WINNERS OF THE WEEK: Leftovers. Just like that turkey carcass occupying most of your fridge, Thanksgiving leftovers refused to budge from the box office chart. This weekend’s top six movies were the same as last week’s: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (on top for the third straight week, with an estimated $17.4 million), followed by Skyfall ($17.0 million), Lincoln ($13.5 million), Rise of the Guardians (just $9,000 behind Lincoln), Life of Pi ($12.0 million), and Wreck-It Ralph ($7.0 million).
In fact, the only suspense was in whether Twilight or Skyfall would take the top spot. (As of Sunday, Twilight was ahead by just $410,000, so when final numbers come in Monday, Skyfall could still come out on top.) With $236.0 million earned over four weekends, Skyfall can at least boast the distinction of being far and away the highest domestic grosser in the James Bond franchise’s 50-year history.
LOSERS OF THE WEEK: Newcomers. The holiday season may not be the best time to open gritty crime dramas and ultraviolent horror flicks. Case in point: the underperforming noir Killing Them Softly, which opened at Number Seven with an estimated $7.0 million. Its failure would have landed softly, but for the fact that it stars one William Bradley Pitt, whose box office drawing power appears wildly unreliable for a star of his stature.
Also barely making an impact was The Collection, a star-free torture-porn chiller. A sequel to 2009’s The Collector, which opened with $3.6 million, the follow-up mustered just an estimated $3.4 million, barely cracking the top 10.
‘SILVER’ AND GOLD: Silver Linings Playbook isn’t a commercially conventional movie; it deals with mental illness, and it has a relentless, headlong pace that can be both energizing and exhausting to watch. Still, it has a lot of potential mainstream appeal, from a premise that involves two of America’s favorite pastimes (pro football and Dancing With the Stars-style ballroom competition) to a firing-on-all-cylinders cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Chris Tucker. Critics are touting it for awards, and audiences are certainly enjoying it; in its third weekend of release, it earned an estimated $9,005 per screen (the highest per-screen average of any movie in the top 30) and barely missed out on a top 10 finish (it’s just $68,000 behind The Collection, which is playing on four times as many screens). So why is the Weinstein Company dragging its feet over expanding the movie into wide release? It could have gone wide this weekend, but the distributor held back, leaving it on just 371 screens. Next week, with Playing for Keeps and Hyde Park on Hudson opening, the window for a smart grown-up dramedy like Silver may have already closed.