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Weekend Wrap-Up: Dawn Breaks, But There are Storm Clouds Ahead

November 21st, 2011

Normally the breaking of the dawn is a sign of hope, and normally a film opening with close to $140 million is a reason to celebrate. However, despite the success of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1, there are some troubling signs ahead. If we can focus on the positive for a bit, the film did help the overall box office rocket up 63% from last weekend to $222 million, which was 14% higher than the same weekend last year. That's not enough to suggest 2011 will catch up to 2010 by the end of the year. We are still 3.5% behind last year's pace at $9.09 billion to $9.42 billion and we are rapidly running out of time. Plus there are worse signs ahead.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 had the second biggest midnight showings at $30.25 million. It had the third biggest opening day at $72.64 million. It had the fifth best opening weekend at $138.12 million. Notice a pattern there? While the latest release of the Twilight franchise started out amazingly well, it quickly showed signs of weakness as the weekend wore on. The film made $10 million more than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 did during its opening day, but on Sunday it only made $1.5 million more. And at this pace, by Wednesday its could be behind Harry Potter's pace on the daily chart. Part of the problem is with the very nature of the film. Because it is only the first part of the last book, it doesn't have as much replay value as it would if it were a self-contained story. Also, its reviews are terrible and among the worst of the franchise. Hardcore fans obviously still went out to see the movie, but odds are most won't see the film three or four times. The opening weekend was very good, but a steep decline next weekend is very likely and even with the holidays, it could end up making more during the first three days than it will make during the rest of its run.

Opening in a distant second place was Happy Feet 2. I don't want to say the film bombed, but it certainly was a disappointment with just $21.24 million during its opening weekend. That's barely more than half of what Happy Feet opened with, and it had five years of inflation and 3D ticket prices to help inflate its box office numbers. This is partially explained by the film's Tomatometer Score, which was more than 30 percentage points lower than the score earned by the original. But even so, the film underperformed. With massive competition opening on Wednesday, this film could have a hard time over the next week and, by the time December truly begins, it could see its theater count shrink so much that it won't get any Christmas bounce.

Immortals fell more than 60% to $12.35 million over the weekend for a total of $53.08 million after two. Matching its $75 million production budget domestically will be tough, but it is performing better internationally and should have little trouble breaking even by its initial push on the home market, if not sooner.

Jack and Jill didn't hold on as well as most Adam Sandler films do, as it fell 53% to $11.74 million over the weekend for a total of $40.77 million after two. It will likely end up as his weakest comedy since Little Nicky, and even then, ticket sales might end up being lower for this film.

Puss in Boots also fell more than expected down 56% to $10.80 million over the weekend; however, it has $122.39 million after four weeks of release, so it is already a hit. And since it has barely begun its international run, it has plenty of box office potential left.

The only film in the sophomore class not in the top five was J. Edgar, which slipped to seventh place with $5.93 million over the past three days for a total of $20.72 million after twelve. There were such high expectations for this film that its box office and critical struggles are so much more disappointing.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Puss in Boots, Happy Feet Two, Immortals, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1, Jack and Jill, J. Edgar