(Updates with final box-office figures.)
Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1” remained the top movie at U.S. and Canadian theaters for a third straight weekend, collecting $16.5 million in ticket sales for Summit Entertainment LLC.
“The Muppets,” Walt Disney Co.’s film featuring the children’s characters created by Jim Henson, held on to second place with $11.1 million on a weekend in which no new films opened in wide release, Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.
“Breaking Dawn,” the latest in the series based on the Stephenie Meyer vampire novels, is the second film this year to claim the No. 1 spot for three straight weekends, according researcher to Box Office Mojo. Disney’s “The Help” held first place over three weekends in August and September. U.S. cinemas do about 20 percent of the year’s business between mid-November and New Year’s, Hollywood.com said.
“This is the first time any movie from the ‘Twilight’ franchise has been No. 1 for three weeks in a row,” said Gitesh Pandya, editor of Boxofficeguru.com in New York. The movie was able to hang onto the top spot because there were no new openings and because “it’s the biggest franchise out there,” he said.
“Breaking Dawn,” about vampire Edward Cullen and his not- yet undead girlfriend Bella Swan, has taken in $246.9 million in the U.S. and Canada since its Nov. 18 release, according to Hollywood.com. The film, made for about $110 million, was expected to have weekend sales of $15.4 million, the estimate of Box Office Mojo.
The “Twilight” series is scheduled to end a year from now with “Breaking Dawn Part 2.” The first three movies in the series have had worldwide sales of $1.8 billion, according to Box Office Mojo.
In “Breaking Dawn Part I,” Bella, played by Kristen Stewart, marries Edward, portrayed by Robert Pattinson. She becomes pregnant and is targeted for death by werewolves. Taylor Lautner returns to co-star as Jacob Black, whose unrequited love for Bella is tested by his commitment to his werewolf clan.
In “The Muppets,” three fans learn that an oil man wants to drill under the characters’ old theater. They seek out the former stars Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and Gonzo, now leading separate lives. Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson and Dave Goelz provide the three main Muppet voices, respectively. The film also features Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper.
“Hugo,” from Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, was third with $7.6 million. The movie is Oscar winner Martin Scorsese’s first 3-D family film.
The picture tells the story of a boy, played by Asa Butterfield, who lead a secret life in the walls and clock tower of a Paris train station. Based on the book by Brian Selznick, it is also a tribute to silent film pioneer Georges Melies, played by Ben Kingsley, who runs a toy kiosk at the station.
The National Board of Review on Dec. 1 named “Hugo” the best film of the 2011 and Scorsese best director.
“Hugo” is “looking like a word-of-mouth hit,” Pandya said. “It’s got a long life ahead of it.”
“Arthur Christmas” stayed in fourth with $7.4 million. The animated film exposes Santa’s high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole, while telling the story of a family in a state of comic dysfunction, according to a Sony Corp. summary of the picture. The picture features the voices of James McAvoy as Arthur and Hugh Laurie as Steve.
“Happy Feet Two,” an animated comedy from Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. studio, dropped to fifth from third with $5.9 million. The film features the tap-dancing penguin Mumble, who is vexed by his son Erik’s lack of rhythm. It features the voices of Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.
Weekend revenue for the top 12 films fell 6 percent to $73.6 million from a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Domestic box-office receipts this year have declined 3.7 percent to $9.47 billion. Attendance is down 4.6 percent.
“The weekend after the Thanksgiving holiday is typically one of the worst of the year,” Pandya said. “We were expecting sales to plummet and that’s exactly what happened.”
The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for Dec. 2 through yesterday.
--With assistance from Dan Hart in the Washington newsroom. Editors: Rob Golum, Sylvia Wier
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