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'Breaking Dawn': Third Biggest Box Office Hit of the Year

Taylor Lautner, Elizabeth Reaser, Peter Facinelli, Robert Pattinson, Breaking Dawn: Part 1
Elizabeth Reaser, Peter Facinelli, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson in Bill Condon's Breaking Dawn: Part 1

Starring Kristen Stewart as a pregnant human, Robert Pattinson as a vampire, and Taylor Lautner as a six-packed werewolf, Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 is now the third-biggest blockbuster at the North American box office, having surpassed Todd Phillips' comedy sequel The Hangover: Part II last weekend. According to figures found at Box Office Mojo, The Hangover 2, which stars Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms stranded in Thailand, has collected $254.46 million in the domestic market. After 27 days (up until Dec. 14), Breaking Dawn 1 has raked in $261.45 million. No wonder Star Trek's George Takei is terrified of the Twilight menace.

The two 2011 releases still ahead of Breaking Dawn are David Yates/Daniel Radcliffe/Ralph Fiennes' fantasy thriller Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Michael Bay/Shia LaBeouf/Josh Duhamel's action-thriller-sci-fier Transformers: Dark of the Moon – both of which have the advantage of box-office-inflating 3D surcharges.

For comparison's sake within the Twilight Saga realm: David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse ended its run at no. 4 for the year 2010, trailing Lee Unkrich's animated 3D Toy Story 3, Tim Burton/Johnny Depp's 3D fantasy Alice in Wonderland, and Jon Favreau/Robert Downey Jr's actioner Iron Man 2. Curiously, Eclipse finished its run slightly ahead of (the 2D) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1: $300 million vs. $295 million. Chris Weisz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon also ended its run at no. 4 among 2009 releases, after James Cameron/Sam Worthington's environmentally conscious 3D sci-fier Avatar, Michael Bay/Megan Fox's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and David Yates' Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

As for Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight, it was the seventh biggest 2008 release in the U.S. and Canada, following Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale/Heath Ledger's The Dark Knight, Robert Downey Jr's first Iron Man, Steven Spielberg/Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the Will Smith vehicle Hancock, Andrew Stanton's animated Wall-E, and Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger's animated Annie winner Kung Fu Panda.

Breaking Dawn 1 remained the top release in North America for 21 consecutive days. That's a record for a Twilight movie. For comparison's sake: Eclipse was no. 1 for nine consecutive days after opening in late June 2010. New Moon and Twilight were no. 1 for six consecutive days in, respectively, late November 2009 and 2008.

Breaking Dawn was finally dethroned last Friday, following the release of Garry Marshall's all-star New Year's Eve, which features, among others, Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, and Hilary Swank. Even so, the critically lambasted New Year's Eve turned out to be a monumental box office disappointment.

As predicted, Breaking Dawn fell below the $1m-per-day mark on Day 25, Monday, Dec. 12. More Twilight movie comparisons: New Moon fell below the $1m-per-day mark (inflation adjusted) on Day 20. As mentioned before, comparisons to Eclipse would be unfair, for the third Twilight movie came out in the summer, when teenagers/young adults are out of school or college. Eclipse's first dipped below the $1m-per-day mark on Day 34. Twilight fell below that mark on Day 18 (Adjusting for inflation here gets tricky, as average 2011 movie-ticket prices factor in 3D surcharges for a number of releases – whereas Breaking Dawn was not released in 3D. My point: although in overall average 2011 prices Twilight would remain above the $1m-per-day mark until Day 25, in actuality it did indeed fall below that mark on Day 18 if we were to use – lower – 2011 average 2D prices.)

Overseas, Breaking Dawn 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), and Italy ($20.8m).

Adapted by Melissa Rosenberg from Stephenie Meyer's bestselling novel, in addition to Robert Pattinson as the enamored vampire Edward Cullen, Kristen Stewart as the soon-to-be-ex-human Bella Swan, and Taylor Lautner as the too-sexy-for-his-shirt 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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3 Comments to 'Breaking Dawn': Third Biggest Box Office Hit of the Year

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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. :-)