Disney’s family film “The Muppets,” combining puppet animation with live action, raised $42 million over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend to open in second place at the North American box office.
The CG-enhanced The Muppets made $29.5 million over the three-day weekend in its first big-screen appearance in 12 years. Meanwhile, the live-action The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 stayed at No. 1 in its second weekend, collecting $42 million in three days and $62.3 million from Wednesday to Sunday.
“I don’t know that choice is ever a bad thing, and in terms of a weekend for families, this is one of the best,” said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney. “The challenge is breaking through and being relevant and meaningful and fresh enough to take the more finicky customers and have them choose you.”
According to Disney, The Muppets attracted a mix of families and childless couples who have fond memories of Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest on The Muppet Show. The movie has made an additional $1.6 million internationally.
Wholly animated family films were in third and fourth place.
In its second weekend, Warner Bros.’ Happy Feet Two had a three-day total of $13.4 million and a five-day collection of $18.4 million for five days. Its Oscar-winning predecessor brought in almost $200 million domestically. The sequel has made only $43.8 million since its November 18 opening, barely equal to the opening-weekend gross of the 2006 original.
Previously released in Europe, Sony’s comedy Arthur Christmas opened in North America with $12.7 million over three days and $17 million over five. It was produced by British animation unit Aardman and has enjoyed positive reviews. Internationally, it’s made another $11.9 million.
“To have the one picture that really is kind of carrying the torch as a Christmas picture really bodes well for the future,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s head of distribution.
In eighth place was DreamWorks’ Shrek spin-off Puss In Boots with $7.5 million ($9 million internationally).
Between Wednesday and Sunday, domestic revenue was $234 million — far below the $273 million record set in 2009, when The Twilight Saga: New Moon led the box office. As well, takings fell below last Thanksgiving, when $264 million was collected, thanks in part to the No. 1 performance of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
Ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at United States and Canadian theaters, were estimated by Hollywood.com. Final domestic figures are set for release Monday.
[Via Associated Press -- news.yahoo.com/twilight-keeps-shining-42m-second-weekend-174915455.html]