NEW YORK (Reuters) - Vampires feasted at the Thanksgiving weekend box office, bringing the newest “Twilight” movie its second win in a row, over a strong comeback for “The Muppets” and other family fare that filled theaters.
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1” delivered an estimated $113.5 million around the globe from Friday through Sunday. The film ranked No. 1 for the second straight week at U.S. and Canadian theaters, where ticket sales hit $42 million for three days and $62.3 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
The film’s total box-office take since its release reached $489.3 million globally.
“Breaking Dawn: Part 1” is the fourth movie in the “Twilight” series, one of Hollywood’s most lucrative franchises. The movies are based on best-selling novels by Stephenie Meyer about a human-vampire-werewolf love triangle, a story that has generated legions of die-hard female fans.
For the latest movie, “word of mouth is good. (Fans) are supporting the film,” said Richie Fay, president of domestic distribution for independent studio Summit Entertainment, which backed the film.
In second place, audiences welcomed the Muppets back to theaters for the first time in 12 years.
New Disney movie “The Muppets,” starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams alongside Kermit, Miss Piggy and their puppet friends, took in a strong $29.5 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters in three days. The five-day holiday weekend haul reached $42 million domestically. Two international markets added $1.6 million.
Disney bought the rights to the Muppets in 2004, and the media, entertainment and consumer-products giant is eager to interest a new generation in the characters.
“It’s hard to have anyone argue we didn’t bring them back,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s executive vice president for motion picture sales and distribution. The movie’s performance “exceeded expectations,” he said.
The Muppets starred on a weekly television show in the 1970s and early 1980s plus a series of films, the last being 1999’s “Muppets from Space.”
Critics loved the new Muppets movie, with 98 percent giving it a favorable review, according to aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences awarded an A rating on average, according to exit-polling firm CinemaScore. The movie cost about $45 million to produce.
In third place for the weekend, dancing penguin sequel “Happy Feet Two” earned $13.4 million over three days domestically during its second weekend in theaters and $18.4 million through five days.
Rounding out the top five were two other new family movies that critics adored.
Animated 3D movie “Arthur Christmas,” which cost about $98 million to produce, pulled in $12.7 million at domestic theaters over three days and $17 million in five days to finish in fourth place. The movie explains how Santa delivers presents around the world in one night and has earned $22.3 million overseas since opening two weeks ago.
Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Pictures, said the film “opened about where we hoped it would,” adding that he expected the Christmas theme would appeal throughout the holiday season.
“Hugo,” a 3D family movie, ended the weekend in fifth place with $11.4 million over three days and $15.4 million over five days. The movie centers on an orphan living in a Paris train station in the 1930s.
The film exceeded studio forecasts for its release in about 1,300 locations, far fewer than the 3,000-plus for the other widely released films, said Don Harris, president of domestic distribution for Paramount.
In a small number of theaters, “My Week with Marilyn,” starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, opened with $1.8 million from 244 screens from Friday through Sunday. Critics have praised Williams’ performance in the Weinstein Co. film and mentioned her as an Academy Award contender for the role.
Walt Disney Co released “The Muppets.” Privately held Summit Entertainment released “Breaking Dawn: Part 1.” “Arthur Christmas” was distributed by Sony, and “Hugo” was released by Paramount, a unit of Viacom Inc. Time Warner unit Warner Bros. distributed “Happy Feet Two.”
Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Bill Trott