The franchise may have its detractors,, but Hollywood is thankful that "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1" got moviegoers back to cinemas this weekend. With a stunning $139.5 million debut, fifth best all time after "New Moon's" $142.8 million, "Breaking Dawn" only ranks behind "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2" in top openers for 2011. This is a big relief to Summit Entertainment as the fan base's interest in the series clearly hasn't waned. Now, the company will wait to see where "Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1" will top off. Can it reach "Eclipse's" IMAX assisted $300 million cume? The Thanksgiving drop may tell the tale.
One company that isn't smiling today is Warner Bros. after the eyebrow raising opening for "Happy Feet Two." The original Oscar-winning "Happy Feet" opened to $41 million in 2005 without the benefit of higher 3D ticket prices. Six years later, the sequel found just $22 million The Thanksgiving frame only gets more competitive as the dancing penguins will have to deal with an expected potent debut for "The Muppets," significant interest for "Hugo" and, to a lesser extent, "Arthur Christmas." It's unclear how materials tested for the film, but this sequel didn't seem any different from the original which no doubt left moviegoers ambivalent.
Another relative dud is Adam Sandler's "Jack and Jill." The Sony Pictures comedy found $12 million for $41 million to date. Even with a Thanksgiving boost, this is one Sandler picture that won't hit his usual $100 million mark. Are Sandler's fans finally telling the comedian they are looking for better scripts and direction in his flicks? Perhaps that's too much to ask for.
"Puss in Boots" remained in the top five scratching its way to $10.7 million and $122.3 million so far. Outgrossing "Megamind's" $148.4 million would be a significant achievement.
Debuting in just 29 theaters was Alexander Payne's critically acclaimed dramedy "The Descendants" with $1.2 million. That's a more than superb $42,178 average. Counting a limited opening on Wednesday, the film has grossed $1.3 million so far. The Oscar contender will expand to 425 engagement for Thanksgiving allowing most of the nation to enjoy what will no doubt be proclaimed the best film of the year by many.
New releases opening on Wednesday include "The Muppets," "Hugo," "Arthur Christmas" and "My Week with Marilyn."
Final box office tallies are released on Monday.