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.