Box Office: ‘Breaking Dawn Pt. 2’ ends with an almost record setting $141 million

Proving you cannot underestimate the commitment of the “Twilight” fan base, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 2” opened to an estimated $141 million this weekend.

The final chapter in the film series adapting Stephenie Meyers’ popular novels came quite close to breaking the franchise opening record set by “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” which grossed $142.8 million three years ago. It does, however, top the $138.1 million “Part 1” found last year. The tally also knocks “Part 1” to No. 9 on the all time opening weekends chart as “Part 2” settles into the 8th spot.  It’s been a dramatic year on the all time opening weekends list with four new additions including the new champ, “The Avengers” ($207.4 million), “The Dark Knight Rises” at no. 3 ($160.8 million), “The Hunger Games at no. 5 ($152.5 million) and “Breaking Dawn, Pt. 2.”  It’s worth noting the later two titles didn’t have the benefit of inflated 3D or IMAX ticket prices contributing to their tallies.

Taking the second slot was Sony Pictures and MGM’s “Skyfall” down just 52% from its own mammoth opening with another $41.5 million.  The domestic total for the 23rd James Bond thriller now stands at $162 million and it should surpass current record holder “Quantum of Solace” over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  At this point, a final take in the $225 million range is not out of the question.  Internationally, 007 could hit the $800 million mark.

Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” was impressive in third with $21 million in 1,775 theaters for $22.4 million to date. The critically acclaimed potential Oscar player surprised with a strong Friday to Saturday jump.  With a reported $75 million tally (although the filmmakers say the actual production was only $30 million), “Lincoln” still has a ways to go if its going to break even. DreamWorks Studios and 20th Century Fox co-financed the film and Fox will have the responsibility of making up the difference overseas when it begins its global rollout in 2013.  That’s one reason landing a slew of Oscar nominations on Jan. 10 is so important for the 19th century political drama.

Right behind “Lincoln” was Disney stablemate, “Wreck-It Ralph.” The CG animated comedy continues to rack up points with families as it found another $18 million for $121.5 million to date.  “Ralph” faces some tough competition for the demo this week when DreamWorks Animation’s “Rise of the Guardians” debuts.  Reaching the $200 million level might not be as easy as many believed when “Ralph” began on level 1, er, opened just three weeks ago.

Another film showing strong word of mouth is Robert Zemeckis’ “Flight.” The Denzel Washington melodrama grossed another $8.6 million for the weekend and has made $61.3 million to date.  The Paramount Pictures release could easily end up with around $90 million domestic when all is said and done.

New films debuting over the Thanksgiving frame include Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi,” “Red Dawn” and the aforementioned “Rise of the Guardians.”  “Hitchcock” and “Rust and Bone” will open in limited release on Friday. “Silver Linings Playbook” expands to 420 screens on Wednesday.

Final box office figures for the weekend are released on Monday.