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Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” the fourth movie in the teen vampire series, opened as the top weekend film in U.S. and Canadian theaters, collecting $139.5 million for Summit Entertainment LLC.
“Happy Feet Two,” an animated comedy from Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. studio, debuted in second place with $22 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
Stephenie Meyer’s vampire franchise produced the fifth-best weekend opening ever. Among its “Twilight” predecessors, it trailed only the $142.8 million debut for “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” according to Hollywood.com. “Breaking Dawn Part 1,” made for about $110 million, was expected to have weekend sales of $148 million, the estimate of researcher Box Office Mojo.
“It’s an extraordinarily strong opening, and my sense is it will generally play well for many weeks,” said Paul Sweeney, a media analyst for Bloomberg Industries in Princeton, New Jersey.
“Hollywood has really been focusing the last several years on franchises,” he said. “Once Hollywood finds a formula that’s working, they play it as aggressively as they can.”
The “Twilight” series is scheduled to end a year from now with “Breaking Dawn Part 2.” The first three movies in the series, based on the novels by Meyer, have had worldwide sales of $1.8 billion, according to Box Office Mojo.
‘Happy Feet Two’
The all-time record for a three-day opening is $169.2 million generated in July by the final “Harry Potter” movie, according to Hollywood.com.
In “Breaking Dawn Part I,” heroine Bella Swan, played by Kristen Stewart, marries vampire Edward Cullen, portrayed by Robert Pattinson. She becomes pregnant and is targeted for death by werewolves. Taylor Lautner returns to the series to co-star as Jacob Black, whose unrequited love for Bella is tested by his commitment to his werewolf clan.
In “Happy Feet Two,” tap-dancing penguin Mumble is vexed by his son Erik’s lack of rhythm. The situation is worsens when Erik runs away and the penguin colony is isolated by shifting ice. The first film, “Happy Feet,” had global sales of $384.3 million. “Happy Feet Two” features the voices of Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.
Among returning films, the action-adventure film “Immortals,” from Relativity Media LLC, dropped to third from first with $12.3 million in sales. In the film, a stone mason in ancient Greece gets help from the gods to battle a ruthless king set upon expanding his empire. The movie stars Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto and Mickey Rourke.
In fourth place was the Adam Sandler comedy “Jack and Jill” with $12 million in receipts. The film from Sony Corp.’s Columbia Pictures features Sandler as an executive who is pushed to his limits by a Thanksgiving holiday visit from his identical twin sister. Sandler plays both roles. Katie Holmes plays the executive’s wife and Al Pacino portrays himself.
“Puss in Boots,” based on the sword-wielding cat from the “Shrek” movies, was fifth with sales of $10.7 million for DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. Puss, featuring the voice of Antonio Banderas, uncovers a plot to destroy his village. The film also features the voices of Selma Hayek and Billy Bob Thornton.
“The Descendants,” from News Corp.’s Fox Searchlight, opened in 10th place with $1.22 million at 29 theaters. The film stars George Clooney as an indifferent father who reconsiders his priorities after his wife is injured in a boating accident.
The film has been touted as a likely contender for an Oscar nomination for best movie by GoldDerby.com, a site that polls critics for Oscar forecasts.
Films opening this week include “Hugo,” Martin Scorsese’s 3-D adaptation of Brian Selznick’s book about a boy who secretly lives in a Paris railway station. The story intertwines with the true story of pioneer filmmaker George Melies. The movie stars Asa Butterfield as Hugo and Ben Kingsley as Melies. Chloe Grace Moretz and Sacha Baron Cohen also are featured. “Hugo,” from Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, opens Nov. 23.
Weekend revenue for the top 12 films rose 16.4 percent to $216.9 million from the-year earlier period, Hollywood.com said. Domestic box-office receipts this year have declined 3.52 percent to $9.08 billion. Attendance is down 4.37 percent.
The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for Nov. 18-19 and estimates for yesterday.
--With assistance from Dan Hart in the Washington newsroom. Editors: Rob Golum, Sylvia Wier
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