Vampires foil Tooth Fairy, Santa to claim box office win
(Reuters) - Teen vampire film "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" continued to take a bite out of the domestic box office, drawing $64 million in ticket sales over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend to finish ahead of James Bond film "Skyfall."
After opening with a massive $141.1 million last weekend, the finale of the "Twilight" franchise brought in a holiday swarm of fans to see teen favorites Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, pushing "Breaking Dawn" to $227 million in total domestic ticket sales.
"Skyfall," starring Daniel Craig in the 23rd installment of the James Bond franchise, finished second, collecting $51 million in weekend ticket sales in the United States and Canada, according to studio estimates compiled by the box office division of Hollywood.com.
"Lincoln," Steven Spielberg's historical film on the last days of President Abraham Lincoln, grabbed third with $34.1 million over the Wednesday-through-Sunday period.
Making its debut in fourth place with $32.6 million was the animated film "Rise of the Guardians," featuring the voices of Chris Pine and Alec Baldwin as the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and other childhood favorites who save the world.
"Life of Pi," based on Yann Martel's 2001 best-seller about a boy who survives on a raft with a tiger after his ship sinks, collected $30.15 million for a strong fifth-place finish.
"Rise of the Guardians," produced by Dreamworks Animation for roughly $145 million, had been projected by distributor Paramount Pictures to gross $35 million in its first five days, according to Box Office Mojo.
Based on "The Guardians of Childhood" book series by children's author William Joyce, the film will be the last Paramount will release for Dreamworks, whose films will be distributed next year by News Corp's Fox studio.
Anne Globe, Dreamworks' chief marketing officer, pointed to "the great parent reactions we've seen" to the film, and noting it was among the few choices for families through the end of year, said the studio was "hoping for very long legs through the holidays."
The Ang Li film "Life of Pi," on the other hand, performed stronger than expected. "We clearly exceeded our pre-release expectations," said Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution for 20th Century Fox.
"We're seeing word of mouth in action, and a remarkably balanced demographic," including strong ticket sales among those under 25, he said, adding "Many felt it was impossible to film, but Ang Li pulled it off."
The remake of the 1984 Cold War film "Red Dawn," finished seventh with $22 million in sales, behind animated feature "Wreck It Ralph"'s $23 million take.
"Red Dawn" arrived at movie theaters four years after it was shot by MGM, but was delayed when the studio filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Last year, MGM decided to digitally alter the villains in the movie, inserting North Koreans instead of Chinese, after Hollywood began courting Chinese companies to help finance its films.
Propelled by the vampires, secret agents, presidents and nursery school favorites, Hollywood ticket sales totaled $290 million for the holiday weekend, beating the holiday weekend high mark of $273 million recorded in 2009. Hollywood studios often release their biggest holiday films on Wednesday to take advantage of school breaks the day before Thanksgiving.
The continued rush of fans to see teen favorites Pattinson, Stewart and Lautner pushed the "Twilight" installment to $227 million in total domestic ticket sales, making it the year's sixth-largest, according to figures compiled by Box Office Mojo.
"Skyfall" with $221.7 million is just behind at number seven, while the year's box office champ remains "Marvel's The Avengers," which has taken in $623 million to date.
(Reporting By Ronald Grover)