Can ‘Breaking Dawn Part 1’ reach the $300 million mark domestically? Bizarre romantic fantasy starring Kristen Stewart & Robert Pattinson trailing previous ‘Twilight’ sequels
Jan. 3 update: After seven weekends out, Bill Condon’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 has reached $276.12 million at the domestic box office. It’s still unclear how much further Breaking Dawn Part 1 will go, as it all depends on how steep the inevitably major drop will be next (non-holiday) weekend.
Two weekends ago, Breaking Dawn Part 1 was no. 6 on the North American chart. Over the Christmas holiday – its sixth weekend out – the fourth installment in the Twilight franchise plummeted to no. 16, thus following in the footsteps of its three predecessors: David Slade’s Eclipse, Chris Weisz’s New Moon, and Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight were all gone from the Top Ten chart after five weekends.
This past four-day New Year’s weekend (Dec. 30–Jan. 2), Breaking Dawn Part 1 was slightly up at no. 14.
At this stage, it looks like this cautionary tale about the dangers of interspecies breeding will end its North American run with about $280 million, or around $15–20 million behind Eclipse and New Moon. Earlier predictions (see further below) had the fourth Twilight movie cuming at $285–$290 million.
Unorthodox Thanksgiving/pre-Christmas season hit
An unorthodox Thanksgiving/pre-Christmas season blockbuster, Breaking Dawn Part 1 stars Kristen Stewart as a pregnant human carrying a deadly hybrid fetus, Robert Pattinson as her guilt-ridden vampire impregnator eager for his beloved wife to have an abortion, and Taylor Lautner as a furiously jealous werewolf who wishes he’d done the impregnating.
Based on the first half of Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling novel, the ravenous fetus fantasy cost a reported $110 million, plus marketing and distribution expenses.
Third biggest domestic blockbuster of the year
Dec. 15 update: How big a blockbuster is Bill Condon’s Mondo Bizarro love story The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1?
Well, this poorly received mix of fantasy, romance, mother love, and interspecies breeding is now 2011’s third biggest hit at the U.S. and Canada box office, having surpassed Todd Phillips’ lowbrow comedy sequel The Hangover Part II.
According to figures found at boxofficemojo.com, The Hangover Part II has collected $254.46 million in the domestic market. After 27 days (up until Dec. 14), Breaking Dawn Part 1 has raked in $261.45 million. No wonder Star Trek veteran George Takei is terrified of the Twilight menace.
The two 2011 releases still ahead of Breaking Dawn Part 1 – both of them with the advantage of box-office-inflating 3D surcharges – are:
- David Yates’ fantasy thriller Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, with $381.01 million.
In the cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Fiennes, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint.
- Michael Bay’s action thriller/sci-fier Transformers: Dark of the Moon, with $352.39 million.
In the cast: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, and John Turturro.
There’s no chance Breaking Dawn Part 1 will get even close to these two hits.
See also: Breaking Dawn Part 1 trailer.
Daily ‘Twilight’ record with a big ‘but’
Something else: the top release in North America for 21 consecutive days – a record for a Twilight movie – Breaking Dawn Part 1 was finally dethroned Friday last week, following the release of Garry Marshall’s critically lambasted New Year’s Eve, which features, among others, Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank, Jessica Biel, and Robert De Niro.
On its 20th day out, Breaking Dawn Part 1 finally passed the $250 million mark at the domestic box office – with $250.45 million to be exact. And that’s where the big but can be found.
For comparison’s sake: Chris Weisz’s The Twilight Saga: New Moon passed that mark on Day 16 in early December 2009. David Slade’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse passed it also on Day 16 in mid-July 2010. As for Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight, it cumed at $192.76 million in early 2009.
‘Breaking Dawn Part 1’: Top international markets
To date, Breaking Dawn Part 1 has brought in $381 million internationally, for a worldwide grand total of $642.45 million. The Twilight sequel’s top international markets are:
- The United Kingdom ($45.1 million).
- Russia ($31.1 million).
- Germany ($29.6 million).
- France ($27.1 million).
- Australia ($26.7 million).
- Brazil ($26.4 million).
- Spain ($21.7 million).
- Italy ($20.8 million).
It should be noted that – unfortunately for Summit Entertainment – the Twilight movies haven’t been shown in China (apart from Hong Kong), which allows in only about 20 foreign blockbusters per year.
See also: “Breaking Dawn Oscar strategy?”
‘Breaking Dawn Part 1’ breaks ‘Twilight’ Top of the Chart record
Dec. 5 update: Some good – and some bad – Breaking Dawn Part 1 news: in what may have been the slowest weekend at the 2011 domestic box office, the latest Twilight movie topped the chart for the third weekend in a row.
Breaking Dawn Part 1 has thus become the very first Twilight movie at the no. 1 spot on three weekends, consecutive or otherwise.
Internationally, the romantic fantasy adventure has topped three weekends in a row in Brazil and Australia, and two weekends in Germany and Mexico, among other countries.
The bad news: Breaking Dawn Part 1 was down a whopping 60 percent.
For comparison’s sake: ‘Twilight’ & ‘New Moon’ + ‘Eclipse’
Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight was on top for a single weekend in fall 2008; on Weekend no. 2, it fell to third place, trailing the Reese Witherspoon-Vince Vaughn comedy Four Christmases and the John Travolta-Miley Cyrus-voiced animated feature Bolt.
In fall 2009, Chris Weitz’s New Moon was on top for two consecutive weekends. On Weekend no. 3, it fell behind the Sandra Bullock blockbuster The Blind Side.
David Slade’s Eclipse opened on a Wednesday in late June, at the height of the 2010 summer season. Needless to say, it stayed only one single weekend at the top of the domestic box office chart. On Weekend no. 2, it trailed Despicable Me; on Weekend no. 4, it was down in the eighth slot.
Weak ‘Twilight’ legs
So, how weak are the Twilight movies’ legs after their first weekend out?
The answer is: very weak, even while taking opening-weekend-inflating midnight grosses into account.
- The first Twilight, coming from a lower box office level, was down 62 percent and 50 percent on weekends 2 and 3.
- New Moon was down 70 percent and 64 percent.
- Eclipse was down 51 percent (following a “mellow” weekend, as the film opened on a Wednesday) and 58 percent.
- Breaking Dawn Part 1 was down 70 percent and 59 percent.
In that regard, the first Breaking Dawn has displayed a stronger hold than New Moon and is only very slightly behind Eclipse. Still, its box office legs are hardly what one would call sturdy.
Depending on how it fares in the coming weekends at the domestic box office, Breaking Dawn Part 1 should end up $10-$15 million (not adjusted for inflation) behind both New Moon ($296.62 million domestically) and Eclipse ($300.53 million).
In other words: even if not impossible, it’s unlikely Breaking Dawn Part 1 will pass the $300 million mark in North America. Its ultimate domestic total should reach about $285–$290 million – and around $700 million worldwide.
See also: Breaking Dawn Part 1 reviews.
‘Breaking Dawn Part 1’ opens well below expectations
Nov. 21: Directed by Bill Condon, and starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 opened this past weekend, Nov. 18–20, grossing $138.1 million (including $30.25 million from Thursday midnight screenings) in the U.S. and Canada. Summit Entertainment had been hoping for $150 million.
Even so, after only three days Breaking Dawn Part 1 is already no. 16 among the year’s top moneymakers, ahead of Super 8 and only slightly behind The Smurfs.
By next Sunday, the latest Twilight Saga movie will likely be among the top five or six 2011 releases, right around Cars 2 and Fast Five.
Yet it seems highly unlikely that Breaking Dawn Part 1 will manage to surpass the year’s top two movies: David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ($380.97 million) and Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($352.39 million).
Behind ‘New Moon’
Also worth pointing out, Breaking Dawn Part 1 is trailing Chris Weitz’s The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which collected $142.7 million back in November 2009. If inflation is taken into account the gap is considerably wider, as New Moon would have grossed approximately $151 million in 2011 dollars.
On the positive side, Breaking Dawn Part 1 boasted the fifth largest opening weekend ever (not adjusted for inflation) at the North American box office – and that means there are two Twilight movies among the Top Five, both trailing the following:
- David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Ralph Fiennes, with $169.18 million (including a record-setting $43.5 million from Thursday midnight screenings).
- Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, with $158.41 million.
- Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, with $151.11 million.
Three ‘Twilight’ movies among top single-day grossers ever
Breaking Dawn Part 1 also ended up a little behind New Moon on opening day – Friday, Nov. 18: $71.64 million vs. $72.7 million.
Factoring in higher ticket prices, Breaking Dawn Part 1 was further behind than just $1 million, as New Moon would have earned approximately $77 million today.
Also taking inflation into account, the latest Twilight Saga movie enjoyed the fourth-largest single-day take ever at the domestic box office, after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, New Moon, and The Dark Knight, while one slot above Eclipse.
And that means three of the top five biggest single-day domestic grossers are Twilight Saga flicks.
Good & original movies needed?
Dishonest jerks always insist that only good movies and original stories can put an end to box office droughts – such as the current one plaguing the domestic market.
In truth, most audiences clearly want what they’re familiar with, even if the well-known product comes accompanied by dismal reviews. Breaking Dawn Part 1, for one, has an embarrassing 21 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics.
That’s by far the lowest among the Twilight Saga film adaptations: Eclipse has 65 percent, New Moon 42 percent, and Twilight 53 percent.
See also: “Set Break-in & Other Controversies: Breaking Dawn Part 1 filming in Rio.”
Why did Bill Condon opt to direct the ‘Breaking Dawn’ movies?
Below is another Breaking Dawn Part 1 box office comparison, but without including any other Twilight movie.
Let’s begin the comparison with a question: Why did Bill Condon accept to direct the two Breaking Dawn movies?
Well, 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 he’s a fan of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga books. Perhaps.
But consider this: on one single weekend Breaking Dawn Part 1 made more money at the domestic box office than all four previous Bill Condon-directed movies combined over the course of their runs – despite critical raves, Academy Award wins and nominations, and the presence of Ian McKellen, Lynn Redgrave, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé Knowles, etc.
‘Breaking Dawn Part 1’ vs. Bill Condon’s previous movies
The combined domestic box office gross of Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, and Dreamgirls added up to $134 million – vs. Breaking Dawn Part 1‘s $138.1 million on its first three days out.
Even taking inflation into account, Breaking Dawn Part 1 scored on one weekend about 80 percent of the adjusted $175 million total ($125.5 million from Dreamgirls alone) earned by Condon’s other four movies.
Here’s another question: how often will Bill Condon get the chance to direct such a gargantuan megahit – and earn loads of cash in residuals?
And just in case anyone has been scratching their heads wondering why exactly Summit Entertainment would choose to split Stephenie Meyer’s fourth and final Twilight novel into two, you now have your (obvious) answer.
See also: “Artistic License & Breaking Dawn‘s ‘Libishomem’ Nonsense.”
‘Breaking Dawn Part 1’ cast
In addition to Kristen Stewart as the (for the time being) human Bella Swan, Robert Pattinson as the enamored vampire Edward Cullen, and Taylor Lautner as the short-tempered and perennially shirtless werewolf Jacob Black, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 also features:
Gil Birmingham. Kiowa Gordon. Bronson Pelletier. Charlie Bewley. Tyson Houseman. Daniel Cudmore. Jamie Campbell Bower. Casey LaBow. Mia Maestro. Alex Meraz.
Twilight franchise scribe Melissa Rosenberg adapted the first half of Stephenie Meyer’s bestseller.
“Breaking Dawn Part 1: ‘Tis the Season for Interspecies Breeding But BD1 Trailing Previous Twilight Sequels” follow-up post: “Thanksgiving Families for All Tastes: Some Much More Popular Than Others.”
Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, and Kristen Stewart Breaking Dawn Part 1 images: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment.
“Breaking Dawn Part 1: ‘Tis the Season for Interspecies Breeding But BD1 Trailing Previous Sequels” last updated in July 2018.