November's Family Feuds at the Box Office
A deluge of kiddie pics (and more) face off in an unusually competitive month where no one wants to play turkey.
The Thanksgiving calendar is stuffed like a butterball. Several titles are opening earlier in November, and there are four big family films debuting the holiday week. That's why Paramount and DreamWorks moved up the release of Puss in Boots from Nov. 4 to Oct. 28, three weeks before Happy Feet Two bows on Nov. 18. "This is extra intense,"one exec frets. But there is one sure bet: Summit's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part One, hitting theaters Nov. 18, will be huge.
NOV. 4-6: Ben & Eddie vs. Harold & Kumar
New Line's stoner comedy A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas takes on Brett Ratner's action-comedy Tower Heist, starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. Long-range tracking has been solid for Tower Heist, especially among males, suggesting it should smoke H&K3 even if the threequel matches the $14.9 million that Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay opened to in April 2008.
NOV. 11-13: Leo vs. Adam
Sony's Thanksgiving-themed Jack and Jill, in which Adam Sandler plays both brother and sister, is the season's only broad comedy and should dominate the weekend. Warner Bros. looks to counter with Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar Hoover biopic J. Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio (the film opens in select cities on Nov. 9 before going wide two days later). Eastwood's movies tend to open soft and build slowly. However, his last two films, Hereafter and Invictus, were domestic disappointments, grossing $32.7 million and $37.5 million, respectively.
NOV. 18-20: Vampires vs. Penguins
Can Breaking Dawn -- Part One match the $142 million earned by the last Twilight film (New Moon), which opened on the same weekend in 2009? If it does, it could carve into the audience of Warner Bros.' Happy Feet Two. (It's been five years since the first penguin film debuted on the same weekend to $41.5 million.) At the specialty box office, George Clooney's The Descendants launches in a limited run.
NOV. 23-27: Marty vs. Piggy
Three family films enter the market: Martin Scorsese's first 3D outing, Hugo, distributed by Paramount; Disney's The Muppets reboot; and Sony and Aardman's Arthur Christmas. Insiders can't remember such a flood of kid-friendly titles. Fortunately, the Wednesday-Sunday stretch is one of the most intense moviegoing periods of the year. The specialty box office will be just as competitive: The Weinstein Co. opens The Artist and My Week With Marilyn in limited runs Nov. 23, while Sony Pictures Classics launches David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method in select cities.