Breaking Dawn Threepeats as Holdovers Struggle
By John Hamann
December 4, 2011
We were all very hopeful that The Muppets would take over top spot from the Twilight kids, but sadly, it wasn't to be. Things went from bad to worse on Saturday morning, when the Friday figure was released for The Muppets, at $2.7 million, versus last weekend's holiday inflated gross of $12.1 million (-78%). There was no way The Muppets were going to make up any kind of distance on the previous weekend with that kind of drop, and the result is a weekend gross of $11.2 million for Kermit and friends, and a loss of 62% of last weekend's audience. Yes, last weekend was Thanksgiving, and we knew numbers would naturally be down this weekend; however, this is larger than I expected. The Muppets will be fine. Disney paid only $45 million for a film that grossed $41.5 million over its first five days, a film that has a gross of $56.1 million after only 12 days of release. The worst news from this result is that its going to be another Alvin and the Chipmunks kind of Christmas.
As predicted last weekend, Hugo is third this weekend, leaping over its kid-flick brethren like Happy Feet Two and Arthur Christmas. Hugo had what these other two films didn't have – room to expand – which kept momentum going for this one. Hugo earned $7.6 million this weekend after finishing fifth last weekend with $11.3 million. Paramount smartly added 563 venues to Hugo's count this weekend, bringing the venue count up to 1,840. Hugo had a decent venue average of $4,144, one of the better averages in the top ten. Also helping the Marty Scorsese flick this weekend was a win for Best Picture of the year from the National Board of Review, one of the first awards of the season. Hugo will be making a lot of top ten lists as the month moves forward, and I believe Graham King's quote that “a masterpiece must be nurtured” is exactly what Paramount is doing with the venue count. So far, the $150 million release has earned $25.2 million. Hopefully, it's just getting started.
Arthur Christmas moves to fourth this weekend, as it also gets ahead of Happy Feet Two. Arthur Christmas earned $7.4 million in its second weekend, and despite a score not that much different than that of Hugo, Arthur Christmas is in some big trouble. Made for $100 million (which may be conservative), Arthur stumbled out of the block last weekend earning $12 million ($16 million over the larger five-day weekend). This weekend, the Aardman picture dropped 39% compared to last weekend's three-day figure. Arthur Christmas – unlike Hugo – has saturated the marketplace, as it's out to 3,376 theaters, or a little less than twice the venues of Hugo. Unfortunately for Arthur, there's nowhere to go but down. Arthur Christmas has now earned $25.3 million, and unless something bizarre happens, it is going to top out between $50 and $60 million (if Christmas is good to it).
That puts Happy Feet Two down to fifth, but at least it can say it has been out an extra weekend. Happy Feet Two has all the problems Arthur Christmas had, except it cost an additional $35 million. Now out for three weekends, Happy Feet Two grossed only $6 million and was off a painful 55% compared to last weekend. This one is looking like a $75 million finisher, which is $60 million short of that production budget. So far, this Warner Bros. release has earned $51.8 million.