Box Office: ‘Muppets’ can’t take a bite out of ‘Breaking Dawn’ on Wednesday

The return of “The Muppets” got off to a strong start on Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough to overtake “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1” at the box office. 

The fourth installment of Stephenie Meyers’ vampire saga grossed another $12.5 million on Wednesday for a blockbuster $171.4 million in just six days.  That’s only $7 million behind the franchise’s last November release, “New Moon,” which had cumed $178.8 million at this point in 2009.  Baring a glaring change in moviegoer habits, “Breaking Dawn” should easily win the Thanksgiving frame and break the $215 million mark by Sunday.

Debuting in second place was the critically adored “The Muppets” with $6.6 million.  The Jason Segel passion project should dip a bit on a busy family focused Thanksgiving, but should dance its way to at least $45 million by the end of the five-day frame.  With a budget of just $35 million and numerous licensing opportunities for parent, lord and overseer the Walt Disney Company, to say Jim Henson’s creations are back is a bit of an understatement.

Holding somewhat solidly in third was Warner Bros. “Happy Feet Two.”  The George Miller sequel to his original Oscar-winning best animated feature found another $2.9 million for $28.3 million in five days.  That’s a far cry from the first film’s box office in 2006, but Warner Bros. will take what they can get domestically at this point and hope for better results overseas.

Opening in fourth place was the charming “Arthur Christmas” with $2.4 million. Unfortunately, the Aardman and Sony Pictures Animation collaboration will be lucky to find $18 million over the frame.  That’s a very disappointing result considering the marketability and quality of the production, but, like “Happy Feet,” “Arthur” may find more gifts internationally.  It’s already grossed $9 million from just a few markets so far.

Rounding out the top five was “Jack and Jill” with another $1.9 million and $45 million in 13 days.  Adam Sandler’s latest will have a hard time crossing the $80 million mark let alone his customary $100 million tally.

Also opening was Martin Scorsese’s critically acclaimed “Hugo” with $1.6 million.  The GK Films production (distributed by Paramount) only opened in 1,277 theaters for a very good $1,304 average.  With 3D theaters at a premium, Paramount will hope word of mouth, strong reviews and critic’s awards keep “Hugo” running through the Christmas season.

Look for continuing box office updates throughout the Holiday weekend on HitFix.