The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 led the box office for a third straight frame this weekend with an estimated $17.4 million. In the process the fifth and final installment of the blockbuster fantasy franchise surpassed the $250 million domestic mark, making it fifth release of 2012 to do so. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 has grossed $254.59 million through 17 days of release. That places the film 3 percent ahead of the $246.93 million 17-day take of last year's The Twilight Saga: Breaking dawn - Part 1 and just 0.3 percent behind the $255.36 million 17-day gross of 2009's The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Breaking Dawn - Part 1 fell 60 percent from last weekend's three-day frame, as the marketplace in general experienced typically large post-Thanksgiving weekend declines this weekend. In comparison, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 fell 60 percent in its third weekend of release to gross $16.54 million, while New Moon fell 64 percent in its third weekend to gross $15.43 million.
Breaking Dawn - Part 2 remained very strong internationally this weekend as it took in $48.8 million. The film has grossed $447.8 million to date internationally and a massive $702.4 million worldwide.
Skyfall finished in a very close second this weekend with an estimated $17.0 million, so it still has an outside chance of creeping into first place when actuals are released on Monday. The 23rd installment of the James Bond franchise fell 52 percent from last weekend's three-day performance. In comparison 2008's Quantum of Solace fell 64 percent to gross $6.75 million during the weekend after Thanksgiving weekend, while 2006's Casino Royale (in its third weekend instead of its fourth) fell 51 percent to gross $15.11 million during the frame after Thanksgiving weekend. Skyfall has grossed a terrific $246.03 million to date and will soon be joining Breaking Dawn - Part 2 on this year's list of films to have grossed at least $250 million domestically.
Lincoln and Rise of the Guardians find themselves in a very close battle for third place as both films are estimated at $13.5 million this weekend. Lincoln fell 47 percent from last weekend, while Rise of the Guardians fell just 43 percent as good word of mouth and the ongoing holiday season both helped the 3D computer animated film out this weekend. To date Lincoln has grossed a stronger than expected $83.70 million, while Rise of the Guardians is performing below expectations with a twelve-day start of $48.95 million.
On the international front Rise of the Guardians grossed $40 million this weekend from 55 foreign territories. That brings the film's international total to $57 million and worldwide haul to $105.9 million. The film's international performance is especially important given its domestic performance thus far. Key international debuts for Rise of the Guardians this weekend included $4.7 million in France, $3.7 million in Mexico, $3.1 million in Brazil, $3.1 million in Italy and $3.0 million in the United Kingdom.
Life of Pi rounded out this weekend's top five with an estimated $12.0 million. The Ang Lee directed 3D film was down 47 percent from last weekend's stronger than expected debut. After moving ahead of Rise of the Guardians during the midweek, Life of Pi has fallen slightly behind Rise of the Guardians again with a twelve-day take of $48.36 million, though it should be reminded that Rise of the Guardians was the heavy favorite between the two Thanksgiving weekend releases beforehand.
Internationally, Life of Pi grossed $21.5 million this weekend from just 11 foreign markets. The film's international total now stands at $61.1 million, bringing its worldwide haul to $109.5 million. Life of Pi grossed $11.0 million in China alone this weekend and has now grossed $38.5 million there to date.
It was a tough start for Killing Them Softly as the crime drama starring Brad Pitt debuted in sixth (tied with Disney's Wreck-It Ralph) with an estimated $7.0 million. That was below the film's modest pre-release expectations and gave The Weinstein Company release a per-location average of $2,888 from 2,424 locations. On top of the lackluster start, Killing Them Softly received an F rating on CinemaScore, which is obviously a very poor sign for the film's holding power going forward. Killing Them Softly delivered the lowest live-action debut ever for a Brad Pitt vehicle opening in at least 1,500 locations (his previous low under the same criteria being the $10.02 million start of 1997's Seven Years in Tibet in 2,103 locations).
The news was significantly better for The Weinstein Company with regard to Silver Linings Playbook. The awards season hopeful starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence took in an estimated $3.34 million from 371 locations, giving it a healthy per-location average of $9,005. The film was down just 24 percent from last weekend's three-day frame and has grossed $10.99 million to date.
The Collection just edged out Silver Linings Playbook for tenth place this weekend with an estimated debut of $3.41 million from 1,403 locations. The R-rated horror sequel from LD Entertainment opened just below the $3.58 million start of its predecessor, The Collector, back in the summer of 2009.
In other box office news, Warner's Argo crossed the $100 million domestic mark this weekend. The awards season hopeful starring and directed by Ben Affleck took in an estimated $2.03 million this weekend and has grossed $101.0 million to date.