Box Office Results: Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving weekend 2012 will go down as the biggest Turkey Day frame in Hollywood history, with the majority of movies exceeding my forecasts, with one very notable exception.

I predicted that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 would remain at #1 and it did. However, it outperformed my forecast, grossing $64 million (I said $61.4M).

James Bond remained #2, with Skyfall grossing an astonishing $51 million in its third weekend (I only predicted $33.5M). Clearly, moviegoers were in the mood for 007 and I suspect some of it was repeat viewings. Already the highest grossing Bond film ever, expectations for 2014’s Bond will be high after the critical and audience smash that this one has become.

Lincoln had an incredible second weekend. Grossing $34.1 million over the five-day (I predicted $31.2M), Steven Spielberg’s drama has captured the love of audiences and is a frontrunner for Best Picture, along with Argo and probably Les Miserables.

The real suprise this weekend is the lackluster performance the animated Rise of the Guardians. Most analysts (including me) assumed it would open at #2 and perhaps even challenge Twilight for the top spot. It stumbled out of the gate – grossing $32.6 million over the frame. I predicted $53.8 million. There is no doubt that Guardians is subpar compared to most animated openings and it will need to have strong legs over the next few weekends. If not, it will surely be considered a major disappointment.

Opening strong at #5 is another Oscar contender, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, which overperformed expectations as well. I predicted $24.4 million, but Pi grossed $30.2M. Expect it to have strong legs in the weeks ahead too.

Disney’s Wreck-It-Ralph was sixth in its fourth weekend, grossing a better than expected $23 million, higher than my $18.5M forecast.

I was right about Red Dawn opening seventh, but it also performed way better than expected. The remake of the 1980s action flick grossed a solid $22 million, much higher than my $14 million prediction.

Finally, while I did not predict a gross for David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro, the Oscar contender performed well in its limited opening – #9, grossing $4.6 million on only 367 screens. Playbook will expand next weekend and could see solid results in the weeks ahead.

So there you have it – unless you’re Dreamworks who distributed Guardians – this was a great weekend for movie studios and a record-making Turkey Day weekend. I’ll post box office predictions on Thursday for next weekend!

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