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Source: Jeff Bock
Date: Nov 15, 2012

Despite what you may have heard, Abraham Lincoln is no vampire hunter. After an impressive polling in limited run last weekend, Spielberg’s “Lincoln” bio-pic expands into wide release, but will be no match for what is unquestionably the most rabidly anticipated film of the holiday season—“Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2.”

In fact, Fandango is already reporting that the final chapter of the “Twilight” franchise is sucking down 92% of all ticket sales. That sucks, big time…for “Lincoln.” But, truth be told (and Abe was never a feller to beat around the bush), the target demo for “Lincoln” probably doesn’t even know what a “presale ticket” is.

For what it’s worth, both films will come out as winners, at least as far as their respective audiences and box office projections go. It’s just that one film will gross, oh, say $135+ million or so more than the other.  Thus, proving once and for all, that Abe Lincoln really has no business hunting vampires, or werewolves, or any other magical creatures for that matter. Has that been sufficiently cleared up? Good.

Author Stephenie Meyer’s swan song is by far the most interesting film of the five (as of this writing, I say this as a male in his 30’s), even though it tried really, really hard to be a new “X-Men” flick. Who knew vampires had so many mutations?!? Who knew dozens of decapitations could get a PG-13 rating?!? “X-Men” envy and MPAA investigations aside, “BDp2” should have no problem pulling a “Deathly Hallows,” and much like the final cliffhanger episode of Harry Potter, see “BDp2” propel the series to new box office heights.

“Deathly Hallows Pt. 1” debuted with what was then the franchise-high, $125 million, and then just eight months later, “Deathly Hallows Pt. 2” bookended the franchise with a magical debut of $169M—second only to “Marvel’s The Avengers.” It is worth noting however, that “DHp2” was the first film in the franchise to be released in 3D, which certainly helped bump up the box office.

It’s doubtful “Breaking Dawn Pt. 2” will see an injection into the main box office vein of +$44 million like “Harry Potter”  did between the final installments, but it will easily surpass the $138M “BDp1” debuted with, and most likely eclipse “New Moon’s” series-topping $142 million. Yes, in 4,070 theaters expect $150+ million…and that’s a relatively conservative estimate.

For a series that has spawned a whole new rabid fanbase—call them “Twi-hards” or more appropriately “Fang-girls”—this is a demographic Hollywood has been attempting to court for quite some time. Before “Twilight,” women never really had a “Star Wars” or “Lord of the Rings” to call their own. “Twilight has given them that…and much more.

With the recent success of “The Hunger Games” and possibly next summer’s “The Mortal Instruments” this fanbase will be well served for some time. And although, Meyer has not officially announced she will be continuing the legend of the Twilight saga in book form, Summit and Lionsgate are certainly more-than-eager to crank out a few more harlequin horror films.

I’m betting Meyer will write more, even if they just turn out to be screenplays instead of novels. “Breaking Dawn Part 2” might be the end of this series, but the film franchise that has earned $2.5 billion from box office receipts alone, is far from over. Heck, even the end of “BDp2” sets it up for much more. After all, tentpoles, like vampires, are immortal in Hollywood, aren’t they? Just ask George Lucas. And even if actors aren’t, motion-capture certainly is. Who knows, in 1,000 years audiences may still be watching new adventures of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart all the while gazing longingly at Taylor Lautner’s 12-pack abs.   

With the “Twilight” frenzy enveloping the nation—and the world—“Lincoln” will be a bit lost in the blood-sucking media maelstrom, no doubt. However, expect Disney to spin their straw polls into gold and stump up $15 million in 1,775 theaters. That would double up the opening gate for Spielberg’s last film, “War Horse,” which went on to gross nearly $80 million domestic and $97 million internationally. Expect “Lincoln” to be a slow burn, but if awards nominations are showered upon it, this could easily end up being the #1 Lincoln film of the year, surpassing “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” which has taken in $114 million worldwide so far.

With “Twilight” flirting with $150 million and “Skyfall” expected to rake in another $40+ million it looks like we’ll have one of the biggest weekends of the year at the box office.  And, if “Twilight” over-performs ala “Harry Potter” this weekend may go down as the top dog of 2012. Either way, it’s a good sign as we enter the home stretch where we are currently +5% over 2011’s total box office.


Weekend Estimates

1.       Twilight: Breaking Dawn Pt. 2 - $150M

2.       Skyfall - $42M   

3.       Wreck-It Ralph - $24M

4.       Lincoln - $15M

5.       Flight - $9M



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