Between limited releases and big studio launches, there are very few weekends where there isn’t something new out. But the weekend after Thanksgiving – much like the first weekend of a new year – is considered a dead spot. There’s already a vacuum created by the holiday weekend being over, people are likely recuperating from their families, and the only studio film being released (on nine screens) is Shame. The only possible benefit is to The Muppets, which may have enough goodwill to take the top spot from Breaking Dawn. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Breaking Dawn has already made half a billion worldwide. This happened in ten days. Likely it will not make as much in the rest of its run, but such is the modern box office. It may not make it to $300 million domestic, which the last two did, though it should be close to $250 Million by the end of the weekend. Next weekend offers two new films, so now it’s all about hanging out in theaters. The heat is off. The film should get to over $280 domestic, but if it does cross the $300 mark it’s because they wanted it to. As the production budget was supposedly $110 Million, the film is already over four times cost, so the end number is about pride at this point. But where it has had three weekends to make hay, the summer release of the last film meant that it could play against slightly less competition. By Christmas, this should be off a lot of screens.This weekend, expect a number around $15 Million.

The Muppets was well received, all things, so it’s possible that stragglers might come this weekend and give it a boost. Kids films can play long, though it’s possible that Arthur Christmas will keep playing into the holiday, and if people are going to a mall theater, Christmas may play along with the shopping. But Arthur doesn’t seem to have that traction, while Hugo - which opened on a little less than 1300 screens – is expanding and has been well reviewed so it’s going to have the better weekend hold. The Muppets should be in a good position to get close ifnot trump Breaking Dawn.

But it’s an off weekend. And that’s that, so let’s get to it:

  1. The Muppets - $14 Million
  2. Breaking Dawn - $13.9 Million
  3. Hugo – $10 Million
  4. Arthur Christmas – $6.5 Million
  5. Happy Feet Two – $5 Million

To win the weekend, Disney needs to keep it up with their television advertising. They would like The Muppets to return as a viable franchise, and the best way to prove that is if they can do over $100 Million domestically. The film was reasonably cheap, but the marketing push was not. It’s also possible that The Descendants could creep into the top five as it’s been doing stellar weekday business. The better it does, the stronger its Oscar chances.

What do you want to see this weekend?