Breaking Dawn Part 2 Bites Into Big Opening with $141.3 Million Haul

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 behind Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson commanded the North American box office with a huge opening weekend to send the five-film series out with a bang. The vampire saga was accompanied by strong holdover business from 007 in Skyfall and Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, as well as great numbers for Lincoln in its first weekend of wide release. Overall, the box office was in great shape ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, displaying a big 41% increase over the top ten from last weekend.

While it didn’t nab a record with its opening, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 did sink its fangs into plenty of business as the franchise faithful turned out en masse. Starting on Thursday at 10 p.m., Breaking Dawn Part 2 earned a solid $30.4 million in early sales before capturing a massive $71.9 million by the end of its first full day of release. Saturday’s gross was down by roughly 42% to $41.8 million while Sunday is being forecast at an estimated $27.6 million. All told, the movie is expected to earn a huge $141.3 million on 4,070 screens, the 8th biggest opening in box office history, but just shy of the $142 million earned by the second film in the series, New Moon. Making Dawn’s debut even more impressive is that this movie didn’t have a single IMAX or 3D screen to help boost its numbers.

Critics were kinder to this film than they were previous chapters of the saga, bestowing upon it a 51% Rotten Tomatoes approval rating. Opening day CinemaScore audiences were obviously more receptive, giving the movie a solid “A” rating. Overseas, the Summit Entertainment blockbuster earned a great $199 million in estimated sales since opening this past Wednesday to bring its global debut total to a massive $340 million.

After debuting with the biggest opening in the franchise’s 50-year history, Skyfall showed nice legs by easing back 53% in its second round. By comparison, 2008’s Quantum of Solace dropped 60% in its sophomore session. The critically-acclaimed Daniel Craig outing earned a lethal $41.5 million on 3,505 screens to bring the movie’s 11-day domestic total to the $161.3 million mark.

With little to no competition on the horizon and word-of-mouth being fantastic among ticket buyers during the past week, Skyfall could make its way to the $240-250 million mark in North America by the end of its run. With over $500 million in the bank from overseas sales, Skyfall became the biggest grossing 007 film of all time (pre-inflation) this weekend. Quantum’s domestic record (again, pre-inflation) should fall within the next 1-2 days.

Following a huge opening on just 11 screens last weekend, Disney/Fox’s Lincoln expanded to 1,775 screens this weekend and rode the wave of critical raves to earn $21.1 million. To date, the Steven Spielberg-directed historical drama has earned $22.4 million and should have a healthy run ahead of it due to awards season and an all-but-guaranteed slew of Oscar nominations.

In fourth place was Wreck-It Ralph. The 3D computer animated comedy remained on 3,622 screens in its third weekend to earn an estimated $18.3 million. To date, the film has earned a solid $121.5 million and could wind down its run near the $170 million mark. Rounding out the top five for the weekend was Paramount’s airline drama Flight with an estimated $8.6 million on 2,612 screens, pushing its total to $61.3 million.

Rounding out the top ten were:

6. Argo (Warner Brothers) $4 million (-38.5% from last weekend); $92 million to date.

7. Taken 2 (20th Century Fox) $2.1 million (-48%); $134.6 million

8. Pitch Perfect (Universal) $1.26 million (-51%); $62 million

9. Here Comes the Boom (Sony) $1.2 million (-52%); $41 million

10. Cloud Atlas (Warner) $900,000 (-66%); $24.8 million

On Wednesday due to the Thanksgiving holiday, Rise of the Guardians,Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook and the long-delayed remake of 1984’s Red Dawn arrive to compete against vamp Bella Swan, James Bond and Honest Abe for those coveted Thanksgiving box office dollars.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

- Shawn Fitzgerald

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