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Weekend Box Office: Breaking Dawns Keeps Top Spot, Muppets, Hugo Hold Strong

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By Chris Kavan - 12/04/11 at 08:49 PM CT

With no new films in wide release this weekend, the box office was nearly the same this week as last week.

Once again The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 held on to the #1 spot at the box office. With an estimated $16.9 million, the film has now grossed $247.3 million and will break the $250 million mark in the next few days. Notable is that this is the best third weekend for any Twilight film, even beating out New Moon's $15.4 million. Even though it dropped 60%, it should have no problem going strong at least for the next week. It also became just the third movie of the year, after The Help and Transformers, to top the box office three weeks in a row.

The Muppets might have taken a bigger than expected 62% hit over the weekend, but the $11.2 million it took in helped it to a $56.1 million total and it should have no problem beating The Muppet Movie's $65.2 million total in the coming weeks to be crowned king of the Muppet movies. Plus, with just a $45 million budget, it has already been proven a hit.

Expanding to even more theaters, Hugo dropped just 33% and rose to third place with $7.6 million. The Martin Scorsese film now has a $25.1 million total. It should continue to play well to the family crowd during the holiday season.

Also finding a boost thanks to its theme, Arthur Christmas also enjoyed a modest 39% decline to wind up in the 4th spot with $7.35 million. The post-Thanksgiving decline is strong for a Christmas-themed film, tying Just Friends (back in 2005) for the best week-to-week holdover. The $25.3 million is virtually tied with Hugo, and it should be interesting to see which film winds up the winner come Christmas.

Rounding out the top five, Happy Feet 2 took another big hit, dropping 55% to take in $6 million for a $51.75 million total. It continues to fall behind the original as the weeks go by - taking in just 43% of what the original took in at the same point. It will be lucky to get past $70 million at this point, let alone the $100 million it wanted to reach.

Continuing to play strong in limited release, The Descendants had the best week-to-week holdover, dropping just over 29% and climbing to 7th place with $5.2 million - despite still playing in just 574 theaters. It has earned $18 million and if it continues to do as well as it expands nationwide, it will be a great day for Fox Searchlight.

In limited releases (10 theaters) the NC-17 rated Shame took in $361,000 - or a per-theater average of $36,100, which was bit better than The Artist (6 theaters with a $34,333 average). While neither will see a nationwide push, if the numbers are any indication, both should enjoy a quite robust run with the art house crowd.

After a quiet week, this Friday The Sitter aims to add comedy back into the mix, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy looks to thrill audiences and New Year's Day brings together an ensemble cast to ring in the new year (a few weeks early). We'll see if any of these three can break the Twilight hold over the box office.


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