The return of "The Muppets" got off to a strong start on Wednesday, but it wasn't enough to overtake "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1" at the box office.
The fourth installment of Stephenie Meyers' vampire saga grossed another $12.5 million on Wednesday for a blockbuster $171.4 million in just six days. That's only $7 million behind the franchise's last November release, "New Moon," which had cumed $178.8 million at this point in 2009. Baring a glaring change in moviegoer habits, "Breaking Dawn" should easily win the Thanksgiving frame and break the $215 million mark by Sunday.
Debuting in second place was the critically adored "The Muppets" with $6.6 million. The Jason Segel passion project should dip a bit on a busy family focused Thanksgiving, but should dance its way to at least $45 million by the end of the five-day frame. With a budget of just $35 million and numerous licensing opportunities for parent, lord and overseer the Walt Disney Company, to say Jim Henson's creations are back is a bit of an understatement.
Opening in fourth place was the charming "Arthur Christmas" with $2.4 million. Unfortunately, the Aardman and Sony Pictures Animation collaboration will be lucky to find $18 million over the frame. That's a very disappointing result considering the marketability and quality of the production, but, like "Happy Feet," "Arthur" may find more gifts internationally. It's already grossed $9 million from just a few markets so far.
Rounding out the top five was "Jack and Jill" with another $1.9 million and $45 million in 13 days. Adam Sandler's latest will have a hard time crossing the $80 million mark let alone his customary $100 million tally.
Also opening was Martin Scorsese's critically acclaimed "Hugo" with $1.6 million. The GK Films production (distributed by Paramount) only opened in 1,277 theaters for a very good $1,304 average. With 3D theaters at a premium, Paramount will hope word of mouth, strong reviews and critic's awards keep "Hugo" running through the Christmas season.
Look for continuing box office updates throughout the Holiday weekend on HitFix.