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Box office preview: 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn' debuts

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Breaking Dawn Pregnant
Andrew Cooper

It’s that time again, when box-office prognosticators consider a new Twilight movie, throw their hands up in the air, and take a wild guess at what the movie will gross.

Okay, not a completely wild guess — it seems reasonable to think The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 will open somewhere in between $140 million and $155 million. But as the famous William Goldman saying goes, when it comes to Hollywood, nobody knows anything. With that said, here’s my attempt to predict the results of Breaking Dawn, Happy Feet Two, and the rest of the top five:

1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1: $148 million

First things first: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2‘s trio of records — midnight debut of $43.5 million, opening day of $91.1 million, and opening weekend of $169.2 million — should remain safe for now. (Next year’s Breaking Dawn — Part 2, not to mention The Dark Knight Rises, will have a better shot at taking a bite out of those records.)

Instead, this first Breaking Dawn entry will be looking to set new benchmarks for the Twilight franchise. The series’ best opening weekend so far came from The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which debuted to $142.8 million (including a $72.7 million opening day) on the same November weekend two years ago. With this new movie marking the “beginning of the end,” interest among Twihards should be higher than ever. Fandango is reporting that Breaking Dawn has already sold out more than 3,500 showtimes, and that the PG-13 film is accounting for 95 percent of the online service’s daily ticket sales.

Out of Breaking Dawn‘s 4,061 theaters this weekend, at least 3,250 of them will be screening it at midnight tonight. That should provide the $110 million movie with a monster start and give it enough fuel to reach around $150 million by Sunday night. The film is so far receiving the franchise’s worst reviews, but that won’t matter at all to the Twilight fan base. The Twihards haven’t had a movie meal in more than a year, and they’re mighty hungry.

2. Happy Feet Two: $39 million

The first Happy Feet, an Oscar winner for best animated feature, opened to $41.5 million on the same November weekend five years ago. It’ll be hurt a bit going up against a behemoth like Breaking Dawn, and the $135 million dancing-penguin sequel will also have to contend with the stupendous stamina of Puss in Boots. Furthermore, Happy Feet Two is earning reviews that are far less glowing than those for the original movie.

Still, the movie will benefit from those 3-D surcharges (at 2,800 theaters out of a total of 3,606 locations). And this will be the movie of choice for families with kids who are too young for Twilight and/or have already seen Puss in Boots. Look for Happy Feet Two to debut just a tad below its predecessor.

3. Immortals: $14 million

This 3-D action spectacle did have a solid $32.2 million debut last week, but those vampires and werewolves are ravenous creatures, so figure about a 55 percent drop here.

4. Puss in Boots: $13 million

After three weeks of having the family-film market all to itself, Happy Feet Two will finally steal away much of this fractured fairy tale’s audience. I expect a 47 percent decline.

5. Jack and Jill: $12 million

Adam Sandler’s comedies usually fall roughly 50 percent their second weekend. Jack and Jill shouldn’t fare any differently.

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