As expected, weekend moviegoers were unable to resist the lure of headboard-shattering vampire sex.
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1” easily opened in the No. 1 spot at the weekend box office, raking in an impressive $139.5 million in North America..
That put the film in second place in terms of “Twilight” openings; “New Moon,” the second film in the franchise and the first one to introduce us to the charms of Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) sans shirt, opened with $142.8 million in North America around the same time in 2009.
In foreign markets, the Bella and Edward Consummation Story made $144 million, a stronger initial showing overseas than other “Twilight” films have managed. That showing was no doubt helped by the fact that, as the Associated Press reports, it opened in a sizable 54 markets outside the United States and Canada.
How does “Breaking Dawn” rank in terms of 2011 box office openings? Did it — gasp — make more money than “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” parts 1 or 2?
“Breaking Dawn’s” strong debut shoots it right into the No. 16 spot on the list of top grossing films of 2011, according to Box Office Mojo. Its opening is the year’s second biggest to date, right behind “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” which earned $169.1 million in its first weekend (but $314 million overseas) and ahead of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” which smashed its way to $97.8 million in week one.
Interestingly, though, “Breaking Dawn” earned more in its first weekend than “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” ($125 million) when it opened around this time last year. Since “Twilight’s” approach to its last chapter mimics that of “Harry Potter” — the final books in both the Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling series were split into two films — this suggests that, perhaps, “Breaking Dawn Part 2” will outgross “Deathly Hallows Part 2.” You know, unless the Hogwarts contingent puts some sort of spell on the Twi-hards and prevents this from happening. (Try waving your wands and saying, “Expecto Renesmee,” just to see what happens.)
Of course, we’ll have to wait until next November, when the final “Twilight” picture will be released, before we can know for sure. Some things we do know for sure based on this weekends’s other box office results:
— George Clooney’s “The Descendants” opened on few screens (just 29) but still landed in the top 10 with $1.2 million, suggesting it has revenue potential as well as Oscar potential.
Will “Breaking Dawn” follow-up this weekend’s win with another triumph over the Thanksgiving holiday? Or will vampires be foiled, as they often are, by Muppets? Vote in the poll below to make your prediction, after you peruse this list of the weekend’s top 10 movies.
1. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1”: $139.5 million
2. “Happy Feet Two”: $22 million.
3. “Immortals”: $12.3 million.
4. “Jack and Jill”: $12 million.
5. “Puss in Boots”: $10.7 million
6. “Tower Heist”: $7 million
7. “J. Edgar”: $5.9 million.
8. “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas”: $2.9 million.
9. “In Time”: $1.7 million.
10. “The Descendants”: $1.2 million.