North American box office: 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2' vs. previous 'Twilight Saga' movies
Nov. 23, '12, update: Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, the Bill Condon-directed Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 has taken in $183.78 million at the North American box office after one week – or, more specifically, one week, one late (Thursday) evening, and one (Thursday/Friday) midnight.
For comparison's sake, according to figures found at Box Office Mojo:
- Last November – minus the late Thursday evening showtimes – Bill Condon's Breaking Dawn - Part 1 earned $179.14 million in its first week out.
- In Nov. 2009, Chris Weitz's New Moon brought in $188.07 million.
- The year before, Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight, which stars only Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson (a long-haired Taylor Lautner has a minor supporting role), earned $93.36 million.
Note: David Slade's Eclipse can't be part of this comparison group because it opened in early summer 2010.
Trailing 'New Moon'
As the figures above attest, once you factor in Part 2's late Thursday screenings Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is performing (only) slightly better than Breaking Dawn Part 1 at the domestic box office.
On the other hand, Breaking Dawn Part 2 is trailing New Moon by a relatively wide margin, especially if higher ticket prices are taken into account. Adjusted for inflation, New Moon grossed approximately $199 million in its first seven days out.
Barring a miraculous surge or unusually small drop-off rates in the next several weekends, Breaking Dawn 2 has absolutely no chance of becoming the highest-grossing Twilight movie at the domestic box office.
In fact, much like its predecessors Breaking Dawn 2 is expected to be down a whopping 70 percent or whereabouts this weekend (Nov. 23–25) – earning approx. $41 million.
'Twilight' movie franchise biggest worldwide hit?
Breaking Dawn Part 2's only chance of topping New Moon is at the international and worldwide box office.
The final Twilight movie has already broken several box office records outside the U.S. and Canada (see more info further below), and quite possibly will eventually surpass its predecessors even once inflation is taken into account. Admittedly, currency fluctuations are another key factor here, but these are nearly impossible to track.
See also: Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 breaks Brazil box office record.
'Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2' weekend box office: Better than early estimates, but shy of movie franchise record
Nov. 18 update: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 easily surpassed Summit Entertainment's “official” expectations – $135 million – this weekend, Nov. 16–18, at the North American box office, while reaching a near-Twilight movie franchise record.
According to studio estimates, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 will have grossed $141.3 million by Sunday evening. If estimates are correct, that's the eighth biggest domestic opening weekend ever (not adjusted for inflation).
Nov. 19 update: Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 collected $141.06 million over the weekend (including midnight/Thursday evening screenings).
Surpassing expectations or debuting at the lower end of expectations?
Now, a few brief observations:
Summit Entertainment's $135 million opening-weekend “expectations” seemed way too modest to begin with, much like Sony Pictures' official predictions for the Sam Mendes-Daniel Craig James Bond movie Skyfall last weekend and for the animated Hotel Transylvania a few weekends ago.
In other words, officially Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 “overperformed” at the domestic box office. In reality, it opened closer to the lower end (a few had been expecting $130 million) than to the higher end of expectations (up to $160 million).
Also, bear in mind that Summit Entertainment has included Thursday 10 p.m. screenings into the weekend total for Breaking Dawn Part 2. Previous Twilight movies didn't have that revenue-boosting advantage.
And finally, Breaking Dawn 2 (surprisingly) sold way fewer tickets than Chris Weitz's New Moon, whose inflation-adjusted domestic opening weekend gross would have been approximately $151 million.
Steven Spielberg & Bradley Cooper-Jennifer Lawrence combo
As an aside, other noteworthy domestic box office performers this weekend include:
- Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role. The historical drama took in a remarkable $21 million. Also in the cast: Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones.
- In “platform” release, the Bradley Cooper-Jennifer Lawrence Academy Award-baiting star vehicle Silver Linings Playbook, which earned a somewhat disappointing $458,000. David O. Russell directed. Also in the cast: Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver.
- Joe Wright's revamped version of Anna Karenina, which collected an even more “somewhat disappointing” $315,000. Keira Knightley and Aaron Taylor-Johnson star in roles previous incarnated on the big/small screens by the likes of Greta Garbo (twice) and John Gilbert/Fredric March, Vivien Leigh and Kieron Moore, and Jacqueline Bisset and Christopher Reeve.
'Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2': Worldwide 'Saga' opening weekend box office record
So, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 has failed to break the Twilight Saga movie record at the domestic box office this weekend.
Disappointing for fans? Well, sure, but let's not forget that the Twilight Saga is much bigger internationally than in the U.S. and Canada. And that's where the fifth and final installment in the franchise has broken records.
According to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 opened with an astounding $199.6 million in 61 markets, far surpassing initial estimates that pegged the film's international opening at around $140-150 million.
Including $141.3 million in North America, Breaking Dawn Part 2 collected $340.9 million worldwide – the eighth biggest opening ever (not factoring in inflation, currency fluctuations, or, obviously, the number of territories/theaters). It's the only Twilight movie among the Top Ten.
'Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2' top international markets
Breaking Dawn Part 2's top international markets – in some of which the movie opened last Thursday – were the following:
- The United Kingdom with $24.4 million.
- Russia / CIS with $20.3 million.
- Brazil with $19 million.
- France with $16.4 million.
- Australia with $12.7 million.
- Italy with $12.4 million.
- Spain with $11.8 million.
- Mexico with $11.8 million.
- South Korea with $7.1 million.
'Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2' domestic weekend box office: Can final installment surpass its immediate predecessor?
Nov. 17 update: Starring Kristen Stewart as the newborn vampire and teen mom Bella Swan-Cullen, Robert Pattinson as the centenarian vampire and dad Edward Cullen, and Taylor Lautner as the imprinting teen werewolf Jacob Black, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 trailed both Breaking Dawn - Part 1 and New Moon on its first day out in North America. (See more details below.)
Yet the fifth and last Twilight movie earned about $6–12 million more than early Friday (Nov. 16) estimates indicated, bringing in an estimated $71.2 million from 4,070 U.S. and Canadian theaters – including $30.4 million from Thursday 10 p.m. screenings and midnight shows at approx. 3,000 locations.
Now, could director Bill Condon and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg's mix of fantasy, romance, and action “overperform” once again by Sunday evening?
Stretching the weekend
From the get-go, Summit Entertainment had been – officially – expecting $135 million this weekend (Nov. 16-18), including grosses from Thursday 10 p.m. and midnight shows.
Without the advantage of Thursday 10 p.m. screenings (and without factoring in higher ticket prices), Condon's Breaking Dawn - Part 1 scored $138.12 million on its debut weekend last November and Chris Weitz's New Moon $142.83 million in Nov. 2009. The original Twilight earned $69.63 million.
Note: David Slade's Eclipse opened on a Wednesday in early summer 2010. For that reason, first weekend comparisons would be meaningless.
'Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2' vs. previous 'Twilight' movies
If Breaking Dawn Part 2 follows the pattern of its predecessors, there's absolutely no chance it'll surpass the opening weekend of either Breaking Dawn - Part 1 or New Moon domestically, though it should at least land very close to BD1.
For comparison's sake:
- Without any Thursday 10 p.m. screenings, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 brought in $71.64 million on its first day out.
- New Moon scored $72.7 million.
- The original Twilight $35.97 million.
- And on a Wednesday, Eclipse opened with $68.53 million.
Adjusted for inflation, the figures would be – approximately – as follows:
- Breaking Dawn - Part 1 with $71.7 million.
- New Moon with $77 million.
- Twilight with $40 million.
- Summer release Eclipse with $69 million.
Thus, for Breaking Dawn Part 2 to surpass at least its immediate predecessor, it must have a less radical Saturday and/or Sunday drop-off rate. See below.
'Twilight' movies suffer steep second- & third-day drop-off rates
Saturday box office figures are unavailable at this stage, so it's impossible to tell whether or not Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 has been following the same pattern as the previous Twilight entries that opened on a Friday in November:
- Breaking Dawn - Part 1 was down 44 percent on Saturday and 34 percent on Sunday.
- New Moon was down 42 percent on Saturday and 34 percent on Sunday.
- Twilight was down 41 percent on Saturday and 42 percent on Sunday.
These are all relatively steep drops, even taking into account these films' strong midnight grosses.
Bond is the way
Now, however unlikely, the fifth Twilight movie could theoretically follow a similar path to that of Daniel Craig's third James Bond movie.
Last Saturday, its second day out, Skyfall performed quite a bit better than both Quantum of Solace or Casino Royale. That helped the well-received Bond flick to surpass many pundits' box office expectations and reach an impressive $88.36 million by Sunday evening.
Official weekend box office estimates will be released on Sunday morning. Only then will we have a better idea as to how loud will be The Twilight Saga movies' final domestic box office bang. Confirmation will come on Monday, when weekend box office actuals are released.
Nov. 19 update: Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 was down 42 percent on Saturday and 32 percent on Sunday.
Slightly lower Saturday/Sunday drop-off rates and the addition of Thursday evening showings helped to place the final Twilight Saga movie ($141.06 million) ahead of its immediate predecessor ($138.12 million).
'Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2': First day beats early estimates, but still trailing 'Part 1' & 'New Moon'
Early Nov. 17 update: Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 failed to set the single-day record for a 2D release at the North American box office.
The fifth and final Twilight movie also failed to set the single-day record for the incredibly popular movie franchise despite the fact that Summit Entertainment has – unfairly – chosen to include grosses from Thursday 10 p.m. showtimes in the film's Friday total.
These are the bad news. Now for the good news:
Though no records were broken, Breaking Dawn Part 2 did earn anywhere between $6–$12 million more than early Friday estimates indicated. Early estimates may be often “off,” but not that “off.”
Anyhow, Summit is reportedly still expecting $135 million by Sunday evening, but that figure seems a little modest at this stage despite the widely reported (and by then already discarded) threat of a mass shooting at a Breaking Dawn 2 screening. (See further below.)
'Breaking Dawn 2' one of top single-day domestic box office grossers ever
Breaking Dawn Part 2 currently boasts the sixth biggest single-day ever at the domestic box office (well, with a little help from those Thursday 10 p.m. screenings). Adjusted for inflation, the fantasy adventure can be found at a still remarkable no. 8.
Among the top ten biggest domestic single-day (inflation-adjusted) grosses ever, four slots are occupied by Twilight movies. There are also two Batman (The Dark Knight Rises and The Dark Knight) and Spider-Man (Spider-Man 2002, Spider-Man 3) movies on the list; plus one Harry Potter (see below) and The Avengers twice.
Summing up, Breaking Dawn Part 2 opened in North America with a loud bang. But if the last Twilight movie's first-day gross is an indication of what's to come in the domestic market, it feels somewhat disappointing that the bang just wasn't quite as loud as one would have expected, especially considering that this is the final curtain for one of the most successful movie franchises in history and the only top-grossing female-led movie franchise to date. (The Jennifer Lawrence-led The Hunger Games isn't quite a franchise yet.)
Batman remains the domestic single-day record holder
For the record, the current 2D single-day record holder, Christopher Nolan-Christian Bale's The Dark Knight Rises, scored $75.75 million at 4,404 locations (400 more than Breaking Dawn Part 2) last July.
The single-day record holder at the North American box office remains David Yates-Daniel Radcliffe's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 with $91.07 million, followed by another 3D-surcharge-boosted movie, Joss Whedon's The Avengers with $80.81 million on opening day. In the cast: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, and others.
'Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2': International blockbuster
Although still a huge grosser, Breaking Dawn Part 2 seems to be performing more modestly than the previous Twilight sequels in North America. Internationally, however, the conclusion to the Twilight Saga is performing above expectations.
In 61 markets, Breaking Dawn 2 could reach $140 million or more by Sunday evening, for an astounding worldwide total of $275 million after one weekend (plus one or two more days in some territories).
According to Deadline.com, as of Thursday, Breaking Dawn 2 had already brought in an estimated $38.8 million in 37 markets, reportedly breaking the single-day, non-holiday box office record (not adjusted for inflation) in Russia ($4.4 million) and setting the opening-day Twilight record in Brazil ($5.4 million).
'Twilight' movies midnight grosses
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 brought in an estimated $30.4 million from midnight and late Thursday shows.
For comparison's sake, at midnight screenings only (no Thursday evening shows):
- Breaking Dawn - Part 1 took in $30.25 million at 3,521 locations (Nov. 2011).
- Eclipse $30.1 million (on a Tuesday in early summer 2010).
- New Moon $26.27 million (Nov. 2009).
Adjusted for inflation (via Box Office Mojo), the box office figures are as follows:
- Breaking Dawn - Part 1 approx. $30.7 million.
- Eclipse $30.3 million.
- New Moon $27.3 million.
The domestic midnight box office record holder remains the 3D-boosted Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 with $43.5 million in July 2011.
The 2D midnight box office record holder (not adjusted for inflation) remains – by a very slight margin – The Dark Knight Rises with $30.6 million in July 2012. (Too close to call when compared to the inflation-adjusted midnight gross of Breaking Dawn - Part 1, which debuted about eight months earlier.)
I should add that the four Twilight Saga sequels are among the top six domestic midnight grossers in North American moviegoing history, trailing only the final Harry Potter and Batman movies.
Why did 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2' fail to break 2D midnight record?
Now, why did Breaking Dawn Part 2 fail to break the domestic 2D midnight box office record – even with the addition of 10 p.m. screenings and the extra media attention devoted to the film thanks to last summer's “cheating scandal”?
There could be one key reason; there could be many. Without extensive research into moviegoers' habits, it would be impossible to point out the exact reason.
Having said that, at least for the time being the mass shooting at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in the Denver suburb of Aurora – reportedly the worst mass shooting in U.S. history – could possibly have put a damper on the popularity of that particular showtime in the United States, a country where psychopaths have free access to weapons, ammunition, and explosives.
According to figures found at Deadline.com, in several European countries – where mass shootings aren't a fact of life like in the U.S. – Breaking Dawn Part 2's midnight box office take far surpassed the grosses of the previous Twilight movies.
Mass shooting fears? 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2' attack 'planned'
Now, if Breaking Dawn 2's more “modest” domestic midnight box office take was truly due to the Colorado mass shooting, then it should represent a lower percentage of the the film's total Friday/weekend box office gross (despite the 10 p.m. screenings), as moviegoers eager to see Bella and Edward for the last time will flock to other Breaking Dawn Part 2 showtimes at 4,070 U.S. and Canada sites.
We'll find out for sure when official Friday estimates are released Saturday morning.
But then again, one must also take into account the Springfield News-Leader report that 20-year-old Blaec Lammers from Bolivar, Missouri, has been charged with “first-degree assault, making a terroristic [sic] threat and armed criminal action.”
The reason: Lammers had allegedly planned to stage a mass shooting at a Sunday Breaking Dawn Part 2 screening.
He reportedly told police that he later changed his mind, opting for a mass shooting at the local Walmart “because if he ran out of ammunition he would be able to break the glass where the ammunition is stored and get more.”
Nov. 19 update: Below are the midnight vs. opening weekend percentages of the three Twilight movie sequels opening in November.
Breaking Dawn Part 2 - 21.5 percent.
Breaking Dawn Part 1 - 21.9 percent.
New Moon - 18.4 percent.
The data above indicates that Breaking Dawn 2's midnight grosses, when compared to the film's overall weekend grosses, were not affected by fears of in-theater mass shootings.
However, without a thorough investigation it's impossible to say whether or not there's any indication that moviegoers were frightened by the Springfield News-Leader report.
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson topline 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2' cast
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 – officially, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 – is based on the second half of Stephenie Meyer's book Breaking Dawn.
Besides Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, the near-endless Breaking Dawn Part 2 cast includes the following:
Booboo Stewart. MyAnna Buring. Daniel Cudmore. Mia Maestro. Christian Camargo. Rami Malek. Billy Burke. Angela Sarafyan. Bronson Pelletier. Alex Meraz.
Kiowa Gordon. Julia Jones. Chaske Spencer. Charlie Bewley. Jamie Campbell Bower. Andrea Gabriel. Judith Shekoni. Erik Odom. Marlane Barnes. John Edward Lee.
Janelle Froehlich. Lee Pace. Christopher Heyerdahl. Cameron Bright. Casey LaBow. Toni Trucks. Omar Metwally. Masami Kosaka. Amadou Ly. Bill Tangradi. Guri Weinberg.
Tracey Heggins. Lateef Crowder. Christie Burke. JD Pardo. Lisa Howard. Joe Anderson. Billy Wagenseller. Noel Fisher. Valorie Curry. Patrick Brennan. Andrea Powell.
Mostly mediocre reviews
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 has a mediocre 48 percent approval rating and 5.3/10 average rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.
“It's a movie so dull you might start yanking on your own head after about an hour,” writes Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Even so, some top reviewers, including those from the New York Times, Newsday, and Time, had positive things to say about the Twilight Saga wrap-up.
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 cast info via the IMDb.
Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, and Mackenzie Foy Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 images: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment.