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Weekend Wrap-Up: A Thankless Way to End the Month

November 28th, 2011

November ended the same way it began, on a losing note. Of the three wide releases, only The Muppets really made an impact at the box office. Hugo was able to top expectations and it was the only film in the top five to do so, but it was also the smallest of the three new releases in the top five. This meant the overall box office was down 26% from last weekend to $164 million. That was behind last year's haul by 9% leaving 2011 further behind last year's pace. At the moment, the gap is close to 4% at $9.35 billion to $9.71 billion.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 just missed expectations with $41.68 million over the three-day portion of the weekend and $61.85 billion over five. After just two weeks of release, the film has earned $221.30 million. This is below New Moon's pace and, since that film failed to reach $300 million, it is likely this film will do the same. On the other hand, it has already made enough domestically to cover its entire production budget, while, if you add in the film's international numbers, it has paid for the next installment as well.

The Muppets matched predictions nearly perfectly with $29.24 million from Friday through Sunday and $41.52 million since Wednesday. Speaking of nearly perfect, the film's Tomatometer Score is currently 98% positive and if it doesn't earn some Oscar nominations, then there's something broken with the system. I'm not 100% sold on the film's international chances just yet, but as long as it cracks $100 million domestically, it should break even by the film's initial push into the home market, while I'm sure the studio is currently working on a sequel.

Happy Feet 2 fell a little faster than expected, but still grabbed fifth place with $13.40 million / $18.35 million. It was predicted to make $18 million over three days, so this result is disappointing. In fact, its running tally of $43.76 million is not much more than it was supposed to open with. The studio has to be disappointed with the results so far.

Arthur Chrstmas was also weaker than expected, opening with $12.07 million / $16.30 million. It to made roughly the same over five days as it was predicted to make over three. However, its reviews are stunning and there is at least a chance it will earn better legs. On the other hand, its per theater average is pretty low, so any weakness might result in theater owners not keeping it around long enough for word-of-mouth to matter.

Hugo landed in fifth place despite playing in just 1277 theaters, earning $11.36 million from Friday through Sunday and $15.40 million in total. It was the only film in the top five to really beat Wednesday's predictions. It also earned the third best per theater average in the top ten, and reviews that were 96% positive. It should have great legs and there's a chance it will see its theater count increase. Perhaps it will even earn some serious Awards Season buzz and pick up several Oscar nods.

One final note, The Descendants climbed a spot to ninth with $7.35 million over the weekend for a still very early total of $10.89 million. It should have very little trouble expanding even more, while it is already earning some measure of mainstream success.


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Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Hugo, Happy Feet Two, Arthur Christmas, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1, The Descendants, The Muppets