By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood December 1, 2012 at 4:08PM
A strong group of Oscar contending/older audience films led to a surge in what is usually the dead post-Thanksgiving weekend. With the same top five films as last weekend (although the final order might be slightly different), the top ten films Friday night grossed about 50% better than last year.
As always happens, individual grosses fell steeply from their holiday-induced levels last week. "Breaking Dawn" for now remains number one, though "Skyfall" might still eke out a win. Both fell around 70% from a week ago (normal considering the playtime), as did the so-far underperforming "Rise of the Guardians."
But two other Oscar contenders held up better. Steven Spielberg's already phenomenally successful "Lincoln" fell only 60% while Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" dropped 63% with virtually no theater count change. With the rest of the weekend stabilizing, these figures suggest that both films should be able to play solidly through the lucrative Christmas holidays ahead, adding both bounty to their grosses but also heft to their Oscar chances.
"Killing Them Softly," Weinstein's second star-driven American Cannes competition film (after "Lawless") to hit theaters failed to make the top five, with a reported Cinemascore of F (despite generally favorable reviews and Brad Pitt in the ensemble) making it a likely to have a short shelf life. However, their more limited release of "Silver Linings Playlist," which only added four theaters, held up better than other films, falling 56% for the day, which suggests positive word of mouth is kicking in. Long-term, that is more important for them.
The other new release was LD FIlms "The Collection," the sequel to 2007's "The Collector," which will have to fight "Silver Linings" to make the top 10 for the weekend.
Estimated Friday grosses (in millions):
1. Breaking Dawn Part 2 (Lionsgate) - $5.6
2. Skyfall (Sony) - $4.9
3. Lincoln (Buena Vista) - $4.0
4. Life of Pi (20th Century-Fox) - $3.3
5. Rise of the Guardians (Paramount) - $3.0
6. Killing Them Softly (Weinstein) - $2.4
7. Red Dawn (FilmDistrict) - $2.1
8. Wreck-It Ralph (Buena Vista) - $1.6
9. Flight (Paramount) - $1.3
10. The Collection (LD) - $1.0