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Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The romantic comedy “New Year’s Eve” opened as the top movie at U.S. and Canadian theaters, collecting $13.7 million in ticket sales for Warner Bros.
The Jonah Hill comedy “The Sitter” was second in its debut weekend, taking in $10 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” with $7.9 million, dropped to third place after three weeks as No. 1.
Studios are holding back their major holiday releases until closer to Christmas, when the year-end school break typically boosts sales. Titles scheduled to open in the next two weeks include Warner’s “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin” and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
“This wasn’t a big box-office movie weekend,” said Paul Sweeney, a media analyst for Bloomberg Industries in Princeton, New Jersey. “There wasn’t a blockbuster movie to set the pace.”
“New Year’s Eve” was expected to generate $22.5 million in its first weekend, the estimate of researcher BoxOffice.com. The film follows the lives of a group of New Yorkers as they celebrate the holiday weekend. An ensemble cast includes Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel and Zac Efron. The director is Garry Marshall, whose similarly structured “Valentine’s Day” took in $216 million last year.
“The Sitter” follows the misadventures of a suspended college student who agrees to spend an evening watching his next-door neighbor’s kids. The movie co-stars Sam Rockwell.
“Twilight,” the fourth film in the series, stars Kristen Stewart as a teen-age human who falls in love with a vampire, played by Robert Pattinson. The movie has grossed $259.5 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 post weekend sales of $8.5 million, the estimate of BoxOffice.com.
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.
Walt Disney Co.’s “The Muppets,” based on the characters created by Jim Henson, finished fourth with $7.1 million in sales. In the film, three fans learn that an oilman wants to drill under the characters’ old theater. They seek out the former stars, including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and Gonzo, who are now leading separate lives. Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson and Dave Goelz provide the three main Muppet voices, respectively.
The animated film “Arthur Christmas” was fifth, with $6.6 million. The movie, which features the voices of James McAvoy and Hugh Laurie, exposes Santa’s high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole, while telling the story of a family in a state of comic dysfunction.
Sweeney said that “Sherlock” and “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol” should both do “extremely well” next weekend.
“They have proven franchises with known stars that should drive big box-office revenue,” he said.
Weekend revenue for the top 12 films fell 17.9 percent to $69.2 million from a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Domestic box-office receipts this year have declined almost 3.87 percent to $9.57 billion. Attendance is down 4.71 percent.
The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for Dec. 9 and Dec. 10 and estimates for yesterday.
--Editors: Stephen West, Sylvia Wier, Patrick McKiernan
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