Box Office Predictions: Thanksgiving Weekend

The long Thanksgiving weekend is always a huge box office weekend and 2012 looks to be no exception – with the second week of Twilight and Lincoln, the third weekend of Skyfall, and the debut of three new titles – Rise of the Guardians, Life of Pi, and Red Dawn.

It’s certainly a crowded marketplace and not everything can do great, can it? For The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, the film did not set the all-time Twilight opening record this past weekend, but still managed the eighth biggest debut of all time. To determine how it will hold up over the five-day turkey weekend, there is certainly precedence. Both New Moon and last year’s Breaking Dawn Part 1 opened in the mid-November weekend prior to Thanksgiving and both of those titles dropped approximately 70% during the holiday time frame. There is very little reason to suspect the final Twilight won’t follow a very similar trajectory.

That will probably be enough for the vampire saga to remain #1 at the box office, but it does face serious competition from the new Dreamworks animated feature Rise of the Guardians, which features Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy as an Avengers type team (pretty cool concept, I must admit). With Wreck-It-Ralph now in its fourth weekend, kids should be primed for something else to drag their parents to. Guardians has received positive reviews and looks to have an impressive debut.

There could be a real battle for #3 between 007, Abe Lincoln, and Pi. Skyfall had a much smaller drop than its predecessor Quantum of Solace and its five-day gross might not be dramatically lower than its low-40s gross over the weekend.

Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee and receiving Oscar buzz, is based on a well-loved book whose readers might make a trip to the theater this weekend. Pi is similar to Argo and Lincoln in the sense that its opening may not be mind-blowing, but it could have strong legs in the weeks ahead into Academy Awards season.

The real curiosity this weekend is Lincoln. It got off to a fantastic start with $21 million over the weekend on a relatively small number of screens. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I believe Lincoln has the real possibility of grossing quite a bit more over the Thanksgiving frame than its initial weekend. For one, it just seems like the type of film that families may go see over the break. I need look no further than my own – where my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, and I are planning a Friday trip to see it. Secondly, Lincoln is bound to capitalize on its terrific response from audiences this past weekend – it received a Cinemascore grade of “A”. Those who’ve seen it are telling their friends to see it – trust me, I know.

Finally, this weekend brings us the debut of Red Dawn, a remake of a 1980s cult classic. The film was shot a couple of years ago and shelved due to MGM’s financial difficulties. It does feature well-known stars Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers) and Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games), but the reviews have been negative and the field may simply be too crowded for this to do any big business.

With all that as context, here are my predictions for box office grosses from Wednesday, November 21 through Sunday, November 25:

1. The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn Part 2 

Predicted Gross: $61.4 million

2. Rise of the Guardians

Predicted Gross: $53.8 million

3. Skyfall

Predicted Gross: $33.5 million

4. Lincoln

Predicted Gross: $31.2 million

5. Life of Pi

Predicted Gross: $24.4 million

6. Wreck-It-Ralph

Predicted Gross: $18.5 million

7. Red Dawn

Predicted Gross: $14 million

There they are and I’ll post the updates on actual grosses Sunday night. In the meantime, I’m looking to post some new blog material over the holiday weekend! And thanks to those of you who have “liked” this blog’s new Facebook page. Please know that I “like” you all too!!

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