It's one of the biggest movie weekends of the year - where else are you going to go after putting back those 5000+ calories? Three of my top 5 films of 2011 happen to be opening this weekend - all of them are simply stellar: 'The Muppets' (my take), 'My Week with Marilyn' (my take) and 'The Descendants' (my take). Here's the 5-day Thanksgiving Projector:
- The Muppets ($75M) - Disney has absolutely crushed it when it comes to marketing the return of the felt and fur things. From SNL to ABC to ESPN to tie-ins with a litany of companies (Alamo Car Rental anyone?) - you've been bombarded by Kermit and crew and that creates "awareness" which will equate to a massive, massive weekend that far exceeds what the average analyst expects. Another key: Gen-X parents will drag their little ones to the theater whether they want to go or not (see the success of 'The Lion King 3D'). All that and word of mouth will be insanely positive - it's truly brilliant.
- Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 ($62M) - Twilight flicks are more top-heavy than that guy at the gym that never does legs - they kill it opening weekend ($140M last weekend) and trail off on the quick. Just like 'Eclipse', this edition has its second weekend on Thanksgiving which will put 'Breaking Dawn' well over the $200M mark.
- Arthur Christmas ($36M) - As 'Happy Feet' learned last week - the CGI onslaught at the cinema that began with 'Puss' has audiences teetering on the edge of indifference. The only thing this has going for it is the fact that it's the first "Christmas movie" to hit theaters and folks may be ready to start celebrating early.
- Happy Feet Two ($34M) - Five days of kids out of school with nothing to do helps the little penguin drop a miniscule amount in its second weekend.
- Hugo ($18M) - Martin Scorsese providing the "high concept" family flick - frankly it's too "heady" to have the serious success that Paramount hopes for.
- The Descendants ($11M) - After a limited release last weekend - George Clooney's quite satisfying assembled-for-adults dramedy goes wide with the big benefit of being one of the few "mature audience" movies.
- also: My Week with Marilyn - Limited run on roughly 250 screens for one of my favorite films of 2011 - Michelle Williams is astonishing.