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'Breaking Dawn Part 1': Trailing Previous 'Twilight' Sequels

Kristen Stewart, Ashley Greene, Breaking Dawn
Breaking Dawn Part 1 features Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, Ashley Greene as Alice Cullen

Dec. 9

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 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, according to Box Office Mojo.

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.

Now, on the positive side Breaking Dawn has been losing steam at a slower pace than New Moon, which fell below the $1m-per-day mark (inflation adjusted) on Day 20. Unless Thursday (Dec. 8) turns out to be an unusually slow day, that should happen to Breaking Dawn only on Day 25 – next Monday. Comparisons to Eclipse would be unfair, as the third Twilight movie came out in the summer, when teenagers/young adults were out of school or college. Eclipse's first dipped below the $1m-per-day mark on Day 34.

I should add that probably sometime yesterday, Breaking Dawn passed the $600 million mark worldwide. It'll likely surpass – or at least get very close to – the $700 million mark.

Directed by Bill Condon, and adapted by Melissa Rosenberg from Stephenie Meyer's bestselling novel, in addition to Robert Pattinson as the vampire Edward Cullen, Kristen Stewart as the (for the time being) human Bella Swan, and Taylor Lautner as the 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, 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

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Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson

Starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 either has already passed or is about to pass – sometime today, at the latest – the $600 million mark worldwide.

According to Box Office Mojo, the Bill Condon-directed Breaking Dawn had collected an estimated $344.8 million internationally as of December 4, in addition to $249.38 million in the United States and Canada as of Dec. 6 for a grand total of $594.18 million. In North America alone, Breaking Dawn added another $1.31 million on Tuesday; last weekend, the latest Twilight movie added $40.4 million internationally (vs. $15.36 million in the U.S. and Canada).

For comparison's sake, both Chris Weitz' The Twilight Saga: New Moon, though substantially ahead of Breaking Dawn in the (currently depressed) domestic market, and David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse reached the $600 million mark on their fourth weekend out. For Breaking Dawn, that would be next Friday-Sunday.

Breaking Dawn vs. previous Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart pairings

Now, does that mean Breaking Dawn is selling more tickets abroad than New Moon and Eclipse did back in late 2009 and mid-2010, respectively? That's hard to tell. Even discounting inflation, currency fluctuations can drastically affect the box office take of a movie overseas when local currencies are converted to US dollars. (See James Cameron's 'Avatar' vs. 'Titanic': International Box Office.) But considering that the U.S. dollar is now stronger in many territories than it was, say, a year or two ago, chances are that Breaking Dawn is indeed selling more tickets. In other words, since the U.S. dollar is stronger, that means euros, pesos, etc. earned abroad buy fewer U.S. dollars. Even so, in the international market Breaking Dawn is currently ahead of both New Moon and Eclipse.

The Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart wedding (on screen, that is) may have failed to land the top spot in France for a single weekend – The Intouchables remains unbeatable – but Stewart and Pattinson's (and Taylor Lautner's) latest did top three weekends in a row in Brazil and Australia, and has topped two weekends in Germany and Mexico, among other countries. If things continue as they've been, Breaking Dawn should be able to reach the $700 million mark worldwide. New Moon cumed at $709m; Eclipse at $698 million.

Dec. 4

Edward, Bella honeynoon Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Breaking Dawn
Edward and Bella honeynoon: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart in Breaking Dawn

This may have been the slowest weekend at the domestic box office in 2011 – estimates range from $79 to $82 million – but one star continues to shine (even if steadily losing its brilliance): despite an estimated 60 percent drop-off rate, Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, topped the North American box office chart for the third weekend in a row. Breaking Dawn has now become the very first Twilight movie at the no. 1 spot on three weekends (consecutive or otherwise).

According to Box Office Mojo, Breaking Dawn earned an estimated $16.9 million, easily beating The Muppets' $11.2 million at no. 2. Even Martin Scorsese's well-received Hugo, which collected $7.62 million at no. 3, was left behind in terms of per-theater average: at 4,046 locations, Breaking Dawn averaged $4,177 per site; Hugo, despite 3D surcharges, averaged only $4,144 at 1,840. Remember, all things being equal, the lower the number of theaters, the higher the per-theater average should be.

Among the top twelve movies on the domestic box office chart, only Alexander Payne-George Clooney's The Descendants and Michelle Williams-Eddie Redmayne-Kenneth Branagh's My Week with Marilyn had higher per-theater averages than Breaking Dawn: $9,059 and $4,836, respectively. Now, The Descendants is playing at only 574 locations; My Weekend with Marilyn at even fewer: 244. (And that means The Weinstein Company won't be able to expand much further their movie starring Williams as Marilyn Monroe, Branagh as Laurence Olivier, and Redmayne as the “My” in the title.)

It's also worth noting that Breaking Dawn earned more on its third weekend than any of the previous Twilight Saga movies: David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse grossed $13.42 million in July 2010, Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon grossed $15.42 million (about $16 million today) on the first weekend in December 2009; and Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight took in $13.04 million (about $14.5 million today) also in early December 2008.

Now, regarding Breaking Dawn's three-time “it's lonely at the top” feat: Twilight was the no. 1 box office movie 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 animated feature Bolt, featuring the voices of John Travolta and Miley Cyrus. Twilight managed to surpass Bolt on Weekend 3, but from then on it went steadily downhill.

In fall 2009, New Moon was on top for two consecutive weekends. On Weekend 3, it trailed the Sandra Bullock sleeper blockbuster The Blind Side. On Weekend 4, New Moon was behind not only The Blind Side, but also Disney's The Princess and the Frog, featuring the voices of Oprah Winfrey and Terrence Howard, and Clint Eastwood's eventual (domestic) box office flop Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.

Eclipse opened on a Wednesday shortly before the Fourth of July weekend, in the height of the summer season. Needless to say, it stayed one single weekend at the top of the domestic box office chart. On Weekend 2, it trailed Despicable Me, featuring the voices of Steve Carell and The Muppets' Jason Segel; on Weekend 3, Eclipse trailed not only the animated sleeper hit, but also Christopher Nolan-Leonardo DiCaprio-Marion Cotillard's sci-fier Inception and Nicolas Cage-Jay Baruchel's eventual box office disappointment The Sorcerer's Apprentice. On Weekend 4, Eclipse was way down at the no. 8 spot, behind the aforementioned three movies, plus Angelina Jolie's Salt, Pixar's Tom Hanks-Tim Allen-voiced Toy Story 3, the eventual Selena Gomez flop Ramona and Beezus, and the widely panned Adam Sandler comedy hit Grown Ups.

Kellan Lutz, Emmett Cullen, Breaking Dawn, Nikki Reed
Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Breaking Dawn

As reported in a previous article, Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, starring young movie icons Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, topped the North American box office chart for the third weekend in a row after collecting an estimated $16.9 million. Breaking Dawn is now the first Twilight movie at the no. 1 spot for three weekends (consecutive or otherwise).

Now, in the last hour or so, several people have sent us messages asking what that means in terms of the film's ultimate domestic box office gross. Well, as mentioned in one my previous posts, Breaking Dawn earned more on its third weekend than any of the other Twilight Saga movies: David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse earned $13.42 million in July 2010, Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon earned $15.42 million (about $16 million today*) on the first weekend in December 2009; and Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight brought in $13.04 million (about $14.5 million today) in early December 2008.

Yet, with a cume of $247.3 million, Breaking Dawn 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, I should add that 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, Twilight had pulled in $138.4 million (about $153 million today) in 2008.

It also bears mentioning that the first Twilight movie, 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 was down 70 percent and 59 percent. In that regard, Breaking Dawn has displayed a stronger hold than New Moon, and is only very slightly behind Eclipse.

Depending on how it fares in the coming weekends, Breaking Dawn should end up $10-$15 million (not adjusted for inflation) behind both New Moon and Eclipse at the domestic box office. In other words: though not impossible, it's unlikely Breaking Dawn will pass the $300 million mark. Its ultimate domestic total should reach about $285m-$290m, which is only slightly higher than what was initially predicted when the latest Twilight movie opened a little over two weeks ago.

* Every now and then I remind readers that those inflation-adjusted box office figures are approximations based on average ticket prices. It doesn't necessarily reflect with exactitude how much, say, any specific 2006 or 2008 release would earn today.

One important problem in the last couple of years is the resurgence of 3D movies – and 3D-movie ticket prices – thanks to James Cameron's Avatar. Those have inflated overall average ticket prices. So, what happens is that pre-2010 2D movies such as Twilight and New Moon have their adjusted 2011 figures inflated above reality, i.e., they would have made less money today than the inflation-adjusted chart suggests. In other words, the gap separating, say, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 and New Moon wouldn't be as wide.

Asa Butterfield, Hugo, Martin Scorsese
Asa Butterfield in Martin Scorsese's Hugo

Many “traditionalists” bitch about Hollywood not making enough “family films” – in other words, movies for children that parents are coerced into going to. Well, those movies are out there now. But where the hell are the families? Fooling around with Kindles and iPads as some (quite ludicrously) have suggested? Or did families blow their year-end budget last Black Friday? Or…?

Anyhow, considering that we're approaching Christmas and that the domestic box office competition includes fare such as The Muppets, Happy Feet 2, Hugo, Arthur Christmas, Puss in Boots, and Shame oops! scratch Shame – 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. Have you heard of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1?

The Muppets took in only $11.2 million at no. 2, down 62 percent from last weekend – the worst drop-off rate among the top-twelve movies – while cuming at $56.13 million according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Despite mostly glowing reviews Hugo added only $7.62 million at no. 3, down 33 percent even after adding 563 locations.

Officially budgeted at “less than $150 million” and the National Board of Review's Best Film and Best Director winner of 2011, this Martin Scorsese homage to the movies is turning out to be a costly box office disappointment. Hugo's current domestic cume stands at only $25.18 million.

Arthur Christmas took in $7.35 million (down 39 percent) at no. 4, Happy Feet Two added $6 million (down 55 percent) at no. 5, and Puss in Boots, which has been out for six weekends, added another $3.05 million (down 59 percent) at no. 10. Santa's son's total is $25.29m; the penguins' is $51.78m; the cat's is $139.52 million.

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.

Among the English-proficient French characters inhabiting Hugo's fantastical 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.

George Miller's 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, the $100 million-budgeted 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.

Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek are the two lead voice performers in Puss in Boots. The animated feature was budgeted at $130 million.

Hugo photo: Jaap Buitendijk / GK Films

Dec. 3 afternoon

Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Edward Cullen, Bella Swan, Breaking Dawn, Isle Esme
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Breaking Dawn

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.

Budgeted at a reported $45 million, The Muppets was directed by James Bobin.

Dec. 3 early morning

Taylor Lautner, Breaking Dawn - Part 1, Jacob Black
Taylor Lautner's Jacob Black, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (check out his right eye)

Christmas is almost here, but vampires and werewolves may continue to exude more box office appeal than furry, talking, kiddie-friendly puppets. Translation: this weekend, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, and a less virginal Kristen Stewart will likely put more butts into more North American movie-theater seats than Kermit the Frog.

According to Variety, the Bill Condon-directed The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 should finish the box office line ahead of The Muppets. As per early, rough estimates, Breaking Dawn is expected to collect another $14-$15 million, while The Muppets should gross $13 million.

If those early estimates are correct, that means Breaking Dawn will suffer another steep drop this weekend: down 64 percent.

At no. 3, Martin Scorsese's period fantasy adventure drama Hugo should take in between $6.5-$7.5 million. The National Board of Review's Best Film winner is currently playing at 1,840 theaters. Hugo features Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, and Sacha Baron Cohen, among others.

The no. 4 to no. 6 spots will belong to any of the following: Happy Feet Two, featuring the voices of Matt Damon, Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, and Brad Pitt; Arthur Christmas, featuring the voices of James McAvoy, Laura Linney, Eva Longoria, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, and Imelda Staunton; and Alexander Payne's The Descendants, featuring the voices and the bodies of George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, and others. Each of these is expected to bring in between $4.5m-$5.5 million.

Starring 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 Shame is expected to rake in approximately $315,000 at nine locations, or about $35,000 per site. For comparisons sake: last weekend, Michel Hazanavicius' 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.

Also, bear in mind that those are early, rough estimates. Official studio estimate will be released on Saturday morning. Official weekend estimates come out on Sunday. Weekend box office actuals will be released on Monday.

Nov. 27

Ashley Greene, Kristen Stewart, Nikki Reed, Breaking Dawn
Ashley Greene, Kristen Stewart, Nikki Reed, Breaking Dawn

Thanksgiving is a time for families to gather, whether pigging out at the dinner table or watching movies on the big screen. In the last few days, families of some kind or other have flocked to see Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, which grossed about as much in three days (Fri.-Sun.) as The Muppets, the no. 2 movie on the North American box office chart, in five days (Wed.-Sun.).

Starring Robert Pattinson as the very married vampire Edward Cullen, Kristen Stewart as the very pregnant human Bella Swan Cullen, and Taylor Lautner as very high-strung werewolf Jacob Black, Breaking Dawn was down a not unexpected 61 percent on its second weekend out after collecting an estimated $42 million – a not unexpected figure, especially considering that the latest Twilight Saga movie grossed about as much from Mon.-Thu. this past week. In other words, why wait for the weekend when the Wednesday before Thanksgiving feels just like Friday?

For comparison's sake: According to figures found at Box Office Mojo, Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon was down 62 percent on its second weekend in late November two years ago. Earlier this year, David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was also down 62 percent on its second weekend out.

Breaking Dawn - Part 1's domestic cume stands at $221.3 million, in addition to [an updated] $268 million abroad for a worldwide total of $489.3 million after about ten days. International figures would have been even been even higher if Thanksgiving were an international holiday; people elsewhere had to work this past week. Anyhow, the $489.3 million cume means that Breaking Dawn will likely pass the $500 million mark sometime on Monday. [Note: This paragraph has been corrected from a previous, non-updated version.]

For comparison's sake: New Moon's domestic cume was $230.94 million at the end of its second weekend. Released in early summer 2010, David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse had taken in $235.37 million by the end of its second weekend, though that figure includes first-week Wednesday and Thursday figures totaling about $92.5 million.

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Nikki Reed, Taylor Lautner, Jacob, Breaking Dawn
Nikki Reed, Taylor Lautner, Breaking Dawn

Movies espousing family values continue to dominate the North American box office this family-oriented Thanksgiving Week. There are family Christmases and families of movie lovers, in addition to penguin families, muppet families, movie-set families, and vampire families. There's also interspecies sex (vampire + human), but we won't go there.

Directed by Bill Condon, and starring Robert Pattinson as the lovestruck vampire Edward Cullen, Kristen Stewart as the pregnant human Bella Swan Cullen, and Taylor Lautner as the ready-to-imprint werewolf Jacob Black, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 plummeted a horrific 76 percent on Friday, after grossing an estimated $16.9 million. But did it really take such a nosedive? It's worth remembering a minor detail: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 collected more than $30 million at Thursday midnight screenings last week. There was no such box-office-inflating luxury this week. Hence, Breaking Dawn's actual drop-off rate was a more tolerable 59 percent.

For comparison's sake: Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon was down 58 percent on its second Friday two years ago. Earlier this year, David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was down 70 percent on its second Friday out. In fact, despite 3D surcharges Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – which stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Ralph Fiennes – earned less than either New Moon or Breaking Dawn on Day 8: $14.55 million vs. New Moon's $17.71 million (not adjusted for inflation) and Breaking Dawn's estimated $16.9 million.

As per Box Office Mojo, Breaking Dawn - Part 1's cume stands at $196.17 million, which means the latest installment of the Twilight Saga passed the $200 million mark sometime today.

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart launch Isle Esme
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart on their way to Isle Esme, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1 (click on photo to enlarge it)

Family films are dominating the North American box office this family-oriented Thanksgiving Week. Directed by Bill Condon, and starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, about a family of vampires (and a lone but all-too-willing human), will pass the $200 million mark at the domestic box office some time on Saturday, Day 9. As per Box Office Mojo, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 collected an estimated $7.8 million on Thursday, cuming at $179.27 million after one week.

Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon remains ahead of Breaking Dawn. After one week, New Moon's box office total stood at $188.07 million (not adjusted for inflation). For the record: Though its early performance can't be compared to that of Breaking Dawn because of radically different release dates, David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse reached $200 million on Day 8 in summer 2010. Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight cumed at $192.76 million in late 2008.

In second place, James Bobin's The Muppets, about a family of big-nosed creatures, grossed $5.9 million on Thursday, cuming at $12.5 million. Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Jason Segel, and Rashida Jones star. The Muppets' extensive cast also features just about everybody, from Whoopi Goldberg to Sarah Silverman.

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.

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, 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 down 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 $100 million 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.

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 $150 million – 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 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 $80 million 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 $50 million 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 Curtiss' 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 $210,000 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 $355,000, 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 $182,000 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.

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 $607,000 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 $75,000 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 $119,000, 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 Grace 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

Nov. 23

Breaking Dawn Movie, Michael Sheen, Jamie Campbell Bower
Michael Sheen, Jamie Campbell Bower, Breaking Dawn

As of Tuesday, Nov. 22, Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, has collected $311.87 million at the worldwide box office as per Box Office Mojo. The actual box office cume for the Breaking Dawn movie is actually higher, as international figures for Monday and Tuesday aren't available. In North America, the film's cume currently stands at $158.97 million, after earning $9.85 million on Monday and $11 million on Tuesday.

This past weekend, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 opened with an estimated $152.9 million in 54 overseas markets. The top territory for the latest Twilight movie was the United Kingdom, with $21.9 million. (Now, it's debatable whether that's in fact the best opening for an American movie in the UK.) Next in line were Russia ($16.1 million), France ($16.1 million), Italy ($12.16 million), Australia ($12.12 million), Spain ($11.9 million), Brazil ($10.8 million), and Mexico ($8.39 million).

In Spain, Breaking Dawn is officially the biggest blockbuster of 2011, after selling 1,311,707 tickets and grossing 8.6 million euros (approx. US$11.69m). In France, despite its huge opening numbers, Breaking Dawn was actually behind Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano's socially conscious dramatic comedy The Intouchables, starring Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy, which took in $17.6 million. And it's curious to see how in South America Breaking Dawn was much bigger in Brazil – where some of it was shot – than elsewhere, even after taking into account the respective countries' populations and the possibility of currency fluctuations, which can dramatically reduce or increase earnings in US dollars.

In Argentina, where a young woman is being sued by Breaking Dawn producing company Summit Entertainment, the film grossed a strong $1.94 million – though that's quite a bit behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2's $3.53 million. Unless Breaking Dawn opened in limited release (well, eight screens), it's hard to understand the paltry $61k collected in Uruguay; for comparison's sake, in Iceland, which has less than one tenth of Uruguay's population, Breaking Dawn brought in $53,000. Perhaps that's not a nation of moviegoers? Figures were solid in Colombia and Venezuela – $1.26 million and $1.15 million, respectively – though in the case of Colombia, quite a bit behind other 2011 blockbusters (admittedly, 3D-enhanced ones) such as Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Michael Bay's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and the animated Rio.

Nov. 22

Mia Maestro, Christian Camargo, Breaking Dawn movieAfter grossing $138.12 million in North America, the latest Twilight movie, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, failed to break any records in the domestic market. However, according to UK and Irish distributor Entertainment One, the Breaking Dawn movie adaptation now holds the title for the Biggest Opening Weekend for an American Film and the Biggest Opening Day for a 2D Movie in the United Kingdom and Ireland. (Not adjusted for inflation or currency fluctuations or … See below.) [Photo: Mia Maestro, Christian Camargo in Breaking Dawn - Part 1.]

Directed by Bill Condon, and starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, Breaking Dawn 1 collected £13.9 million ($21.8 million) in the UK and Ireland. Entertainment One says that's the fifth biggest opening in those two countries, trailing only a couple of Harry Potter and James Bond movies. Additionally, on Friday Breaking Dawn earned £6.35 million ($9.9 million), thus surpassing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1's £5.9 million ($9.2 million). Directed by David Yates, the next-to-last Harry Potter movie stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Ralph Fiennes.

The true measure of a film's success, of course, is not how much money it earned – inflation can, well, inflate revenues – but how many tickets it sold. Anyhow, in US dollars, Breaking Dawn is actually no. 21 on Box Office Mojo's all-time UK opening-weekend chart, slightly ahead of The Inbetweeners Movie, a 2011 British teen comedy based on a local television show.

It's true that as a result of the currently weak British pound, Breaking Dawn's box office receipts in US dollars are lower than they would have been otherwise. But … is that enough to explain the discrepancy in revenues between the latest Twilight Saga installment and, say, Shrek The Third's $33.51 million or Toy Story 3's $32.68 million? Even if only live-action movies are taken into account, what about the Johnny Depp vehicle Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which opened with, respectively, $26.6 million and $25.52m? Are the Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings movies not considered “American,” or…?

For the record, David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opened with $20.73 million; Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon opened with $19.29 million. (Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight isn't listed among the UK's top 107 opening weekends.) Of note is that the box office revenues for both Eclipse and New Moon were incredibly frontloaded, with the first weekend representing 45 percent and 44 percent of the films' total take, respectively. Those are the two highest rates among the UK's top 40 opening weekends.

Nov. 20

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart
Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1

Despite poor reviews and the depressed North American box office, Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, collected $139.5 million this weekend (Nov. 18-20), as per studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. 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.

Yet, Breaking Dawn did end up 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 approx. $151.5 million in 2011 dollars. But no matter; Breaking Dawn now has the fifth largest opening weekend (not adjusted for inflation) ever at the North American box office – which means there are two Twilight movies among the top five, both trailing David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 with $169.18 million, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight with $158.41 million, and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 with $151.11 million. (And there are three Twilight movies among the all-time top-four single-day grossers.)

In terms of ticket sales – in other words, factoring in 3D surcharges and inflation – the order would be somewhat different: Nolan's The Dark Knight, starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, with $176m; Raimi-Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man 3 with $175m; Gore Verbinski-Johnny Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with $165m; Raimi-Maguire's Spider-Man with $157.5m; New Moon with $151.5m; Deathly Hallows 2 with $142 million (approx. 66 percent of the film's grosses originating from 3D locations; deduction of $27 million from 3D charges); Breaking Dawn - Part 1 with $139.5 million.

By next Sunday, Breaking Dawn will likely be among the top five or six 2011 releases, right around Cars 2 and Fast Five. However, it seems unlikely that the latest Twilight Saga installment will manage to surpass the year's top two movies: Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, Death Hallows: Part 2 grossed $380.97 million; starring Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Josh Duhamel, Dark of the Moon ended its North American run with $352.39 million.

Both New Moon and David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse were incredibly front-loaded, earning about 50 percent of their total North American take within their first five days out. Breaking Dawn - Part 1 has a chance of beating Dark of the MoonDeathly Hallows: Part 2 really seems beyond reach – only if its popularity matches that of the first Twilight movie, which earned a moderate 36 percent of is total take on its first weekend.

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Directed by Bill Condon, and starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 opened this weekend, grossing an estimated $139.5 million in North America. Below are a few comparisons that may – or may not – help to predict how far the Breaking Dawn movie adaptation will go before it starts losing steam at the U.S. and Canada box office. (Warning: If percentage signs make you dizzy, you'd better skip this article.)

In relation to opening-day Friday (after deducting Thursday midnight screening grosses), Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon was down about 1 percent on Saturday and Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight was down 26 percent. Breaking Dawn - Part 1 was down about 2 percent. (Comparisons to David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse wouldn't work, as Eclipse opened on a Wednesday.)

Although Twilight was down quite a bit on its second day, in subsequent weeks it had less steep drop-off rates than either New Moon or Eclipse. The rates are as follows (from second to fifth weekend): Twilight was down 62 percent, 50 percent, 39 percent, 35 percent; New Moon was down 70 percent, 64 percent, 48 percent, 45 percent; Eclipse was down 51 percent (coming from an already subdued Fri.-Sun. weekend, following its Wednesday opening), 58 percent, 46 percent, 44 percent.

As a result of its more moderate drop-off rates (and more moderate opening figures), Twilight's first weekend ($69.63m) represented approximately 36 percent of the film's total gross. For New Moon ($142.83 million), the percentage was 48 percent. For Eclipse's first five days ($157.56 million, Wed-Sun), the percentage was a little above 52 percent. If Breaking Dawn - Part 1 follows the same pattern as the two sequels, it'll end its North American run with about $285-295 million, ahead of Twilight ($192.76 million), but selling fewer tickets than either New Moon ($296.62m) or Eclipse ($300.53m).

Here's another The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 box office comparison, but without including any other Twilight movie. I'll start the comparison with a question: Why did Bill Condon accept to direct Breaking Dawn - Part 1? 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 1 made more money than all four previous Bill Condon-directed movies combined, despite critical raves, Academy Award wins and nominations, and the presence of Ian McKellen, Lynn Redgrave, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Timothy Hutton, Peter Sarsgaard, Chris O'Donnell, Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Danny Glover, and John Krasinski. The box office grosses of Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, and Showgirls totaled $134 million. Breaking Dawn 1 took in an estimated $139.5 million from Friday to Sunday.

Even taking inflation into account, Breaking Dawn 1 grossed on one weekend about 80 percent of the adjusted $175 million ($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)? For as long as there are movies, books, computers, and human beings (or facsimile) looking for Breaking Dawn online or at libraries, Condon will have his name associated with two of the biggest box office hits in film history. Indeed – Twi-haters, don't fool yourselves – expect Breaking Dawn - Part 2 to be an even more outstanding blockbuster than the current Twilight movie out there now.

Nov. 19

Taylor Lautner, Breaking Dawn, Jacob Black
Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1

Bill Condon's poorly received The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, starring favorites Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, ended up a notch behind Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon on Friday, 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 was further behind than just a few hundred thousand dollars, as New Moon would have earned approx. $77 million today.

Even so, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 has helped to – however temporarily – lift the doom and gloom that have been plaguing the North American box office through much of 2011. Not accounting for inflation, Breaking Dawn 1 had the third-largest single-day take ever, after David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (with a 3D enhanced $91.2 million) and New Moon, and ahead of no. 4 entry The Twilight Saga: Eclipse's $68.53 million (on a Wednesday in late June), directed by David Slade.

As you can see, three of the top four biggest single-day grossers in movie history (not accounting for inflation) are Twilight Saga movies. Take that, Harry Potter, Jack Sparrow, Luke Skywalker, Optimus Prime, Bruce Wayne, Shrek, etc., etc.

Now, if inflation is taken into account, things change a bit: Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight would have collected $74.54 million, placing it ahead of Breaking Dawn 1. Even so, three Twilight Saga movies would remain among the top five biggest single-day box office performers ever.

Now, watch some dishonest jerk – probably someone from the Motion Picture Association of America – 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 1 has 21 percent approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes' top critics, the lowest among the Twilight Saga film adaptations: Eclipse has 65 percent, New Moon 42 percent, and Twilight 53 percent.

Perhaps because it has been unable to expand beyond its (however large) fan base, the Twilight movies trail several of the other franchises when it comes to continuing mega-popularity past opening day. Among the top 250 top single-day grossers in North America, New Moon shows up again only at no. 26 and then at no. 112. Eclipse shows up again at no. 106, no. 181, and no. 190.

For comparison's sake: Nolan's The Dark Knight, starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, shows up at no. 5, no. 14, no. 23, no. 105, no. 169, no. 186, and no. 199. Michael Bay's critically lambasted Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, featuring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, and Josh Duhamel, shows up more often and higher up than the Twilight movies: no. 6, no. 31, no. 43, no. 70, and no. 96. Even David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, though also quite frontloaded like most Harry Potter movies, is listed at no. 1, no. 25, and no. 48. Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is listed at no. 7, no. 37, and no. 155.

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Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Breaking Dawn
Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Breaking Dawn - Part 1

Twilight fans shouldn't despair if Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 doesn't break any records in North America this weekend. Starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, the latest installment in the Twilight Saga franchise will likely break first-day box office records in Spain after earning between 2.8-2.9 million euros on Friday – with another 15 percent or so of theaters waiting to be tallied. If confirmed, Breaking Dawn 1 will have surpassed the Johnny Depp vehicle Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest's 2.9 million euros. (Due to currency fluctuations and ticket price increases, it's unclear at this stage which movie actually sold more tickets.)

In North America, Breaking Dawn is expected to gross $73.5 million on Friday. In November 2009, Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon opened with $72.7 million (not adjusted for inflation). It's possible that Breaking Dawn will surpass New Moon's $142.83 million debut weekend – as long as inflation isn't taken into account. Adjusted for inflation, New Moon opened with approx. $77 million (Friday) and $151.5 million (weekend). (Comparisons to David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse wouldn't be accurate, as Eclipse opened on a Wednesday in late June 2010. The third Twilight movie brought in $68.53 million, including $30.1 million from Tuesday midnight screenings.

Source: El Economista

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Kristen Stewart wet Breaking DawnIf Summit Entertainment's estimates are correct and you choose to ignore costlier movie-ticket prices, Bill Condon's poorly received The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 may end up surpassing The Twilight Saga: New Moon's first-day take at the North American box office. Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, Breaking Dawn 1 was lagging a little behind the Chris Weitz-directed New Moon earlier today. Things apparently have changed this evening, as Breaking Dawn is expected to gross $73.5 million on Friday, vs. New Moon's $72.7 million. The sources for this information – and what follows – were The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com.

Earlier in the day, Summit had been expecting Breaking Dawn rake in $70 million on Friday – including $30.4 million from Thursday midnight screenings – and about $135 million over the weekend. Now it's possible that Breaking Dawn will surpass New Moon's $142.83 million debut weekend as well – once again, as long as one chooses to ignore ticket-price increases. Adjusted for inflation, in Nov. 2009 New Moon opened with approx. $77 million (Friday) and $151.5 million (weekend). (Comparisons to David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse would be somewhat lopsided, as Eclipse opened on a Wednesday in late June, bringing in $68.53 million, including $30.1 million from Tuesday midnight screenings.

At a very, very distant no. 2 (we're back in North America now), Happy Feet Two should take in $6 million on Friday and $22-$24 million over the weekend. Despite 3D surcharges, that's about 45 percent less than what the original earned in 2006 – not adjusted for inflation. Directed by George Miller, Happy Feet Two features the voices of Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Hank Azaria, Robin Williams, Sofia Vergara, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Common, and Pink.

At no. 3, Tarsem Singh's Immortals should be down approximately 72 percent from last Friday, after collecting $4 million today. The period adventure is expected to gross $13 million over the weekend. In the cast: Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto, John Hurt, Mickey Rourke, Isabel Lucas, and Kellan Lutz.

The no. 4 movie on Friday was Adam Sandler's Jack and Jill, with $3.7 million (down 62 percent) and an estimated weekend take of $12.5 million. This widely panned comedy featuring Sandler in drag is about to become one of the actor's lesser box office performers.

Rounding out the top five is Puss in Boots, featuring the voices of Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. The DreamWorks Animation feature pulled in $3 million on Friday; a gross of $12 million is expected for the weekend.

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Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Elizabeth Reaser, Peter Facinelli, Breaking Dawn 1
Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Elizabeth Reaser, Peter Facinelli, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1

Directed by Bill Condon, and starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: 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 humongous $30.25 million at 3,521 locations, a little more than The Twilight Saga: Eclipse's $30.1 million – or a little less; if adjusted for inflation, Eclipse earned $30.4 million. In case anyone has been scratching their heads wondering why exactly Summit Entertainment would choose to split Stephenie Meyer's four and last Twilight Saga novel into two, now you have your answer.

Now, putting things a little in perspective. Starring the Harry Potter trio of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, Deathly Hallows 2 had the following advantages over Breaking Dawn 1: a) much better reviews b) 3D surcharges c) DH2 was the last movie in the Harry Potter series. In number of midnight ticket sales, Deathly Hallows 2 was ahead of Breaking Dawn 1 by approximately 15-20 percent.

A few more comparisons: Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon pulled in $26.3 million at midnight screenings in November 2009; Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince earned, respectively, $24 million and $22.2 million; Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight $18.5m; and Todd Phillips' The Hangover Part II, one of 2011's biggest hits, $10.4 million.

And finally, Breaking Dawn - Part 1's opening-weekend gross will likely end up behind New Moon's $142.83 million. Summit had been hoping for $150m, but according to The Hollywood Reporter they have revised their estimates down to $135 million for the weekend and $70 million for Friday – though evening business could change that as well. Adjusted for inflation, New Moon opened with approx. $151.5 million (weekend) and $77 million (Friday).

Nov. 17

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Bill Condon, Breaking Dawn
Bill Condon, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Breaking Dawn (click on the photo to enlarge it)

Starring vampire, werewolf, and vampire-to-be icons Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, and Kristen Stewart, Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 grossed an at least $8.9 million overseas on Wednesday and Thursday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. (“At least” because Summit Entertainment is still tallying the figures sent by distributors.)

With $3.8 million, Breaking Dawn scored the third best opening of the year in France, after Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn and David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. In Italy, Breaking Dawn took in $2.3 million, in addition to $786,000 in Belgium, where it bumped The Adventures of Tintin off of the top of the box office chart, and $757,000 in Sweden. Midnight screenings in Australia brought in an estimated $1.3 million.

Comparisons to The Twilight Saga: Eclipse wouldn't be fair because the David Slade-directed Eclipse opened in the summer season, when kids were out of school.

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20 Comments to 'Breaking Dawn Part 1': Trailing Previous 'Twilight' Sequels

  1. sanjay

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Gracy

    Robert Pattinson | A Cheetah !

  5. just me

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

  6. luacheia99

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

  7. 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:)

  8. 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 :).

  9. 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.

  10. ana cabana

    ekselente breaking dawn is totaly box office congratulation

  11. yiu

    I thought Hugo was a Spielberg movie.

  12. mona

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

  13. BSoscars

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

  14. Eleo

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

  15. 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:)

  16. zac

    luacheia99,

    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!

    Best.

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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”.