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 $276.1 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 $261.5 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 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 $352.4 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 $250.5 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 $192.8 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 $642.5 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 $30.3 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 ($381 million) and Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($352.4 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:
Peter Facinelli. Elizabeth Reaser. Kellan Lutz. Ashley Greene. Nikki Reed. Jackson Rathbone. Dakota Fanning. Maggie Grace. Michael Sheen. Billy Burke.
MyAnna Buring. Booboo Stewart. Lee Pace. Sarah Clarke. Anna Kendrick. Christian Serratos. Christopher Heyerdahl. Michael Welch. Christian Camargo. Julia Jones.
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.
it was really one of my favourites….the best one
Gabi, that’s why I love the Twilight books and movies…no cursing, no alcohol, no gratuitus violence, no kinky sex, a lot of love and my delight in looking at the lead characters in the films. I was really turned off by the book TGWTDT and had no desire to read #2 and #3 in the series. Can’t imagine why it stayed at the top of the bestsellers list for such a long time. Give me The Twilight Saga any day.
I like BD more and more..after I sat through some real nasty anal Rape in TGWTDT, I needed some LOVE . The birthing scene is nothing to the brutality of Finchers Movie
Breaking Dawn would have done much better if they hadn’t taken it out of so many movie houses. I couldn’t find a single theatre in West Los Angeles where it was playing, which was a shame because I wanted to see it again and couldn’t.
This is a really weak weekend for movies because it includes New Years Eve. The Christmas weekend in 2009 for BD did not include New Years Eve.
It’s true that BDp1 might end it’s North American run $20 mil under Eclipse, but if you take international numbers into consideration then you have BDp1 ahead of all three previous Twilight films combined.
The Twilight Saga franchise, before the release of BDp1 had grossed just over $900mil. That included ticket sales, DVD/Blu-Ray sales, and merchandising. As of this past Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, BDp1 has made in ticket sales ALONE just under $700mil. The final tallies on BDp1 wont be in till late next year, after the release of BDp2. Only then will they have had time to add the totals of the DVD/ Blu-Ray and other merchandise sold, which will more than likely put the total over the $900mil mark making it the largest grossing film of the franchise.
Your figures are inaccurate. The three previous “Twilight” movies have grossed about $1.8 billion at the worldwide box office.
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.
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.
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. :-)
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.
Robert Pattinson | A Cheetah !
i am going to add my 7$ to it tonight ;) …wait until BD2 comes out! G-d willing
What do you think? Is it will end with US$300M in US, US$700M worldwide?
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:)
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 :).
ekselente breaking dawn is totaly box office congratulation
everyone always ‘deserves’ something. in a town where there are hundreds of actors delivering ‘deserving’ performances, oscars mean very little except luck.
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:)
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!
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!
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.
its still big enough for you to write a complete article ..where you compare HP and some other money making franchises with Twilight..interesting
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”.