The post-Thanksgiving weekend is among the worst frames of the year for movie going. With the exception of Tom Cruise's The Last Samurai back in 2003 and Behind Enemy Lines back in 2001, I can't think of a single wide release major movie that broke out over this specific weekend (feel free to jog my memory in the comments section). So the fact that there were only two low-profile openers isn't a surprise, nor is it a surprise that neither film opened all that well. The top opener of the weekend was Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly (review/trailer). The well reviewed crime drama/political parable earned just $7 million over the weekend, which makes it Brad Pitt's worst wide release live-action opening since before he became a movie star (IE - Interview With the Vampire in 1994) The film was originally slotted to open in October before getting tossed into this early December death slot. Among the many would-be Oscar bait films coming from the Weinstein Company, this one sadly got lost in the shuffle. In September it was all about The Master and now it's about expanding The Silver Linings Playbook (a solid $3.3 million this weekend on 371 screens) and prepping for the Christmas Day release of Django Unchained. The inexplicably received an "F" from Cinemascore, which is odd as the film was seen by such a small number of people that you'd presume those who went knew what they were getting into. Anyway, at least the Weinstein Company released the film wide, meaning that those who wanted to see it got to see it. Costing just $15 million, it's already made that much overseas and should break even once domestic receipts are tabulated. Call this one a win for art over commerce.
The only other wide release was The Collection, a surprisingly well-reviewed sequel to the 2009 horror film The Collector. LD Entertainment (they distributed Killer Joe back in late summer) tossed The Collection on 1,400 screens and thus deserves an A for effort, and the film gross $3.41 million for the weekend (compared to the $3.5 million debut for The Collector). Not much to say here other than I'm sure it will do just fine in the home viewing afterlife. The rest of the news is holdover variety. As mentioned above, The Silver Linings Playbook earned the best per-screen average ($9,005 per-screen) of the top-ten and crossed $10 million total. I'd imagine that the Weinsteins should be expanding it pretty wide next weekend, considering there is but a single new release each weekend for the next two weekends (Playing For Keeps next weekend and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on the 14th). The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 2 topped the box office for a third time this weekend, earning $17 million and bringing its cume up to $254 million. It's third weekend gross was actually the highest such of the five-film franchise. After 17 days, it's ahead of the $246 million total for Breaking Dawn I and just behind the $256 million total of New Moon and the 19 day $264 million total of Eclipse. It may not best the $300 million total for Eclipse but it will end up neck-and-neck with the $296 million total for New Moon. It just crossed $700 million worldwide, setting the stage for it to dethrone Breaking Dawn 1 as the biggest worldwide grosser in the series.
Skyfall earned another $17 million for a $246 million cume. It's now the biggest spy film ever and the largest-grossing non-fantasy/sci-fi/costumed superhero action adventure film in history. It's still a bit behind the likes of The Bourne Ultimatum, True Lies, and the first two Mission: Impossible films when adjusted for inflation, but ask MGM or Sony if they care. The film was at $810 million global before the weekend, so it's likely looking at $850 million worldwide once Sony updates the numbers. Lincoln earned another $13 million for a new total of $83 million. It will surely join Argo in the $100 million club by the end of next weekend or very soon after that and $150 million is now a real possibility. Not adjusted for inflation, it needs to catch the $164 million gross of Catch Me If You Can to become Spielberg's biggest-grossing non-action/horror/sci-fi picture. Again, inflation will put Schindler's List and The Color Purple well above Lincoln (both around $200 million adjusted), but ask Disney if it cares. In other good news for serious film making, Flight crossed $80 million this weekend, earning another $4.5 million. $90 million is certain while $100 million isn't out of the question. Rise of the Guardians was less promising, as it continued to crash and burn with $13.5 million over its second frame, ending its second weekend with just $48 million. At this rate, it won't reach $75 million, making it among the very worst-performing toons in DWA history. Hopefully overseas dollars can save it (it's at $57 million foreign so far). Red Dawn earned $6.5 million for a $31 million cume while The Life of Pi earned $12 million for a decent $48 million. It won't come close to equaling its $120 million budget but Fox international is known for pulling miracles overseas. Wreck It Ralph is at $158 million while Anna Karenina earned $2.2 million on 384 screens for a $4 million cume.
That's it for this weekend. Join us next time for a single new release as Gerald Butler chooses between Jessica Biel, Judy Greer, Uma Thurman, and Catherine Zeta Jones in Playing For Keeps. Tough life...