“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2,” the finale in the teen vampire series, kept the top spot in U.S. and Canadian cinemas over Thanksgiving weekend, driving sales to a record for the five-day period.
The last of the five films from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF:US) collected $64 million over the long weekend starting Nov. 21, Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mail, leading to combined domestic industry revenue of $290 million. The previous record of $273 million was set in November 2009. ‘Twilight’ tallied $43.1 million in sales for the period Nov. 23 to today.
The young-adult films “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games,” along with summer hits like “Marvel’s The Avengers,” have led an increase in 2012 domestic sales, with revenue up 5.5 percent to $9.7 billion through today, according to Hollywood.com. Three new movies opened in wide release this week: “Rise of the Guardians” from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA:US), “Life of Pi” from News Corp.’s Fox and FilmDistrict LLC’s “Red Dawn.”
“Across the board, all the films played extremely well, even though we were talking about leftovers from last weekend, with no turkeys,” said Jeff Bock, box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “You can’t point to any one film” for breaking the record, he said.
The weekend’s strong mix of films, each reaching specific audiences, helped buoy ticket sales to a record, with newcomers expected to keep attracting movie-goers into the holiday season, analysts said.
Among returning titles, the James Bond film “Skyfall” collected $36 million to place second in its third weekend for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and Sony Corp. (6758) With $686 million in worldwide sales as of Nov. 21, the picture has already become the best-performing film in the long-running secret agent series, according to Box Office Mojo.
In the third 007 film starring Daniel Craig, Bond is presumed dead after being shot accidentally by an MI6 colleague. After a surprise return, he battles a new villain, played by Javier Bardem, who has kidnapped agency chief M, portrayed by Judi Dench, and has stolen a list of Western intelligence agents.
“Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg’s examination of the 16th U.S. president’s political campaign to end slavery, was third with $25 million in its second weekend in nationwide release. The film was produced by the director’s DreamWorks Studios and is being distributed by Walt Disney Co. (DIS:US)
Daniel Day-Lewis portrays the president as he maneuvers to win congressional approval of the 13th Amendment. Unlike most Spielberg films, “Lincoln” has little action, focusing instead on negotiations and debates held inside the White House and the Capitol.
The fact that “Lincoln”, a “more cerebral history lesson,” is number three behind “Twilight” and “Skyfall” “speaks volumes to how it’s doing,” said Gitesh Pandya, chief executive officer at Boxofficeguru.com, in an interview. “Lincoln” is “a big hit,” he said. “It was very relevant to older adults.”
“Rise of the Guardians” opened with weekend sales of $24 million, to place fourth, Hollywood.com said.
The 3-D picture, one of two releases this year from Glendale, California-based DreamWorks Animation, was forecast to take in $32.1 million, according to BoxOffice.com. The studio (DWA:US)’s other 2012 release, “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” generated $737.6 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to researcher Box Office Mojo.
Ang Lee Returns
“Life of Pi,” from “Brokeback Mountain” director Ang Lee, opened with sales of $22 million to place fifth for Twentieth Century Fox. The fantasy adventure features Suraj Sharma as a young man who survives a disaster at sea and finds himself sharing a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.
BoxOffice.com predicted weekend sales of $28.2 million for the picture, based on the book by Yann Martel. The film cost about $120 million to produce, according to Box Office Mojo.
Disney’s animated “Wreck-It Ralph” fell to sixth place from fourth with $16.8 million. It stars John C. Reilly as the voice of a video game character who grows weary of playing the villain in a vintage arcade game.
Normally, there aren’t as many quality films and Oscar contenders in the top 10 over Thanksgiving, Panday said. “Usually it’s dominated by family films and mindless popcorn movies -- it’s incredible.”
Weekend revenue for the top 12 films rose 29 percent to $200.4 million from a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Domestic film sales this year have climbed 5.5 percent to $9.7 billion, with attendance up 5.3 percent.
The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales from Nov. 23 and Nov. 24 and estimates for today
To contact the reporters on this story: Rob Golum in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.org; Ehren Goossens in New York at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at firstname.lastname@example.org