Box Office Results (Weekend of November 16-18)

No one doubted that we were going to see a huge weekend at the box office and we did. On Thursday, I made my weekly box office predictions. For three of the four pictures, I overestimated a bit. For the other, I underestimated (hint: 16th President).

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 was gunning for a Top Ten All-Time opening and it achieved that. The film opened to $141.3 million, good for the eighth best opening of all time and fourth best of 2012, behind The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and The Hunger Games. However, it did not achieve the distinction of highest Twilight opening ever, which still belongs to New Moon at $142.8 million. This is a bit of a surprise, as most analysts (including this blogger) figured it would have the biggest opening in the franchise. I (over) predicted a gross of $153.8 million.

It’s hard to say a $141.3 million opening is disappointing and it’s truly not. It’s just a bit below a lot of projections, including my own. The final Harry Potter film easily had the greatest opening in its series, so it stood to reason that the last adventure of Edward, Bella, and Jacob would too. But it wasn’t to be.

I predicted Skyfall would fall 51% in its second weekend. It dropped slightly more – 53% – for a second week gross of $41.5 million. That’s still a terrific holdup, considering steep competition and the fact that the last Bond, Quantum of Solace, dropped 60% in its second frame. Even more impressively, Skyfall is already the highest grossing 007 picture ever worldwide. Amazing.

I wrongly predicted Disney’s Wreck-It-Ralph would be #3 this weekend and drop only 36%. It dropped more (45%) and grossed $18.3 million in its third weekend. Ralph is a major hit for Disney, though.

Other than Twilight having an all-time Top Ten debut, the other major story this weekend is Lincoln. I predicted a #4 debut with a gross of $18.1 million. That gross would’ve been considered very good, since its playing on a relatively low number of screens and is expected to do well not just on its opening weekend, but for the weekends to come. It outperformed my expectations and most others, opening third to $21 million. This is a fantastic opening. It received a grade of “A” from Cinemascore (audience polls), indicating it’s got a wonderful road ahead. I’ll avoid making the Lincoln/theater joke because you’ll see that everywhere else. What this means is that Lincoln and Argo are locked in a serious competition for what will win Best Picture (as I’ve mentioned before, Les Miserables could join that list too). Lincoln is bound to hold up very well over the Thanksgiving holiday.

I’ll be making next weekend’s predictions likely on Tuesday this week, since the new releases open Wednesday due to the holiday weekend. Stay tuned.

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