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10 Family Movies that Opened Better than The Muppets and Therefore Make Me Question America's Sanity

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | November 27, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | November 27, 2011 |

The Muppet movie debuted this weekend with $29.5 million ($42 million since Wednesday) and while it’s admittedly tempting to applaud a solid box-office performance of a long-dormant franchise, given just how amazingly good the movie is, it feels disappointing particularly given the advantage of a huge Thanksgiving weekend. You can’t blame the movie (it’s outstanding), nor the marketing (it was pervasive), so the only thing left to blame is the viewing public, who showed up in larger numbers on opening weekend to see these ten films.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa: $63 million

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: $55 million

Scooby Doo: $54 million

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel: $48 million

Shark Tale: $47 million

Alvin and the Chipmunks: $44 million

The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps: $42 million

Hop: $37 million

Marley and Me: $36 million

G-Force: $31 million

So, talking hamsters, a dead dog, a bunny that shits jelly beans, singing chipmunks, and the bastardization of a celebrated Dr. Seuss book out-grossed the magical, marvelous, enchanting heartfelt Muppets. Congratulations, America. You never fail to let me down.

And oh yeah: Twilight Breaking Dawn Part I continued to pile up beaucoups of cash, adding $41 million over the three day weekend to bring its total to $220 million after 10 days. I don’t know what the record for the biggest differential between box-office gross and action level is, but Breaking Dawn Part I has to be in the top five, along with the Da Vinci Code films.

Meanwhile, Happy Feet Two stuck around with a disappointing $13 million in its second weekend; it probably won’t break $70 million domestic, which is a huge blow to the film. I don’t know what it cost, but the first one cost $100 million, so this is obviously hard to swallow for Warner Brothers animation. Given the popularity of the first one, and the fact that this one was even more family friendly, I’m a little beffudled why it performed so poorly unless it was just the intense competition among family films during this time of the year. In fourth place, Arthur Christmas also put up only $12.7 million ($17 million since Wednesday), another disappointing tally, though it should have some legs as the only true Christmas film of the season.

In at number five, Martin Scorsese’s delightful, enchanting Hugo managed only $11.3 million. After seeing the film last night, I completely understand Joanna’s concerns about who the film was targeted toward: It was a kid’s film that most kids would’ve been bored with while most adults would’ve avoided it because it’s a kids film. About film history. So, basically, it’s a film for movie critics and cinephiles. Actually, given those factors, $11.3 million is impressive.

Hugo did have a solid per screen average of $8,800, which is better than My Week with Marilyn, which had a $7,700 per screen average on 1000 fewer theaters. It did not compare, however, to the whopping $52,000 per screen average of The Artist (on four screens) or the $45,000 per screen average of A Dangerous Method (also on four screens). Both films are set up for Oscar runs.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.