What's the only thing that could take down Bella Swan this weekend? Santa Claus.
Yes, it's Thanksgiving Weekend, but St. Nick is teaming up with the Easter Bunny and other fantasy creatures in "Rise of the Guardians" in an attempt to overthrow "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" from atop the box office.
The final entry in the "Twilight" series had the eighth-biggest opening of all time last weekend. Box-office forecasters predicted a second win for Bella, Edward, Jacob and company this weekend, but "Guardians" could pull an upset.
Hitfix's Gregory Ellwood and Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock both told MTV News that "Twilight" will retain the top spot, though both allowed for the dark-horse possibility of "Guardians." Bock said "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" will likely finish with another $42 million, well on its way to a $300 million domestic finish similar to previous installments.
"It's really going to depend on how long Summit and Lionsgate can keep it in theaters," Ellwood pointed out. "One of the under-reported secrets of Summit's success with the franchise was keeping the films in theaters much longer than many comparable blockbusters. Those weeks of just $200,000 to $300,000 per really add up."
"Rise of the Guardians" arrives just as Disney's hit arcade-themed cartoon "Wreck-It Ralph" will likely lose steam, leaving the kids market all to the holiday heroes of DreamWorks animated tale. "Rise" should be able to muster close to $40 million, with "Ralph" now almost a month old and having already banked over $126 million since it debuted on November 2.
"Rise of the Guardians" isn't the only new movie in theaters this weekend, but it's the only one with any chance at taking on "Twilight." Oscar contender "Life of Pi" should do a modest $26 million thanks in part to audience familiarity with the book. The similarly awards-baiting "Hitchcock," with Anthony Hopkins as the legendary filmmaker, opens in more limited release.
The long-delayed remake of "Red Dawn" doesn't have much positive buzz. "The original 'Red Dawn' was actually a meaningful sociological examination, while the reboot, like so many others recently, merely seems like a misguided cash-grab," said Bock.
"The film sat on the shelf for the last three years," added MovieFanatic.com's Joel Amos. "Yes, we could associate that with the fiscal crisis over at MGM, but it more likely has to do with the film's quality. Bond is a MGM property! Look at 'Skyfall.'"
"Skyfall" is already the biggest James Bond movie ever in North America, having eclipsed the $168 million of previous record-holder "Quantum of Solace" by $2 million. Bond 23 will cross $200 million domestically soon.