Record-breaking weekend for Hollywood

Twilight spearheaded a record-breaking Thanksgiving weekend at the US box office. Photo/AP
Twilight spearheaded a record-breaking Thanksgiving weekend at the US box office. Photo/AP

Bella Swan, James Bond and Abe Lincoln have combined to lift Hollywood to record Thanksgiving takings at the box office.

Kristen Stewart's finale as Bella in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 was No.1 for its second straight week with US$64 million (A$61.93 million) during the five-day American holiday stretch that began on Wednesday (local time).

Daniel Craig's Bond adventure Skyfall came in at No.2 with US$51 million, while Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg's Civil War saga Lincoln finished third with US$34.1 million.

According to box-office tracker Hollywood.com, the three films paced Hollywood to an all-time Thanksgiving week best of about US$290 million from Wednesday to Sunday.

That tops the previous record of US$273 million over Thanksgiving in 2009, when The Twilight Saga: New Moon led the weekend.

This Thanksgiving takings were also 25 per cent up on a year ago, when US revenues were a weak US$232 million as some big holiday releases fizzled.

With a strong December line-up ahead, Hollywood has resumed its record revenue pace for the year after a brief box-office lull in the late (northern) summer and early autumn.

Domestic revenues for 2012 are at US$9.75 billion, putting Hollywood potentially on track for its first US$11 billion year, which would beat the 2009 record of US$10.6 billion, said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

"We're barrelling toward a record-breaking box-office year," Dergarabedian said. "It's built on the back of just a lot of really strong movies that have come out over the past few weekends. It bodes very well for the rest of the holidays."

The Twilight finale, Skyfall and Lincoln finished in the same top-three rankings for the second-straight weekend as new releases were unable to dislodge the holdovers.

Released by Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment banner, Breaking Dawn - Part 2, pulled in US$43.1 million from Friday to Sunday, raising its domestic total to US$227 million.

The movie added US$97.4 million overseas to bring its international total to US$350.8 million and its worldwide take to US$577.7 million.

Sony's Skyfall also topped US$200 million domestically, ringing up US$36 million for the three-day weekend to put its US total at US$221.7 million. With US$41.3 million more overseas, Skyfall raised its international revenues to US$568.4 million and its worldwide sales to US$790.1 million.

Lincoln, a DreamWorks film distributed by Disney, took in US$25 million over the weekend to lift its domestic revenue to US$62.2 million.

Leading the newcomers was Paramount and DreamWorks Animation's tale Rise of the Guardians at No.4 with US$24 million for the weekend and US$32.6 million since opening on Wednesday.

Based on William Joyce's Guardians of Childhood books, Rise of the Guardians gathers Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and other mythical beings as a team of heroes battling an evil overlord.

Close behind at No. 5 was director Ang Lee's shipwreck saga Life of Pi at No. 5 with $22 million over the weekend. The 20th Century Fox release has taken in $30.2 million domestically since its Wednesday debut and added $17.5 million in four Asian markets.

Life of Pi was adapted from Yann Martel's best-selling novel about an Indian youth adrift on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. Many fans considered the introspective novel impossible to film, but Lee has charmed audiences and critics with an inspiring survival story told through dazzling 3D images.

The weekend's other new wide release, a remake of the 1980s US-invasion tale Red Dawn, opened at No.7 with US$14.6 million, raising its total to US$22 million since debuting on Wednesday.

Red Dawn sat on the shelf for three years while studio backer MGM went through bankruptcy, with distributor FilmDistrict eventually picking it up for domestic release.

The movie's cast includes Australian actor Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) in a story of young guerrillas battling North Korean invaders.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight's Hitchcock opened solidly with about US$300,000 in 17 theatres. The movie stars Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock in a behind-the-scenes story of the making of Psycho.

The weekend's overall strength came from a broad range of films that clicked with various audiences, from action and family fare to thoughtful drama.

"This is a marketplace that has something for everyone," said Chris Aronson, head of distribution for 20th Century Fox. "You have something deeper like Life of Pi, yet you have a very successful sequel in Twilight at the same time. Adult bio-drama, if you will, in Lincoln, and you have Bond. That's the secret to a very successful and balanced marketplace."

Box-office top 10

Estimated ticket sales are for Friday through to Sunday at US and Canadian theatres, according to Hollywood.com.

1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, US$43.1 million (A$41.71 million)

2. Skyfall, US$36 million

3. Lincoln, US$25 million

4. Rise of the Guardians, US$24 million

5. Life of Pi, US$22 million

6. Wreck-It Ralph, US$16.8 million

7. Red Dawn, US$14.6 million

8. Flight, US$8.6 million

9. Silver Linings Playbook, US$4.6 million

10. Argo, US$3.9 million

- AP

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