BOX OFFICE: ‘Twilight’ Stays on Top While Independent Films Enjoy Huge Per Theatre Averages

There was a moment when it looked like The Muppets was going to surpass The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 for the weekend crown, but the vampires came back in full force and dominated the extended holiday. More impressive than the enormous cumulative Box Office of the Twilight films are the per theatre averages experienced by many independent films this weekend. The Artist opens to $52,000 per screen, A Dangerous Method opened to $60,000 per screen, My Week With Marilyn nearly made the top ten with over $8,000 per screen, and The Descendants stayed in the top ten with $21,000 per screen for the five day weekend. All of those films, except My Week With Marilyn, had higher per theatre averages than any other film in the top ten of the week.

Box Office Estimates
November 25-27, 2011

1) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (2nd Weekend)
WEEKEND: $42 million | TOTAL: $221.3 million

It comes as no surprise that this film is able to transcend its 27% Rotten Tomatoes score to achieve Box Office success. The Twilight films, just like the Harry Potter films, have a built in audience that will see the movies and love the movies no matter how poorly received they are.

2) The Muppets (Opening)
WEEKEND: $29.5 million | TOTAL: $42 million

The opposite of Twilight is proven true as this film enjoys a near perfect 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes. It just goes to show that critics can bring an audience out to see a movie with good reviews even if bad reviews do not dissuade them.

3) Happy Feet Two (2nd Weekend)
WEEKEND: $13.4 million | TOTAL: $43.8 million

This is another example of my disappointment with today’s movie audience. More people see Happy Feet 2 simply because it is a sequel with name recognition, while the better reviewed Arthur Christmas has to settle for 4th place. At least this sequel isn’t performing well enough that there will be a guaranteed third film.

4) Arthur Christmas (Opening)
WEEKEND: $12.7 million | TOTAL: $17 million

Normally Holiday movies have no problem winning the Box Office, but this film had some very strong competition this weekend. If the word of mouth is good enough it will probably remain strong, especially as it get closer to Christmas.

5) Hugo (Opening)
WEEKEND: $11.35 million | TOTAL: $15.4 million

Another film that had nearly unanimously positive reviews was Martin Scorcese’s latest effort. I am not sure what the word of mouth is among audiences, but if people listen to reviews than it should have a long, healthy life at the Box Office.

6) Jack and Jill (3rd Weekend)
WEEKEND: $10.3 million | TOTAL: $57.4 million

My heart would have been cleft in twain if this film would have beaten movies like Hugo, Arthur Christmas, or The Muppets at the Box Office. Thankfully it seems like it will be out of the top ten before long.

7) Immortals (3rd Weekend)
WEEKEND: $8.8 million | TOTAL: $68.6 million

This has to be a disappointing performance considering this film was being heavily marketed as an updated version of 300. It should still hang on for just over $80 million in cumulative gross, but that’s certainly not enough to promise an Immortals 2.

8) Puss in Boots (5th Weekend)
WEEKEND: $7.45 million | TOTAL: $135.4 million

Without much fanfare this animated film has become the 17th highest grossing film of the year and looks on its way to break the top 15. It’s reviews are pretty strong as well, so I am tempted to give it a look. Only mildly tempted, though.

9) Tower Heist (4th Weekend)
WEEKEND: $7.32 million | TOTAL: $65.4 million

Unless this film gets a miraculous resurgence, it does not appear it will earn enough to make back its $79 million budget in domestic gross. Maybe Brett Ratner should have made them rehearse more.

10) The Descendants (2nd Weekend)
WEEKEND: $7.2 million | TOTAL: $10.7 million

Adding 400 screens helped this film earn enough enough to remain on this list and have the highest per theatre average of any film in the top ten this weekend. It’s total earnings are still meager, but this is certainly the type of film that will be around for a long time.

Box Office estimates are courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Look for Breaking Dawn to attempt to keep the number one spot next weekend as it faces no real competition, but a resurgence from The Muppets.

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  • great to have a Box Office report after so long … it really hurts seeing the movies that don’t even deserve a viewing winning the race in comparison to the real good movies.

  • Jose

    With no new wide releases out next week (which sucks, I wanted to check out Shame and Sleeping Beuty), I say Twilight will drop like another 65% and make like $15 million so Muppets will probably win. And it’ll be fun to see if Hugo and Arthur Christmas can hold, I’m definitely seeing Hugo next weekend.

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