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Weekend Box Office Top Ten: 'Twilight,' 'Skyfall' and 'Lincoln' Soar

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood November 18, 2012 at 1:04PM

A wide variety of films succeeded this weekend, mostly well-reviewed pictures for adults-- with one franchise finale (“Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2”) and one non-holiday Disney animation hit ("Wreck-It-Ralph") delivering as expected. Business for the Top Ten was up from both last weekend (50%) and last year (12%) – even though fewer films grossed over $4 million for the three days. But last year also saw a “Twilight” opening, so the uptick is impressive.
'Silver Linings Playbook'
'Silver Linings Playbook'

4. "Wreck-It Ralph" (Buena Vista) Week 3; Last weekend: #2

$18,300,000 (-45%) in 3,622 theaters (-130); PSA: $5,056; Cumulative: $121,500,000

Still strong, but coming down to earth in its third weekend, Disney continues to grab kids while “Lincoln” brings in the adults. This is lagging behind the Buena Vista release of Pixar’s “Brave,” which was at $174 million at the same point (aided by summer matinee audiences) but ahead of Sony’s “Hotel Transylvania” ($102 million) – so basically, just terrific for a fall animated release.

What comes next: Competition from Paramount’s “Rise of the Guardians” comes on Wednesday.

5. "Flight" (Paramount) Week 4 – Last Weekend: #3
$8,615,000 (-42%) in 2,612 theaters (+565); PSA: $3,298; Cumulative: $61,336,000

The 42% falloff can be easily rationalized with the competition for the older audience, but it comes with about 25% more theaters as Paramount sticks to its plan of adding theaters going into Thanksgiving rather than having opened wider early and risking losing them as competition intensifies. This is still a hit, more so with its modest $35-million budget, but at this point it doesn’t appear its potential has been maximized – possibly by not going for 3,000+ prints initially, perhaps by stumbling into a more intense competitive period than expected, or maybe because it is either too “serious” or too “commercial” depending on potential ticket buyers perspective. Or maybe the plane crash scene is scaring folks away.

What comes next: This still has potential of hitting $100 million, but it is no longer guaranteed, nor is that as impressive as it might have been.

6. "Argo" (Warner Bros.) Week 6 – Last Weekend: #4
$4,070,000 (-38%) in 2,210 theaters (-553); PSA: $1,842; Cumulative: $92,022,000

This just keeps on being impressive. Even with “Lincoln” as competition, even losing about 20% of its theaters, it still fell only 38%. This film has, in the old-fashioned term, legs, and it’s not close to finished.

What comes next: Not only awards competition with “Lincoln,” but also a race to see which grosses more – though the Spielberg film now looks like it has a real chance to overtake this.

7. "Taken 2' (20th Century-Fox) Week 7 – Last Weekend: #5
$2,100,000 (-48%) in 2,063 (-424); PSA: $1,018; Cumulative: $134,624,000

Speaking of legs, the extraordinary run of this sequel continues apace, now getting ever closer to the gross of the first go-round.

What comes next: “Taken” was in the top 10 for nine weeks, but that was in less competitive mid-winter playtime. This might not make another two, but it could come close.

8. "Pitch Perfect" (Universal) Week 8 – Last Weekend: #6
$1,260,000 (-51%) in 1,222 theaters (-269); PSA: $1,123; Cumulative: $62,000,000

Did I mention legs? The bottom end of the top ten isn’t great among the wide releases, but clearly strong audience response among its more niche audience is keeping this alive, even with “Twilight” posing some competition to part of its audience.

What comes next: “Pitch Perfecter”?

9. "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" (Yash Raj) NEW
$1,200,000 (estimated) in 161 theaters; PSA: $7,454; Cumulative: $1,200,000

Although its top 10 ranking is due in part to weakness at the lower end (all the Halloween films passed their expiration date), it is still an impressive feat for this day-and-date with India release of a top Bollywood action/romance, one of the most anticipated films of the year for that market.

Though few non-Indians know of him, this was the last film of decades-long superstar director Yash Chopra, who died only weeks ago at 80 after wrapping up this film. Starring Shah Rukh Khan, a major force at home and among countrymen worldwide, this followed the typical release from Yash Raj Films, which was founded by Chopra and has become one of India’s most important production companies. They have been releasing films steadily for years in the U.S, with this level of gross not out of line with previous successes. (“Ek Tha Tiger” in August for example grossed $1,139,000 in 120 theaters, although getting to only #14).

What comes next: This will remain a niche market, but making the Top Ten will garner attention at home, and more here, where Indian films from this company and others account for a substantial part of the annual subtitled film gross in the U.S. For example, “Ek Tha” and this will gross far ahead of four of the five most recent nominees for Best Foreign Language Film.

10. "Here Comes the Boom" (Sony) Week 6 – Last Weekend: #9
$1,200,000 (-52%) in 1,350 theaters (-694); PSA: $1,123; Cumulative: $41,019,000

Though this will not have the nine-week run in the top 10 star Kevin James had in his biggest top-billed film “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” this still has hung around for a long time for a film that started off as a serious underperformer (first weekend under $12 million). Though it hasn’t exactly thrived, its longevity reinforces the idea that there is still a real potential for James film to find an audience.

What comes next: Looks like two more comedies for James coming out next year from Sony, so no rest for the weary.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Twilight, Lincoln, Steven Spielberg, Steven Spielberg

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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.