Box Office Report: 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn' Opens to Massive $283.5 Mil Worldwide

8:55 AM PST 11/20/2011 by Pamela McClintock
Summit Entertainment

The Summit Entertainment pic nabs the fifth largest opening of all time domestically, but falls just short of "New Moon;" Warner Bros.' "Happy Feet Two" sluggish with $22 million, while specialty pic "The Descendants" soars with $1.2 million.

Summit Entertainment's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn--Part 1 opened with a sharp bite around the globe, grossing $139.5 million domestically and $144 million overseas for a franchise best $283.5 million.

In North America, Breaking Dawn wasn't able to quite match the $142.8 million opening of The Twilight Saga: New Moon on the same weekend two years ago. However, Breaking Dawn made up for the gap at the international box office, where it opened day and date in 54 territories. New Moon opened day and date in only 25 territories, earning roughly $132.5 million.

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Breaking Dawn set two key records: It's the fifth largest opening ever at the domestic box office, and the 10th largest worldwide, supplanting New Moon, which took in $275.3 million. Thanks to Breaking Dawn, domestic revenues were up 14 percent over a year ago in a much-needed boost for the film business.

"We faced the weekend with some trepidation because you don't really know on a fourth installment whether you are going to maintain the interest of your audience. The numbers seem to speak for themselves. We got as close to New Moon as we could," Summit president of distribution Richie Fay said.

Females continued to drive the vampire franchise, making up 80 percent of North American ticket buyers. Breaking Dawn's audience, however, skewed slightly older than the previous films, with 50 percent of the audience over the age of 25. Last year, 54 percent of the opening weekend audience for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was under the age of 25.

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Eclipse, opening on June 30, a Wednesday, earned $157 million in its first five days at the domestic box office.

Breaking Dawn, teaming director Bill Condon with franchise stars Kristin Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, received a B+ CinemaScore, compared to an A- for Eclipse.

Among other new players, Warner Bros.' Happy Feet Two opened to a soft $22 million domestically, compared to $41.5 million for the original Happy Feet on the same weekend in 2006. Heading into the weekend, Warner Bros. cautioned that Breaking Dawn was likely to compete with Happy Feet Two for moms and girls, but still expected the 3D toon to open at $30 million or better.

"We certainly didn't open to the number we expected, but hopefully we'll catch up over Thanksgiving week and weekend," Warner president of distribution Dan Fellman said. "Our exits were very good, but there was a lot of competition for the female audience, between Twilight, Jack and Jill and Puss in Boots."

Both Breaking Dawn and Happy Feet Two drew noticeably worse reviews than previous installments in their respective franchises.

Happy Feet Two will have plenty of competition next week as three family films debut on Wednesday--Sony's Arthur Christmas, Paramount's Hugo and Disney's The Muppets. Warners still believes Happy Feet Two will have an advantage because its a known brand.

The good news for Warners was that 50 percent of the grosses for Happy Feet came from 3D screens. The pic received a B+ CinemaScore overall, although females--who made up 57 percent of the audience--gave it an A-, as did moviegoers under the age of 25, who made up 47 percent of those buying tickets.

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Alexander Payne's awards contender The Descendants, starring George Clooney, made headlines in placing No. 10 for the weekend, even though it was only playing in 29 theaters in 11 top markets. The Fox Searchlight film grossed $1.2 million for a massive per location average of $41,379. The movie's cume (it opened last Wednesday in five locations) is $1.3 million.

"To break into the top 10 and beat films that are playing in thousands of theaters is an amazing accomplishment," Fox Searchlight vice president of distribution Sheila DeLoach said. "It's great counterprogramming for adults."

The Descendant's strong performance out of the gate is reminiscent of Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, which became a crossover hit.

Among holdovers, Relativity Media's Immortals fell a steep 62 percent in its second weekend to $12.3 million for a domestic cume of $53 million. The pic still did well enough to place No. 3.

Sony's Adam Sandler holiday comedy Jack and Jill fell more than 50 percent in its second outing to $12 million for a domestic total of $41 million.

Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, fell to No. 7 in its second weekend, declining 47 percent to an estimated $5.9 million for a domestic total of $20.7 million.

For full weekend results, see below.


Top 10 Domestic Box Office Nov. 11-Nov. 13

Title/Weeks in Release/Studio/Theater Count/Weekend Total/Cume

1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn--Part 1 (1), Summit/4,061, $139.5 million

2. Happy Feet Two (1), Warner Bros./3,606, $22 million

3. Immortals (2), Relativity Media/3,120, $12.3 million, $53 million

4. Jack and Jill (2), Sony/3,438, $12 million, $41 million

5. Puss in Boots (4), Paramount/DreamWorks Animation/3,415, $10.7 million, $122.3 million

6. Tower Heist (3), Universal/2,942, $7 million, $53.4 million

7. J Edgar (2), Warner Bros./1,947, $5.9 million, $20.7 million

8. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (3), Warner Bros./New Line/1,808, $2.9 million, $28.3 million

9. In Time (4), Fox/New Regency/1,367, $1.7 million, $33.4 million

10. The Descendants (1), Fox Searchlight/29, $1.2 million, $1.3 million

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