New Year's Eve led the way this weekend, but opened well below expectations in the process.

Soft Starts for ‘New Year’s Eve’ and ‘The Sitter’

on December 12, 2011 by Daniel Garris

Warner's New Year's Eve debuted in first this weekend, but did so with a much softer than expected $13.02 million. The ensemble romantic comedy directed by Garry Marshall was unable to deliver anywhere near the type of opening weekend impact Marshall's Valentine's Day delivered in February of 2010. Instead, New Year's Eve opened much more in line with the $12.78 million start of 2006's The Holiday. That film held up well throughout the month of December and New Year's Eve will now hope to do the same as the New Year's holiday approaches. However, at the same time the fact that New Year's Eve only generated an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.59 to 1 this weekend isn't the most promising sign going forward.

New Year's Eve was relatively stronger internationally this weekend, where it grossed $12.75 million from 36 international markets. Key grosses included $2.7 million in Australia, $2.0 million in the United Kingdom and $1.8 million in Germany.

Fox's The Sitter took second place with $9.85 million. While that performance was on the low end of expectations in its own right, the Jonah Hill comedy vehicle was unexpectedly within shouting distance of New Year's Eve for first place this weekend. It should also be noted that The Sitter was significantly less expensive than New Year's Eve. The Sitter opened in the same neighbor as the $9.36 million start of this year's Your Highness (which was also directed by David Gordon Green). Going forward The Sitter should be able to hold up better than Your Highness thanks in large part to stronger holiday season midweek business, though so-so word of mouth and this year's strong Christmas line-up certainty won't help the film's potential holding power either.

After leading the box office for three straight weeks, Summit's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 dropped to third this weekend with $7.82 million. The blockbuster fantasy sequel fell 53 percent from last weekend, as the under-performance of this weekend's two wide releases didn't help matters for the film. While its run is now starting to approach its end, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 has grossed a massive $259.40 million through 24 days of release, placing it 3 percent behind the pace of 2009's The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Internationally, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 grossed $19.8 million from 73 markets this weekend. That places the film's international total at $374.0 million and worldwide total at $633.4 million.

Family fare occupied positions four through six this weekend, with Sony's Arthur Christmas and Paramout's Hugo continuing to close the percentage gap between themselves and Disney's The Muppets. The Muppets fell 37 percent and two spots from last weekend to take fourth with $6.98 million. Arthur Christmas was down one spot and a terrific 12 percent from last weekend to claim fifth with $33.40 million. Hugo fell just 20 percent (thanks in part to expanding into an additional 768 locations), but was down three spots to finish in sixth with $6.05 million. Respective 19-day totals stand at $65.74 million for The Muppets, at $33.40 million for Arthur Christmas and at $33.41 million for Hugo. It should be noted that The Muppets had the smallest price tag of the three, while Hugo had the largest.

Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy was off to a very strong platform start with $310,562 from four locations in New York and Los Angeles. The awards season hopeful starring Gary Oldman delivered a per-location average of $77,641. Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy will expand into additional markets this coming Friday and then again on Friday, December 23.

Meanwhile, Paramount's Young Adult was off to a very solid platform start with $310,263 from eight locations (in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Minneapolis). The Jason Reitman directed film starring Charlize Theron earned a per-location average of $38,783. Young Adult will be playing in an estimated 1,000 locations beginning on Friday.

Follow @DanielBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional box office updates.

Tags: Young Adult, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Hugo, Arthur Christmas, The Muppets, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, The Sitter, New Year's Eve

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