As expected, "The Twilight Saga: Toothy Caesarean Section" set the box office on fire this past weekend, nabbing the fifth best opening of all time and ensuring Kristen Stewart a lifetime supply of bangle bracelets and faded t-shirts. The movie also had an incredible per-theater average (impressive given that it opened on over 4,000 screens) and has already out-earned its $110 million budget. Take a look at its dominance for yourself (figures via Box Office Mojo).
1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 - $139.5M
2. Happy Feet Two - $22.0M
3. Immortals - $12.3M
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4. Jack and Jill - $12.0M
5. Puss In Boots - $10.7M
. Tower Heist - $5.9M
7. J. Edgar - $11.5M
8. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas - $2.9M
9. In Time - $1.7M
10. The Descendants - $1.2M
But this is "Twilight" we're talking about, which means that the inevitable critical drubbing hurt its standing in our little arbitrary movie formula. And just who is the cocky young upstart who has stolen the spotlight from Tyler Lautner and his abnormally thick neck? Why, it's that dapper ladyhound George Clooney, whose "The Descendants" played on a grand total of 29 screens (or .007% of the screens from "Breaking Dawn") and still grossed over a million bucks. That's an average of over $42K per screen, and it's why you're about to see it zoom to the top of our rankings.
1. The Descendants - 1,957
2. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 - 91
3. Paranormal Activity 3 - 56
4. Puss In Boots - 54
5. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas - 34
6. Tower Heist - 31 7. (tie) J. Edgar - 24 7. (tie) Immortals - 24
9. In Time - 4
10. (tie) Happy Feet Two - 1
10. (tie) Jack and Jill - 1
Despite its second place finish, it seems that "Happy Feet Two" is a substantial flop because of its $135 million budget and tepid reviews, perhaps signaling that the long reign of penguin-based films is at an end. Between this and "Mr. Popper's Penguins," it had been a terrible year for penguin futures. Soon, they will be sold for meat. Anyway, expect Clooney's film to have a long run on our chart as it expands to more theaters. It's perhaps the best-reviewed movie of 2011, and it wouldn't shock me if it became the one to beat at Oscar time. Lord knows Alexander Payne deserves the recognition.