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Thanksgiving Box Office Top Ten: Weekend Record, More Gravy than Turkeys

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood November 25, 2012 at 12:52PM

The post-Thanksgiving weekend soared this year, but not via the usual family films. Continuing the trend over the past several weeks, Oscar contenders appealing to older audiences provided the heft to elevate grosses. Like last year, a "Twilight"-dominated weekend (again, the second) leads the pack. This year's entry continues the last's torrid pace (with even bigger grosses internationally). But last year, five of the top ten, and four of the top five were oriented to kids
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Kristen Stewart in "Breaking Dawn Part 2"
Kristen Stewart in "Breaking Dawn Part 2"

The post-Thanksgiving weekend soared this year, but not via the usual family films. Continuing the trend over the past several weeks, Oscar contenders appealing to older audiences provided the heft to elevate grosses.

Like last year, a "Twilight"-dominated weekend (again, the second) leads the pack. This year's entry continues the last's torrid pace (with even bigger grosses internationally).  But last year, five of the top ten, and four of the top five were oriented to kids (including the more limited initial week for "Hugo" at #5). 

This year, the six adult-oriented films - four with strong Metacritic ratings of 81 or higher ("Argo," "Lincoln," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Skyfall) - are rewriting the gameplan for year-end releases. Five of them are in wide release now, when in earlier years most of them would be either be just playing limited or delayed until closer to Christmas. With the Academy moving its deadlines earlier and considering a later earlier for the show as well, this shift marks a real sea change.

Overall business was up more than a third from the three-day post-Thansgiving weekend last year (down from last weekend's "Breaking Dawn" opening blowout), and in terms of tickets sold, ranks as one of the best of recent years. (Total gross is best-ever, but that is driven by ticket-price increases, particularly the now common 3-D surcharges).

1. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (Lionsgate) Week 2 - Last weekend: #1

$43,070,000 (-69%) in 4,070 theaters (unchanged); PSA (per screen average): $10,582; Cumulative: $226,951,000

This "Twilight" finale was expected to be strong, but these numbers are impressive: a bit ahead of the second weekend of "Part 1" (also post-Thanskgiving). This Summit production takes the series out on a high note, even more so with the international numbers ahead of previous "Twilight" films.

What comes next: This has lots of money left in it even if upcoming weekends take the normal post-holiday drop.

2. Skyfall (Sony) Week 3 - Last weekend: #2

$36,000,000 (-12%) in 3,526 theaters (+21); PSA: $10,210; Cumulative: $221,700,000

Boosted by the holiday weekend to be sure, but nonetheless the strong hold for this latest Bond effort shows that it has incredible word of mouth and is attracting moviegoers who haven't been to a series film for a long time.

"Quantum of Solace" also had a third weekend over Thanksgiving and grossed a decent $18.8 million. "Skyfall" blew that away, with one of the best side by side later series efforts ever seen. These are amazingly strong numbers.

What comes next: This might jump back to #1 next weekend as this heads toward a likely $300 million or better domestic gross.

This article is related to: Argo, Lincoln, Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Life of Pi, Skyfall, Silver Linings Playbook


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.