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Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 topped the worldwide weekend box office with $340.9 million opening, including $141.3 million domestically from 4,070 theaters and $199.6 million internationally from 61 markets. It's the franchise's best global opening, thanks to massive international business.
In North America, Breaking Dawn 2 wasn't able to match the $142.8 million opening of New Moon on the same weekend in 2009, but it did open ahead of the $138.1 million grossed by Breaking Dawn - Part 1 on the same weekend last year, thanks in part to especially strong Saturday traffic and an A CinemaScore.
Overseas, Breaking Dawn 2 opened well ahead of previous Twilight films in nearly every territory.
Directed by Bill Condon, Breaking Dawn 2 returns Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner in the lead roles for a final time. The Twilight franchise put Summit Entertainment on the map and has been a resounding victory for all involved. Breaking Dawn 2 has pushed Lionsgate, which merged with Summit this year, past the $1 billion mark in ticket sales for the first time.
Breaking Dawn 2 drew more males than any previous title in the series, who made up 21 percent of those buying tickets. In terms of age, 50 percent of the audience was 25 years and older, reflecting the aging fanbase.
In other box-office news, Sam Mendes' Skyfall finished the weekend with a worldwide total of $669.2 million to become the top-grossing James Bond pic of all time.
Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig, grossed a stellar $41.5 million in its second weekend domestically and pushed its North American total to $161.3 million. Overseas, the film has earned a massive $507.9 million for partners MGM, Eon Productions and Sony.
Steven Spielberg's awards contender Lincoln also made headlines as it expanded nationwide. The historical drama took in a strong $21 million from 1,775 theaters for a location average of $11,831. Lincoln, which opened in a handful of markets the previous weekend, has taken in a total of $22.4 million.
The DreamWorks film, made in association with Participant Media and distributed by Disney domestically, came in No. 3, despite its modest screen count. Lincoln stars Daniel Day-Lewis as the iconic 16th president. Fox co-financed Lincoln and is handling the film internationally.
Lincoln is doing particularly well on both coasts and will up its theater count to 2,000 locations Wednesday in time for the long Thanksgiving holiday.
A pair of high-profile awards contenders debuted at the specialty box office: David O. Russell's critically acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook and Joe Wright's Anna Karenina. Both films did solid but not spectacular business.
Silver Linings, from The Weinstein Co., grossed $458,430 as it opened in 16 theaters in select cities for a location average of $28,652. The film stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver.
The Weinstein Co. said it couldn't have been happier with the results, noting that the film is playing well in both art house and commercial theaters. Silver Linings earned an A- CinemaScore.
Originally, Silver Linings was supposed to expand nationwide over Thanksgiving, but last week the Weinstein Co. decided to scale back and roll the film out more slowly in a bid to build momentum throughout awards season. The move likely was prompted, at least in part, by soft tracking. On Wednesday, Silver Linings will be playing in a total of 400 theaters.
Focus Features' Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley, also opened in 16 theaters in select cities, grossing $315,395 for a location average of $19,712. The film already has earned $10.8 million overseas.
Wright's innovative take on the classic Russian novel has drawn mixed reviews in the U.S., but Focus did succeed in luring core art house moviegoers. Anna Karenina will add additional theaters Wednesday.
LOS ANGELES - There were three fresh offerings at the box office over the Thanksgiving holiday, but moviegoers opted for leftovers instead.
For the second consecutive weekend, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" claimed the No. 1 position. After debuting with a mammoth $141.1 million, the fifth and final installment in the vampire franchise took in an additional $64 million from Wednesday to Sunday.
The film, starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, has now grossed $227 million domestically, slightly ahead of the $220.8 million that "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" made during the same time frame last November.
Other holdovers also fared well over the five-day holiday. "Skyfall," starring Daniel Craig as James Bond, was the runner-up with $51 million, raising its overall North American total to $221.7 million. "Lincoln," in which the 16th U.S. president is played by Daniel Day-Lewis, came in third with $34.1 million and has now sold $62.2 million worth of tickets.
As a result of the brisk business, it was the biggest Thanksgiving at the box office ever - not adjusting for inflation. Ticket sales between Wednesday and Sunday totaled $290 million, far exceeding the previous Thanksgiving record of $273million in 2009, according to Hollywood.com.
The weekend's newcomers had more trouble attracting crowds. Of the three movies that hit theaters Wednesday, the animated 3-D family film "Rise of the Guardians" fared best. However, the DreamWorks Animation picture's weak $32.6 million, five-day take is the worst opening for the studio since its 2006 bomb "Flushed Away."
"Life of Pi," Ang Lee's 3-D adaptation of Yann Martel's best-selling 2001 book, had a decent debut of $30.2 million.
As for the remake of 1984's Cold War action flick "Red Dawn," the movie launched with only $22 million.
Of the three new movies, audiences seemed to like "Guardians" the best. Those who saw it - 57 percent of whom were female - assigned it an average grade of A, according to market research firm CinemaScore. The movie is about a group of folk heroes, including the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, who band together to protect children from an evil foe.
After its disappointing opening weekend, "Guardians" could end up being one of the biggest misses ever for Jeffrey Katzenberg's company. The animation studio, which has found massive global success in comedic franchises such as "Shrek" and "Kung Fu Panda," has had only a handful of films underperform at the box office.
"Life of Pi" earned better reviews than the weekend's other debuts, and audiences assigned it an average A-minus grade. That's good news for Fox, which is banking on positive buzz to turn the $120 million production into a hit.
After years of challenges, "Red Dawn" finally got a bit of a break. The movie, shot in 2009, saw its release date delayed numerous times when financial backer MGM entered bankruptcy.
About 62 percent of the crowd this weekend were men; moviegoers gave the film an average grade of B. The film features Chris Hemsworth, who had the title role in "Thor," and "The Hunger Games" star Josh Hutcherson, who have both become bigger audience draws since "Red Dawn" was shot.
"The cast got better with age," said Jim Orr, FilmDistrict's president of distribution. "I don't know if the movie would have done this well had it been released a few years ago."
Moviegoers stuffed themselves on a diverse buffet of movies at the Thanksgiving box office, with overall revenues ringing in it at a record $290 million for the Wednesday through Sunday stretch.
But not every film benefitted from the holiday. New entry Rise of the Guardians posted a five-day opening of $32.6 million, the lowest debut for a DreamWorks Animation title in recent memory. The weekend take was $24 million.
In a surprise twist, Ang Lee's awards contender Life of Pi overperformed in its opening to nearly match Rise of the Guardians, posting a three-day gross of $22 million and a five-day take of $30.2 million for 20th Century Fox.
Holdovers were particularly potent over the long holiday, with Summit Entertainment's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2 and MGM/Sony's Skyfall both jumping the $200 million mark domestically.
Breaking Dawn -- Part 2 easily topped the box office chart, taking in $43.1 million for the three days and $64 million for the five days. After two weeks of play, the final installment in the blockbuster franchise has earned $227 million domestically and $577.7 million worldwide.
Sam Mendes' Skyfall came in No. 2, grossing $36 million for the three days and $51 million for the five days. The movie, earning $221.7 million to date, is the first James Bond pic to earn $200 million or more domestically.
Steven Spielberg's awards contender Lincoln continued to build momentum, coming in at an impressive No. 3 with a five-day gross of $34.1 million for DreamWorks and distribution partner Disney. Lincoln, earning $25.1 million for the weekend itself, has now grossed $62.2 million domestically. The historical drama's strong performance boosts its awards chances and is a needed victory for DreamWorks.
Rise of the Guardians placed No. 4. DreamWorks Animation and Paramount are hoping that Guardians follows the same path as The Polar Express -- both movies are Christmas-themed -- which debuted to a meek $23.3 million in early November 2004, but ultimately grossed $182.7 million domestically.
Costing $145 million to produce, Rise of the Guardians did draw a stellar A CinemaScore. The toon, drawing only 35 percent of its earnings from 3D screens, is the final DWA title that Paramount will distribute; Jeffrey Katzenberg's DWA now embarks on its five-year distribution deal with Fox.
Life of Pi, a substantial creative risk for Fox, drew an A- CinemaScore. Overseas, the movie opened to a strong $17.5 million from only four markets, including China, where it was No. 1 with $10.5 million. Pi also opened in India ($3.5 million), Taiwan ($2.2 million) -- where Lee was born -- and Hong Kong ($1.4 million).
"To open to $47.7 milllion worldwide is a phenomenal start for this unique movie," Fox president of domestic distribution Chris Aronson said. "This performance validates the vision of Ang Lee and Elizabeth Gabler [president of Fox 2000]."
Costing $120 million to produce, Life of Pi is succeeding in drawing younger moviegoers and families in the U.S., with 38 percent of the audience under the age of 25 (the film is rated PG). Tracking had suggested the movie, based on Yann Martel's bestselling novel about a boy lost at sea with a Bengal tiger, would post a five-day opening in the $20 million range.
Life of Pi -- Lee's first 3D movie -- had drawn comparisons to Martin Scorsese's Hugo, but that film debuted to a troubled $15.4 million last Thanksgiving.
Disney Animation Studios' Wreck-It Ralph, posing unexpected competition for Rise of the Guardians, came in a strong No. 6 in its fourth outing with a three-day gross of $16.8 million and five-day gross of $23 million. The toon's domestic cume is $149.5 million.
MGM and FilmDistrict's Red Dawn remake -- the third new Thanksgiving entry after Life of Pi and Guardians -- posted a five-day gross of $22 million. The action pic, relying heavily on older males, received a B CinemaScore.
The specialty box office saw so-so results as several high-profile award contenders vied for attention.
David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook expanded into a total of 367 theaters on Wednesday as The Weinstein Co. scrapped a nationwide push in favor of a slower rollout.
Silver Linings -- starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver -- came in at No. 9 with $4.6 million for the three days and $5.9 million for the five days, pushing its domestic total to $6.5 million. The film's three-day location average of $12,596 and five-day average of $16,079 were solid, but lackluster.
As a way of comparison, Lincoln is playing in 2,018 theaters and posted a three-day average of $12,398 and five-day average of $16,896.
Fox Searchlight's Hitchcock, starring Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren, opened in 17 theaters on Friday, grossing $300,799 for a location average of $17,694.
Sony Pictures Classics opened Rust and Bone, starring Marion Cotillard, in two theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Friday. The drama grossed $30,196 million for a location average of $15,098.
Joe Wright's Anna Karenina expanded into a total of 66 theaters on Friday. The Focus Features film took in $831,732 for a location average of $12,062 and a cume of $1.5 million. Starring Keira Knightley, Anna Karenina is being fueled by traditional arthouse audiences, evidenced by the fact that it was up 159 percent from Friday to Saturday.