Andrew Cooper
John Young
December 03, 2011 AT 07:06 PM EST

There’s just no stopping those Twihards. What was supposed to be a close race between The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 and The Muppets instead looks to be a comfortable victory for the vampire-human love story.

According to early estimates, Breaking Dawn — Part 1 grossed $5.5 million on Friday — a drop of 67 percent from last Friday. That may sound like a steep decline, and it is, but keep in mind that the weekend following the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is typically one of the slowest box-office frames of the year. Also, Breaking Dawn held up slightly better than The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which plummeted 71 percent on the same Friday in 2009. (Both movies were released on the same November weekend, making them especially appropriate to compare.) Breaking Dawn should finish the weekend with about $16 million.

Disney’s The Muppets took a harsher-than-expected fall, dropping 77 percent for $2.7 million on Friday. The PG-rated film may have been front-loaded thanks to nostalgic adults who rushed out to revisit their puppet friends last weekend. (Disney reported that 65 percent of the movie’s audience was over the age of 18.) The Muppets should rise a decent amount today as families head out to the multiplex, but even with a solid Friday-to-Saturday bump, the picture is heading for only $11 million this weekend. Still, that result will push its two-week total to $56 million — quite an accomplishment for a $45-million movie about a franchise that many considered dead.

In third place was Martin Scorsese’s 3-D adventure Hugo, which slid 56 percent for $2 million. The PG movie expanded from 1,277 to 1,840 theaters this weekend, which is why it held up a little better than the rest of the top five. Paramount plans to continue expanding the well-reviewed Oscar hopeful throughout the month, but the film has a long way to go before it can even make a dent in its $150-million to $170-million budget. So far, Hugo has grossed $19.6 million.

Sony’s animated holiday flick Arthur Christmas took fourth place, down 63 percent for $1.7 million. And Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill is, for reasons beyond my comprehension, still attracting some moviegoers. The comedy rounded out the top five with $1.6 million. Not far behind was The Descendants, which collected $1.4 million from just 574 locations. The Hawaiian dramedy, directed by Alexander Payne and starring George Clooney, has already made $14.3 million — and it’s just getting started. Finally, the NC-17 drama Shame, starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, debuted to a strong $110,000 at 10 theaters.

Check back on Sunday for the complete box office report.

1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 — $5.5 mil

2. The Muppets — $2.7 mil

3. Hugo — $2.0 mil

4. Arthur Christmas — $1.7 mil

5. Jack and Jill — $1.6 mil

6. The Descendants — $1.4 mil

Box office preview: Can The Muppets dethrone Twilight: Breaking Dawn?

You May Like