Box office report: Brad Pitt's 'Killing Them Softly' misfires with $7 million debut, 'F' CinemaScore

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The post-Thanksgiving frame has always been a slow one, and this year was no exception. Two new releases entered theaters — including the Brad Pitt vehicle Killing Them Softly — and both were met with unenthusiastic responses. Among holdovers, the Top 10 movies fell by an average of 51 percent. Basically, not too much happened at the box office this week. In fact, the top six movies finished in the exact same spots as last week.

Atop the chart was The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn – Part 2, which dropped 60 percent to $17.4 million, lifting its total to $254.6 million after three weekends. The $120 million Summit sequel is holding substantially better than its predecessor, Breaking Dawn – Part 1, which had earned $246.9 million at the same point in its run before finishing with $281.3 million domestically. Internationally, the franchise finale is getting a gigantic boost. The film earned an additional $48.4 million this weekend, bringing its overseas gross to $447.8 million and its worldwide total to $702.4 million. It’s headed to a franchise-high finish around $800 million.

Skyfall held strong in second place, falling 54 percent to $17.0 million in its fourth frame. The Bond installment, which has already become the highest-grossing entry in the franchise’s 50-year history, has now earned $246 million domestically and a truly astounding $869 million worldwide. With an opening in China still on the horizon, there’s a very good chance that Skyfall will become the first-ever billion-dollar Bond. Keep in mind, the most money a Bond film had ever earned worldwide before Skyfall was $599 million — the final total for Casino Royale in 2006. Right now, Sony and MGM should be feeling very good about their $200 million investment on Skyfall.

In third place, Steven Spielberg’s Oscar hopeful Lincoln fell 47 percent to $13.5 million as it continues its march right past $100 million. The presidential picture, which cost Disney $65 million, has now earned $83.7 million in 17 days, and it will join the century club in the next two weeks. If Lincoln scores the slew of awards nominations its expected to, there’s no telling how high it could climb.

Rounding out the Top 5 were Rise of the Guardians and Life of Pi, which fell by 43 and 47 percent, respectively. DreamWorks’ $145 million Guardians earned $13.5 million for a disappointing $48.9 million cume after 12 days. Life of Pi, which cost Fox $120 million, took in $12 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period, bringing its total to $48.4 million.

1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 – $17.4 million
2. Skyfall – $17.0 million
3. Lincoln – $13.5 million
4. Rise of the Guardians – $13.5 million
5. Life of Pi – $12.0 million

Further down the chart, The Weinstein Co.’s $15 million production Killing Them Softly debuted in seventh place with a sad $7.0 million. The crime drama, which reunited Brad Pitt with his The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford director Andrew Dominik, opened wide in 2,424 theaters, but only managed a weak $2,888 per theater average. Killing‘s debut marks the worst opening for a wide release starring Brad Pitt since 1994’s The Favor, which started with $1.5 million in 1,029 theaters. (Pitt did voice a character in 2003’s animated Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, which started off a bit lower with $6.9 million from 3,086 theaters.) Even more distressing than Killing Them Softly‘s soft box office, though, was its audience reception. As previously reported, the film earned a disastrous “F” CinemaScore grade, though it fared much better with critics.

Sadly, Killing Them Softly wasn’t the worst-performing new wide release this weekend. Horror effort The Collection, a sequel to 2009’s The Collector, opened in tenth place with just $3.4 million from 1,403 theaters. Talk about scary!

On the limited release front, Silver Linings Playbook continued to prove that it’s finding its audience slowly but surely — a sure sign of positive word-of-mouth. Despite adding only 4 theaters to its run (for a total of 371 locations), the $21 million Weinstein Co. film dropped by a scant 24 percent to $3.3 million, giving it an $11 million total — as well as a sturdy per theater average of $9,005. Anna Karenina, now in 384 theaters, hasn’t been nearly as robust. The Keira Knightley period piece found $2.2 million this weekend, giving it a $4.1 million total after the same amount of time (three weekends) as Silver Linings Playbook. Hitchcock expanded from 17 to 50 theaters in its second weekend and an uninspiring $406,000. It doesn’t seem to be blossoming into a real box office star.

In milestone news, Ben Affleck — EW’s Entertainer of the Year — scored his first $100 million movie since 2003’s Daredevil, which grossed $102.5 million. Thanks to a $2.0 million weekend, Argo, which Affleck also directed, has now grossed $101.0 million after eight weeks.

Next week is shaping up to be yet another slow frame. With only one new wide release, the Gerard Butler rom-com Playing For Keeps, entering theaters, the path is open for either Twilight or Skyfall to take No. 1 once again. Who will win? Check back next week to find out! And follow me on Twitter for more box office musing throughout the week.

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