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. Adapted by Melissa Rosenberg from Stephenie Meyer's bestselling novel, in addition to Pattinson, Stewart, and Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 also features Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Dakota Fanning, MyAnna Buring, Booboo Stewart, and Michael Sheen.
Plus Maggie Grace, Lee Pace, Sarah Clarke, Anna Kendrick, Christian Serratos, Christopher Heyerdahl, Michael Welch, Christian Camargo, Julia Jones, Gil Birmingham, Kiowa Gordon, Billy Burke, Bronson Pelletier, Charlie Bewley, Tyson Houseman, Daniel Cudmore, Jamie Campbell Bower, Casey LaBow, Mia Maestro, and Alex Meraz.
The Muppets' 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. This latest Muppets movie cost a reported $45 million.
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.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn photo: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment