Four movies in, the "Twilight" franchise continues to achieve new "firsts." Over the weekend, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" became the first entry in the romantic vampires-and-werewolves series to maintain the top spot at the box office three weekends in a row.
"Breaking Dawn" collected another $16.9 million, easily besting the $11.2 million claimed by expected champion "The Muppets" during a soft post-Thanksgiving weekend. The latest numbers are the highest third-weekend gross of any "Twilight" film. However, the $247.3 million gross of "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" is still behind where "New Moon" had landed after the same amount of time in theaters.
Unlike the critically reviled "Breaking Dawn," film reviewers have been overwhelmingly positive about "The Muppets." But the family-friendly film still declined 62 percent in its second weekend of release toward a total haul of $56.1 million. The franchise reboot of sorts will likely outgross "The Muppet Movie," but it has a less than slim chance of ever beating the 1979 film's attendance numbers.
Two more well-reviewed kid flicks made the box-office top five. Martin Scorsese's 3-D period piece "Hugo" was #3 with $7.6 million as it expanded from 1,277 theaters to 1,840. The filmmaker's first family film has made an estimated $25.2 million thus far. The animated "Arthur Christmas" was #4 with $7.4 million, which reflects a second-weekend drop of only 39 percent. That's the best post-Thanksgiving decline of any film since "Just Friends" in 2005. "Arthur" has made $25.3 million overall.
"Happy Feet Two" wasn't able to do anything to shake off its reputation as one of the year's biggest flops as it landed at #5 with $6 million. The animated sequel's $51.7 million gross is just 43 percent of what its predecessor made in the same period. And critics haven't been kind. "It's hard to resist dancing penguins, but 'Happy Feet Two' may make you want to try," the Los Angeles Times wrote.
In stark contrast to the teen-friendly "Twilight" sequel and the four family movies that comprise the top five, director Steve McQueen's sex addiction drama "Shame" enjoyed the third-highest debut ever for a limited NC-17-rated release (behind "Bad Education" and "Lust, Caution"). Playing at just 10 locations, "Shame" had the weekend's best per-screen averages on its way to collecting $361,000.
Next weekend's new releases will include director Garry Marshall's celebrity-filled follow-up to "Valentine's Day," "New Year's Eve"; a pair of R-rated comedies — Jonah Hill's "The Sitter" and Charlize Theron's "Young Adult"; and the well-reviewed Cold War espionage drama "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," which stars Gary Oldman as George Smiley, the fictitious hero of British author John le Carré's spy novels.
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