgeted Jack and Jill are flops. The $75 million Immortals would have been one as well, except for the fact that the fantasy adventure has already grossed about $65 million overseas.

Solid 'The Descendants'

At no. 10, Alexander Payne's The Descendants, starring George Clooney and Shailene Woodley, pulled in $7.2 million ($10.74 million cume). The likely Best Picture Academy Award 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.

Also, 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.)

J. Edgar Leonardo DiCaprio as Hoover. Did FBI director have an affair with Clyde Tolson?J. Edgar with Leonardo DiCaprio. J. Edgar Hoover was one of the most notorious and controversial U.S. figures of the 20th century. Besides using the FBI as his own private fiefdom, Hoover may or may not have been intimately involved with his institute's Associate Director Clyde Tolson. In J. Edgar, director Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black provide a – tepidly received – portrayal of the man who, according to the film, didn't want to dance with Ginger Rogers, claimed he wanted to marry Dorothy Lamour, and attempted to blackmail civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Hoover, Armie Hammer plays Clyde Tolson, while Judi Dench, Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas, Dermot Mulroney, Lea Thompson, and Ken Howard are some of the other names in the extensive cast. Domestic box office results have been unimpressive, but the Leonardo DiCaprio brand may help J. Edgar, its uncommercial theme notwithstanding, find a sizable international audience.

'J. Edgar' vs. 'Milk' & 'Invictus'

At no. 11, Clint Eastwood's tepidly received J. Edgar Hoover biopic J. Edgar raked in $4.95 million at 1,947 sites. Written by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black (Milk, 2008), and featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Judi Dench, Naomi Watts, and Josh Lucas, J. Edgar has collected $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 it's debatable whether it'll manage to pass the $50 million mark – especially if it fails to get much help from awards season buzz.

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.)

'My Week with Marilyn' just okay – but ahead of 'Blue Valentine'

Starring likely Best Actress Oscar contender Michelle Williams, Simon Curtis' 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. (Note: Blue Valentine 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' eventual Best Actress Oscar nod.

In addition to Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, My Week with Marilyn, which is set during the making of The Prince and the Showgirl, features:

Eddie Redmayne as the “My” in the title.

Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier.

Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh.

Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller.

Toby Jones. Emma Watson. Geraldine Somerville. Pip Torrens.

'The Artist' has strong debut – but trailing 'The King's Speech'

Another The Weinstein Company Thanksgiving release, Michel Hazanavicius' widely acclaimed The Artist, opened with a strong $210,000 at 4 locations, averaging $52,500 per site.

For comparison's sake: last year, Tom Hooper's The King's Speech – a previous TWC release – also opened on the Friday after Thanksgiving at four theaters, earning $355,000, or $88,863 per site.

Obviously, The King's Speech had the advantage of featuring better-known names to American audiences, e.g., Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Geoffrey Rush, in addition to, well, color cinematography and audible dialogue.

Thanks to awards season momentum, The King's Speech went on to gross $135.45 million in North America.

In The Artist – which mixes elements from, among others, What Price Hollywood?, A Star Is Born, and Rin Tin Tin movies – Cannes Film Festival Best Actor winner Jean Dujardin stars as a fast-fading silent film actor, alongside Hazanavicius' wife, Bérénice Bejo, as a fast-rising one.

Featured players in this (mostly) silent comedy-drama include Penelope Ann Miller, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Missi Pyle, and Malcolm McDowell.

Psychological drama

And finally, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method opened with $182,000 at four theaters, averaging $45,500 per site.

Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung, Keira Knightley as Sabina Spielrein, and Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud are seen in this – quite literally – psychological drama.

Edward and Bella wedding Breaking Dawn Part 1: Twilight sequel opens well below expectationsEdward and Bella wedding in Breaking Dawn - Part 1. Starring Kristen Stewart as the human Bella Swan, Robert Pattinson as the vampire Edward Cullen, and Taylor Lautner as the werewolf Jacob Black, Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, though an undeniable blockbuster-in-the-making, opened below expectations, which had to be revised downward: from $150 million to $135 million. As it turned, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 took in $138.1 million, including about $30 million from Thursday midnight screenings. In all, a solid albeit hardly record-breaking debut.

'Breaking Dawn - Part 1' opens below expectations

Nov. 20 update: Directed by Bill Condon, and starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 opened this weekend, Nov. 18–20, grossing an estimated $139.5 million in North America. Summit Entertainment had been hoping for $150 million, later revising their estimates down to $135 million.

Even so, after only three days Breaking Dawn - Part 1 is already no. 16 among the year's top moneymakers, ahead of Super 8 and only slightly behind The Smurfs.

By next Sunday, the latest Twilight Saga movie will likely be among the top five or six 2011 releases, right around Cars 2 and Fast Five. However, it seems unlikely that it will manage to surpass the year's top two movies: David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ($380.97 million) and Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($352.39 million).

Nov. 21 update: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 actually took in $138.12 million, or about $1.4 million below Sunday estimates.

Trailing 'New Moon'

Also worth pointing out, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 fell behind Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon's $142.7 million back in November 2009. And if inflation is taken into account, the gap is considerably wider, as New Moon would have grossed approximately $151 million in 2011 dollars.

On the positive side, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 had (or rather, is having) the fifth largest opening weekend (not adjusted for inflation) ever at the North American box office – and that means there are two Twilight movies among the Top Five, both trailing the following:

  • David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Ralph Fiennes, with $169.18 million.
  • Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, with $158.41 million.
  • Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3, starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, with $151.11 million.

Why did Bill Condon opt to direct the 'Breaking Dawn' movies?

Here's another Breaking Dawn - Part 1 box office comparison, but without including any other Twilight movie. Let's start the comparison with a question: Why did Bill Condon accept to direct the two Breaking Dawn movies?

Perhaps Condon wanted to work with Kristen Stewart and/or Robert Pattinson and/or Taylor Lautner and/or any one or more of the film's many supporting players. Perhaps.

But consider this: on one single weekend, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 made more money at the domestic box office than all four previous Bill Condon-directed movies combined over the course of their runs – despite critical raves, Academy Award wins and nominations, and the presence of Ian McKellen, Lynn Redgrave, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé Knowles, etc.

The domestic box office grosses of Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, and Dreamgirls totaled $134 million – vs. Breaking Dawn - Part 1's estimated $139.5 million on its first three days out.

Even taking inflation into account, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 scored on one weekend about 80 percent of the adjusted $175 million total ($125.5 million from Dreamgirls alone) earned by Condon's other four movies.

Now, how often will Bill Condon get the chance to direct such a gargantuan megahit (and earn millions in residuals)?

Breaking Dawn Part 1 with Taylor Lautner: 1 of 3 Twilight movies among top single-day grossersBreaking Dawn - Part 1 with Taylor Lautner. The third wheel in the Twilight Saga literary and film franchise, Taylor Lautner's Jacob Black will end up finding love in an unexpected place: pay close attention to the ravenous fetus eating Bella Swan from the inside in Breaking Dawn - Part 1. This fourth Twilight Saga movie has turned out to be an underperformer when one takes into account studio expectations: $138.1 million vs. the expected $150 million. But no matter, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 is now one of three Twilight movies among the top single-day grossers ever in the domestic market, trailing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2New Moon, and The Dark Knight, while ahead of Eclipse.

Three 'Twilight' movies among top single-day grossers ever

Nov. 19, evening update: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 ended up a notch behind New Moon on Friday, Nov. 18, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo: $72 million vs. $72.7 million.

If higher ticket prices are taken into account, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 was further behind than just a few hundred thousand dollars, as New Moon would have earned approximately $77 million today.

Taking inflation into account, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 had the fourth-largest single-day take ever at the domestic box office, after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, New Moon, and The Dark Knight – while getting placed ahead of the no. 5 entry, David Slade's Eclipse.

And that means three of the top five biggest single-day domestic grossers are Twilight Saga movies.

Now, watch some dishonest jerk insist that only good movies and original stories will put an end to the current box office drought.

In truth, most audiences clearly want what they're familiar with, even if the well-known product comes accompanied by dismal reviews – Breaking Dawn - Part 1 has a 21 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. That's by far the lowest among the Twilight Saga film adaptations: Eclipse has 65 percent, New Moon 42 percent, and Twilight 53 percent.

'Breaking Dawn - Part 1' not breaking any North American box office records

Nov. 19: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 has not broken any North American box office records so far. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 remains the “midnight” record holder, with $43.5 million from midnight screenings at 3,800 sites earlier this year.

Having said that, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 collected a remarkable $30.25 million from 3,521 locations, a little more than Eclipse's $30.1 million. Or a little less; if adjusted for inflation, Eclipse took in $30.4 million.

In case anyone has been scratching their heads wondering why exactly Summit Entertainment would choose to split Stephenie Meyer's fourth and final Twilight Saga novel into two, you have your answer.


Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, and Kristen Stewart The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 image: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment.

Chloë Grace Moretz and Asa Butterfield Hugo image: Jaap Buitendijk / Paramount Pictures.

Amy Adams The Muppets image: Patrick Wymore / Disney Enterprises.

Leonardo DiCaprio J. Edgar image: Warner Bros.

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23 Comments to 'Breaking Dawn Part 1': 'Tis the Season for Interspecies Breeding But BD1 Trailing Previous 'Twilight' Sequels

  1. sanjay

    it was really one of my favourites….the best one

  2. Page Mackinley

    This news is no suprise. For me personally I came very late to Twilight. Three movies crashed coursed a month ago, and I went to see BD with a degree of anticipation. Regrettably however, the ball was dropped on this latest installment.

    With respect, Bill Condon's touch was not right at all. In hindsight we can see Hardwicke harnessed the potent, emotionally mesmerizing tone in the first, and Weitz and Slade built on that brillantly. Granted BD (1) is split in two and so demands pacing, but the authenticity just wasn't there.

    Notwithstanding the gorgeous montage at the end, Bella's transform, and the salty vignette at the end — BD (part 1) did not deliver the pathos the audience, and the actors deserved. It's worth noting the rich spoils gained though.

    Movie-making isn't just big business, it's epic monster-making business. Funded by financiers who make the Koch brothers look like Greenpeace activists, Pattinson and Stewart's team made canny business decisions to position their 'talents' in a film which — if it worked — would advance their charges considerably in the player stakes.

    That no-one could have anticipated the ensuing success would become as exponential as it has, is now the topic of countless talking-heads and avid note-taking by other agents. It's probably a little glib to say it comes down to one or even two factors, but really it's self-evident.

    As we close out 2011, Patterson and Stewart — deservedly — emerge as the names to watch and invest in. Undeniably, the presence and depth both brought to their roles elevated an exhausted genre. Add an outstanding supporting cast, innovative soundtracks and scores, and what can only be described as hardcore promotion on multiple levels, a great solid base to start with (due to Meyer's previous book success) to the mix — and one arrives at the TS phenomenon

    Unassailable facts: A relatively inexperienced young man with no discernible media training, or seemingly any desire to be the next typical 'star-from-a pod,' stormed America with a charm inoffensive not seen since …. well … eras long past.

    It was Pattinson's astonishing funniness, openness and originality he displayed on the horrifically gruelling press junkets he undertook — not to mention his iconic turn in Twilight et al — that enabled him to capitalize on the expert way his team have handled his rise and is as much a part of the TS saga's success as the box office itself. Likewise Stewart's edgy fragility, behind-the-scenes guidance, and handling of what must at times have been a 'tricky' line to walk — notes her as wise (and kind) beyond her years.

    Movie-goers and the movie industry in general now has every reason to be very interested in how these two actors develop in years to come. If blinkered critics could put the tall poppy scythes down long enough to realize the TS saga does not define Pattinson or Stewart; they would see what the insightful can:

    Even before 2012 dawns, already the faces at the top of the tree have been reshuffled. Undoubtedly audiences will look forward to more from the genuinely fresh, possibly profound new talents of Stewart and Pattinson. Perhaps this, then, the real, unforseen gift of Meyer's wet dream.

    [A last note]:

    If Summit have any sense (and one rather suspects they do), they will take a look at what's there for Part 2 and quietly bring in either Slade or Weitz and Hardwicke to 'assist' Condon in the final cut. There is still time, and the determinedly faithful are owed that much.

  3. nikki

    With all the 3D movies it's become difficult to compare BO results. One 3D ticket in my country costs almost 4€ more than a normal ticket and many of these movies are family orientated.
    IMO Breaking Dawn does very well internationally consider the fact that the Eurozone suffers from the biggest financial and economical crises since the Euro was used. I'm not surprised that Italy and Spain aren't mentioned on the list of top BO. I'm afraid cinema's will feel the consequences of people being more careful with the ways they spend their money.
    But for Breaking Dawn and its leads the fans don't bother to buy tickets lol.

  4. Betty b

    It is very seldom to read a movie article which state facts not prejudices and biases. Professionals give facts, not personal fanatical spins. Thank you for a great refreshing review of the top movies of 2011. Have a Great day. :-)

  5. Thomas

    Hollywood should listen to what people want. I am 49 years old with a wife and a 15 year old son. I remember too many times when we thought about going to the movies, but ended up not going because there was nothing playing that attracted us. There were also a few times where we walked out of a film early on because it contained pointless graphic violence or displayed casual drug use or gay perversions that had absolutely nothing to do with the story. It is bad enough the schools don't lift a finger to stop the drug culture there; we don't need Hollywood perverting our children by portraying drugs as a matter of fact part of every day living. This happened in the opening scenes of Grandma's Boy, right after I had lectured my son to stay away from anyone or anything that might influence him to do drugs. He is having a hard time finding friends that are not wrapped up in smoking pot.
    I blame Hollywood for their own demise. I know I am not the only one that feels this way. We have friends that simply do not go to the movies anymore because there is no way to really know what perversions are in a movie until you see it. Reviewers accept these perversions as normal these days, this was not always the case. When I was young it was a rare thing to see drugs, perverts, profanity, graphic violence, or back-talking children in a film. Now it is almost a given that at least one of these is in the next film you will see. Americans are tired of it. The novelty of blood flying all over the screen is worn out, contrary to what the Hollywood experts claim. I don't know about you, but I am getting more and more sensitive to this stuff. People do get desensitized to this stuff at first, but I find my aversion growing every time I am exposed to it. The next problem is that Hollywood has run out of creative thinking. All too much I can watch a film for 10 minutes and predict with stunning accuracy exactly what will happen over the next 90 minutes. There are a few exceptions. Add to all this the poor quality of the movie theaters. Their screens are small, the commercials and previews are too long. And I have to now pay a hefty price tag $15-18 for the privilege. We have been enjoying watching old movies on cable that we DVR and play back at our leisure, and it's no big loss if the movie is not for us. Also, older films are generally better than the new stuff. Hollywood should be making a killing right now. With all the technology available there is no end to what they could do, yet they replay the same old story lines adding more and more perversions. Boring.

  6. Maria

    It is successful movie, no doubt about that. It may not overtake New Moon, but overall the whole franchise is one of the biggest in earnings in last five years in movie industry.

  7. Gracy

    Robert Pattinson | A Cheetah !

  8. just me

    i am going to add my 7$ to it tonight ;) …wait until BD2 comes out! G-d willing

  9. luacheia99

    WOW Impressive!
    What do you think? Is it will end with US$300M in US, US$700M worldwide?

  10. just me

    i wonder if this means that despite of all prejudices, after all these years, The Saga finally became a family movie, sort of? most of grown women in a theater there i saw BD1 were accompanied by husbands/boyfriends. one teenager girl was seating with two boys. so there is the hope, i mean they are not so hopeless, our dear men, as they pretend to be. way to go!
    very thorough article, thank you:D.. though i promise to watch all movies with RP when he is an old man with long white beard , G-d bless him and all of us:)

  11. nikki

    I was surprised that there's even been made a movie of the Muppets. I remember the serie on TV in Europe a very long time ago, even forgot the whole thing until now. The serie was a bit popular but not as much as in the States I guess.
    I'm curious to see if it's gonna be a success outside the US, I have my doubts to be honest.
    Though I'm sure the movie is very well made I think it will appeal more to an older audience for nostalgic reasons than to the kids of today.

    Breaing Down on the other side is once again immense popular, also outside the US. It is critic proof as most movies should be IMO: never let a person you don't know at all decide in your place if a movie is good or not. But if I'm allowed to correct: the majority of people go see the move for one handsome, noble vampire and his little bride, not at all for the werewolves :).

  12. kay

    you can't compare day 8 to dh2 because of the thanksgiving holiday. it would be better to compare it to dh part 1 which came out last november and made 20.8 million on day 8.

  13. ana cabana

    ekselente breaking dawn is totaly box office congratulation

  14. yiu

    I thought Hugo was a Spielberg movie.

  15. mona

    there are some very bad performances out there. not everyone 'deserves' an oscar.

  16. BSoscars

    everyone always 'deserves' something. in a town where there are hundreds of actors delivering 'deserving' performances, oscars mean very little except luck.

  17. Eleo

    I hope Michelle Williams gets a nomination. She deserves it.

  18. just me

    it's nice to know BD is doing so well. i wish some (many) critics finally admitted this is not the worst movie ever after all:)

  19. zac


    You are ABSOLUTELY correct. I always check the date on the Box Office Mojo foreign chart because I know that at times they're not updated right away. Today, of course, I forgot… Aaaargh!

    And I already *had* the updated worldwide figures when I posted this article. I'm amending the article right now…

    Many thanks for the correction/reminder!


  20. luacheia99

    Zac, the Breaking Dawn international numbers at Box Office Bojo are not contemplating this week. The numbers are from 11/18. The movie certainly has earned more 70 or 80 Million around the world this week. Lets see!

  21. noa

    now you can talk how emma watson is not a star like you did with kristen. Kristen Stewart movies in less theather made more money then week with merlyn.

  22. Stephan

    its still big enough for you to write a complete article ..where you compare HP and some other money making franchises with Twilight..interesting

  23. sherlock

    Maybe critics who seem to consider themselves the epitome of what is and isn't a good movie aren't & shouldn't be the main target for the film industry. Perhaps giving the movie going public what they desire to see should be the primary objective. And low & behold one size does not fit all. I would say Twilight is a treasure- it certainly has staved off the unemployment line for a number of people. Twilight people don't seem to need some third party dictating to them what they should like vs what they do like. More power to them and the individuals wise enough to give it to them. Hint to the so called professional critics - CONSTRUCTIVE criticism rather than hammering young actors for their limited experience may be a wise move…they along with their fans may have long memories that can come back & bite you in your caboose. Many of you seem unfamiliar with the saying, “Don't burn your bridges, you may need them in the future”.