Box Office Preview: Can 'Twilight' hold off 'Four Christmases' and 'Australia'?

The movies’ annual rite of gluttony, Thanksgiving weekend, is here, and three new wide releases — Four Christmases, Australia, and Transporter 3 — are stuffing multiplexes starting today. But can they wrest that bloody box office crown away from returning champ Twilight? We’ll see. Here are my picks for the films that will end the five-day frame triumphant…and who’ll be the turkeys. (And remember: The following predictions are for the full Wednesday-through-Sunday span.) Gobble, gobble!

1. Twilight — $43 million
Oh, please, like there was any doubt that it would be No. 1. Certainly, if this weren’t a holiday weekend, I’d argue that Twilight has some cause for concern. Why? Well, following its huge first-day gross of $36 mil, the adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s vampire-romance saga actually underperformed a tad over the rest of the weekend, banking a good but very mortal $12.4 mil on Sunday (ergo, its final premiere sum was $69.6 mil, down from the initial $70.6 mil estimate). So it’s fair to conclude that most folks weren’t necessarily going back to see the movie multiple times, and that, in turn, portends a more ordinary box office run from here on out. But, again, as I just wrote, it’s a holiday weekend, kids will be out of school, people will be bored and tired of eating leftovers, and I’d bet that by Sunday the movie will get some repeat viewers after all, if not several new ones. In many ways, Twilight‘s young-woman demographics match those of Enchanted, which played incredibly well through Thanksgiving last year.

2. Four Christmases — $29 million
Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon (pictured) star in 2008’s obligatory holiday domestic comedy, featuring five Academy Award winners (Witherspoon, Sissy Spacek, Jon Voight, Mary Steenburgen, and Robert Duvall) — not to mention the great Dwight Yoakam. Vaughn’s box office prowess is a little up in the air following Fred Claus‘ mixed bag of a run a year ago (the film opened with a disappointing $18.5 mil, but then held on very well, ultimately banking $72 mil domestically). And Witherspoon, whose last big release, Rendition, tanked, is one of those actors whom I’ve always doubted as truly a major draw (for more on that, see “Kidman, Nicole,” a few paragraphs hence). But you know what? None of this matters! It’s simple: The word “Christmas” is in this movie’s title and few other things in filmdom are stronger catnip for cinemagoers.

3. Transporter 3 — $27 million
As my colleague who sits in the next office (and who shall remain nameless because a photograph of a shirtless Jason Statham covers the name plate on her door) can tell you, nothing says “Yummy!” on Thanksgiving like the English action star. I’ll take her word for it. No doubt, a lot of ticket buyers will, too.

4. Bolt — $26 million
That it opened just out of second place, with $26.2 mil, may not matter much for the Disney cartoon — not if it sports the long legs that animated family films at this time of year (e.g. Happy Feet, The Polar Express) tend to boast.

5. Quantum of Solace — $23 million
Daniel Craig’s second outing as James Bond dropped a steep but expected 60 percent last weekend against stiff competition and under the weight of middling reviews and weak word of mouth. Thanksgiving should help give it a small boost, but Quantum of Solace (gross to date: $111 mil) could have a hard time matching Casino Royale‘s $167.4 mil domestic take, the most ever for a 007 flick.


Australia — $22 million
As I hinted earlier, Nicole Kidman isn’t likely to help this epic romance from director Baz Luhrmann pull in viewers. She’s a big celebrity and a good actor, of course, but Kidman has failed time and again to prove that she’s very bankable. Truly, several of her recent endeavors have been high-profile flubs (The Stepford Wives, Bewitched, The Invasion, even the indies Fur and Birth), and her biggest success as a lead actress is probably 2001’s The Others, which cashed out at $96.5 mil nearly a decade ago. Meanwhile, her costar, Sexiest Man Alive Hugh Jackman, one of my favorite movie performers, may have been featured in the hit X-Men series, but he, too, hasn’t had much success on his own (The Fountain? Deception? Um, no). And it’s hard to imagine that Luhrmann’s name is enough to draw a crowd; this is just his fourth feature film, and first since 2001’s Oscar nominated-yet-polarizing Moulin Rouge. On a weekend with at least two other female-baiting flicks (and Jason Statham’s abs), Australia could struggle to be a major contender.

More Box Office News:
Twilight sinks its teeth into a blockbuster debut
Twilight grosses $35.7 mil on Friday
Quantum of Solace Stirs up a Win

Holiday Films to Receive Season’s Greetings, Beatings

Madagascar 2: Box Office No. 1


Comments (85 total) Add your comment
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  • JenB

    I think you’re dead wrong on Australia. At least that it would make even 22million. I think the movie is more likely to make about 10. I don’t know a single soul, including middle aged women who would be the best bets, who have an interest in the film. Kidman is a MAJOR turnoff nowadays. She’s not kidding anyone when she says she hasn’t had botox.She has no facial expressions,that won’t translate.
    As for the rest: Twilight yes will be number 1. I know many people(adults) who avoided it the first weekend because of the teens, and are planning on seeing it this weekend(my adult self included). That will keep it at number one, and your total is probably close to correct.
    2. Bolt-Kid flick, bigger appeal then Vince Vaughn, let me tell you.
    3) Toss up-could go in either direction of Quantum or Four Christmases. Depending on people’s moods. But probably Four Christmases. People want humor right now in these crappy times.
    But like I said, no way will Australia pull in that much.

  • moviefan

    Of the six movies listed, the only one I want to see is Australia

  • tigerlil

    I too was waiting for the screaming teen audience to die down a bit so I could hear the movie – looking forward to seeing it this weekend.

  • Anonymous

    i saw a midnight showing of twilight last thursday, and have had plans since then to see it again this friday. i got the worst seats possible (front row!) for my first viewing, and was sitting near some very exuberant teens (i.e. loud and obnoxious), so i can’t wait to enjoy it in a more relaxed setting on friday. count me and the two others i’m going with as repeat viewers! let’s make twilight number 1 again, guys!

  • Alyssa

    I officially think you guys get paid to promote Twilight now. Sick, you guys are a partnership with WB, and they own Harry Potter. I dont however speaking of Harry Potter since you like to compare the two think that Twilight will ever sum up to Harry Potter. As for this weekend I plan on seeing Four Christmases and Australia. I give up listening to the stupid press. You guys fall for everything and know nothing.

  • Aimee

    Forget all these movies. Going to see MILK!

  • Ceballos

    So, “Fred Claus” made $72 million? Isn’t anyone else completely floored by this?!

  • Mikey M

    Anyone who goes and see 4 Christmases deserves what they get.
    It looks horrible.
    They trying to get the people in there that laugh at According to Jim and are avid viewers of Dancing with the Stars?

  • To Alyssa

    Although I would normally agree with you about the media, in this case the media was following public demand. EW also does this with other pop culture phenoms like American Idol, because that’s their business. I picked up Twilight for my oldest daughter a year ago, since then, I have read it, my youngest has read it, and my best friend has read it. Then my youngest had two of her friends read it, and my oldest had one of her friends read it. Oh, and my neice too. That’s eight people reading one book. You have no idea how big Twilight is- go look on youtube and see all the fan- made trailers of the movie with dream casts. Look on IMDB and see how many people post on the Twilight board. Give me Twilight over what Paris Hilton is doing ANYDAY.

  • SuperTrooper

    I agree on the comment about EW promoting Twilight. I beg you please! I get that some people are into these books and this movie (teenage girls), but many of us are not and really would love to see articles, features, and discussions on pretty much any other topic at this point. I am thinking about not checking this site for a good three months in hopes that I won’t have to see that boy’s face again.

  • Patricia

    Here is San Diego, I know at least 20 people that saw Twilight at least twice last weekend — one of them was me. I told someone in line and they said it was their third time– in one day! I think repeat biz is going to shock people. But then, those of us who love Bella and Edward will never be fully satiated!


    Your predictions seem about right, but this is what i think the top 5 will be over the 5 day break:
    1) Twilight (39 million)
    2) Four Christmases (33 million)
    3) Bolt (28 million)
    4) James Bond (23 million)
    5) Australia (22 million)
    6) Transporter 3 (20 million)
    In my opinion, you underestimate Four C. and overestimate transporter. People much rather see james bonds abs than jasons, especially considering the first two only made 27 and 41 million in the u.S. there isn’t that much anticipation. Bolt will hold up really well, Twilight will fall harder (half of its weekend take was its opening day!). It’ll be a very interesting Box office weekend.
    happy turkey day, gobble gobble

  • Sancho

    I am going to see it for the second time TOMORROW!! Love Twilight, so awesome.

  • Patty

    Twilight is on my top movies to see…again… this long weekend. Cant wait!!

  • Koz

    I think it can go either two ways.
    Twilight being #1(Hope it isnt #1)
    or 4 Christmases being #1(Hope it isnt #1)

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