‘Twilight’ Leads Box Office for 3rd Weekend at $17.4 Million

Photographer: Doane Gregory/Summit Entertainment, LLC via Bloomberg

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart as Edward and Bella in director Bill Condon's "The Twilight Saga - Breaking Dawn: Part 2." Close

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Photographer: Doane Gregory/Summit Entertainment, LLC via Bloomberg

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart as Edward and Bella in director Bill Condon's "The Twilight Saga - Breaking Dawn: Part 2."

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2,” the finale of the teen vampire movies, led U.S. and Canadian ticket sales for a third weekend, outselling fellow holdovers “Skyfall” and “Lincoln.”

The last of the five films in the series from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF) collected $17.4 million, Hollywood.com Box- Office said in an e-mail. “Twilight” has now taken in $254.6 million in domestic sales.

“Twilight” and the other returning films exploited a post-Thanksgiving lull in big releases to remain atop the box- office standings. “Skyfall,” the latest Bond film from Sony Corp. (6758) and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., followed in second place with $17 million while “Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg’s Oscar contender, earned $13.51 million for third. Each reached a distinct audience niche, helping to buoy sales.

“There are no major releases this week or next, so some of the top films we’re seeing right now in the marketplace will continue to play well until we get some new product,” Paul Sweeney, a Bloomberg Industries analyst, said in a telephone interview. “The next most anticipated film is ‘The Hobbit.’ Given how well the other films in that series have performed globally, there’s great anticipation for the next installment.”

‘Hobbit,’ ‘Miserables’

The holiday release schedule picks up with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” from Time Warner Inc. (TWX) and MGM on Dec. 14, Sony’s “Zero Dark Thirty” on Dec. 19 and “Les Miserables” from Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s Universal Pictures on Christmas Day.

The U.S. box office may surpass $10.8 billion to set a record this year, projects Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com’s box office unit. Last year’s sales totaled $10.2 billion. Revenue has risen 6 percent to $9.90 billion to date this year, according to the researcher.

“We’re going to see revenue in the theatrical window that is bigger than it ever was,” Rob Friedman, co-chairman of Lions Gate’s motion picture group, said on Nov. 28, speaking on a panel at the University of Southern California’s film school in Los Angeles.

The five “Twilight” pictures have taken in $1.3 billion to date in domestic theaters, according to Box Office Mojo, ranking in eighth place all time among film franchises.

Among other returning titles, second place’s “Skyfall” has grossed $850 million to date in worldwide sales, making it the best-performing film in the long-running secret agent series, according to Box Office Mojo.

Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’

“Lincoln,” Spielberg’s examination of the 16th U.S. president’s political campaign to end slavery, was produced by the director’s DreamWorks Studios and is being distributed by Walt Disney Co. (DIS)

“I don’t think ‘Lincoln’ will go to No. 1,” Sweeney said. “I don’t think it has the mass appeal that some other films do, but it’s really well reviewed and benefitting from word of mouth.”

“Rise of the Guardians” remained in fourth with $13.5 million, Hollywood.com said.

The 3-D picture, one of two releases this year from Glendale, California-based DreamWorks Animation, missed estimates last week in its debut.

“It’s been a little soft for DreamWorks,” Sweeney said. “Once kids get out of school I think we’ll see some good numbers coming out for that film as well.”

Oscar Contender

“Life of Pi,” from “Brokeback Mountain” director Ang Lee, is another Oscar contender. It had sales of $12 million for Twentieth Century Fox, landing it in fifth place, in line with last week. The fantasy adventure features Suraj Sharma as a young man who survives a disaster at sea and finds himself sharing a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.

“Killing Them Softly,” Weinstein Co.’s dark comedy starring Brad Pitt, led new releases with $7 million in revenue, for seventh place overall. Pitt plays an enforcer hired to track down thieves who rob a mob card game. Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini co-star in the movie, which earned a 79 percent positive rating from critics at Rottentomatoes.com.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films rose 46.1 percent to $107.5 million from a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Domestic film attendance has climbed 6 percent this year.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales from Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and estimates for yesterday.

                      *Rev.            *Avg./  *Pct.  Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
================================================================
 1 TWILIGHT SAGA     $17.4    4,008   $4,344   -60   $254.6    3
 2 SKYFALL            17.0    3,463    4,909   -52    246.0    4
 3 LINCOLN            13.51   2,018    6,694   -47     83.7    4
 4 RISE OF GUARDIANS  13.5    3,672    3,676   -43     48.9    2
 5 LIFE OF PI (3-D)   12.0    2,928    4,098   -47     48.4    2
 6 WRECK-IT RALPH      7.02   3,087    2,274   -58    158.3    5
 7 KILLIN THEM SOFTLY  7.0    2,424    2,888    --      7.0    1
 8 RED DAWN            6.6    2,781    2,355   -54     31.3    2
 9 FLIGHT              4.5    2,603    1,744   -46     81.5    5
10 COLLECTION, THE     3.4    1,403    2,430    --      3.4    1
11 SILVER LININGS      3.3      371    9,005   -24     11.0    3
12 ANNA KARENINA       2.2      384    5,806   149      4.1    3

*Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $107.5        $73.6       +46.1

Year-to-date Revenue

     2012          2011
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $9,909        $9,357       +6.0

Year-to-date Attendance:     +6.0

*Weekend totals, average per theater, percent change and top 12
film grosses reflect Friday to Sunday totals only.

To contact the reporters on this story: Anthony Palazzo in Los Angeles at apalazzo@bloomberg.net; Krista Giovacco in New York at kgiovacco1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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