box office, twilight, bond, lincoln

Twilight, Bond, Lincoln lead record box office weekend

Bella Swan, James Bond and Abe Lincoln have combined to lift Hollywood to record (American Thanksgiving) revenue at the box office.

Kristen Stewart's finale as Bella in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 was number one again with $64 million during the five-day holiday stretch that began Wednesday, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Daniel Craig's Bond adventure Skyfall came in at number two with $51 million, while Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg's Civil War saga Lincoln finished third with $34.1 million.

According to box-office tracker, the three films paced Hollywood to an all-time Thanksgiving week best of about $290 million from Wednesday to Sunday.

That tops the previous record of $273 million over Thanksgiving in 2009, when The Twilight Saga: New Moon led the weekend.

This U.S. Thanksgiving also was a huge 25 percent jump from a year ago, when domestic revenues were a weak $232 million as some big holiday releases fizzled.

With a strong December lineup ahead, Hollywood has resumed its record revenue pace for the year after a brief box-office lull in late summer and early fall.

Domestic revenues for 2012 are at $9.75 billion, putting Hollywood potentially on track for its first $11 billion year, which would beat the 2009 record of $10.6 billion, said analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

"We're barreling toward a record-breaking box-office year," Dergarabedian said. "It's built on the back of just a lot of really strong movies that have come out over the past few weekends. It bodes very well for the rest of the holidays."

The Twilight finale, Skyfall and Lincoln finished in the same top-three rankings for the second-straight weekend as new releases were unable to dislodge the holdovers.

Released by Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment banner, Breaking Dawn - Part 2, pulled in $43.1 million from Friday to Sunday, raising its domestic total to $227 million. The movie added $97.4 million overseas to bring its international total to $350.8 million and its worldwide take to $577.7 million.

Sony's Skyfall also topped $200 million domestically, ringing up $36 million for the three-day weekend to put its U.S. total at $221.7 million. With $41.3 million more overseas, Skyfall raised its international revenues to $568.4 million and its worldwide sales to $790.1 million.

Lincoln, a DreamWorks film distributed by Disney, took in $25 million over the weekend to lift its domestic revenue to $62.2 million.

Leading the newcomers was Paramount and DreamWorks Animation's tale Rise of the Guardians at number four with $24 million for the weekend and $32.6 million since opening Wednesday.

Based on William Joyce's "Guardians of Childhood" books, Rise of the Guardians gathers Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and other mythical beings as a team of heroes battling an evil overlord.

Close behind at number five was director Ang Lee's shipwreck saga Life of Pi with $22 million over the weekend. The 20th Century Fox release has taken in $30.2 million domestically since its Wednesday debut and added $17.5 million in four Asian markets.

Life of Pi was adapted from Yann Martel's best-selling novel about an Indian youth (Suraj Sharma) adrift on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. Many fans considered the introspective novel impossible to film, but Lee has charmed audiences and critics with an inspiring survival story told through dazzling 3-D images.

The weekend's other new wide release, a remake of the 1980s U.S.-invasion tale Red Dawn, opened in seventh place with $14.6 million, raising its total to $22 million since debuting Wednesday.

Red Dawn sat on the shelf for three years while studio backer MGM went through bankruptcy, with distributor FilmDistrict eventually picking it up for domestic release. The movie's cast includes Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) in a story of young guerrillas battling North Korean invaders.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight's Hitchcock opened solidly with about $300,000 in 17 theatres. The movie stars Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock in a behind-the-scenes story of the making of Psycho.

The weekend's overall strength came from a broad range of films that clicked with various audiences, from action and family fare to thoughtful drama.

"This is a marketplace that has something for everyone," said Chris Aronson, head of distribution for 20th Century Fox. "You have something deeper like Life of Pi, yet you have a very successful sequel in Twilight at the same time. Adult bio-drama, if you will, in Lincoln, and you have Bond. That's the secret to a very successful and balanced marketplace."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Where available, latest international numbers are also included.

North American Top Ten

1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, $43.1 million ($97.4 million international).
2. Skyfall, $36 million ($41.3 million international).
3. Lincoln, $25 million.
4. Rise of the Guardians, $24 million ($10 million international).
5. Life of Pi, $22 million ($17.5 million international)
6. Wreck-It Ralph, $16.8 million ($2.1 million international).
7. Red Dawn, $14.6 million.
8. Flight, $8.6 million ($723,000 international).
9. Silver Linings Playbook, $4.6 million ($1.6 million international).
10. Argo, $3.9 million ($6 million international).

-The Associated Press

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