Three weeks into its release, "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1" remained at the top of a listless box office this weekend, taking in an estimated $16.9 million.
While box-office watchers had expected Disney's "The Muppets" to challenge Summit's werewolves-and-vampires sequel for box-office supremacy, the PG-rated puppet film took in only $11.2 million.
Disney expected it would gross about $15 million for its second weekend, and box-office watchers outside the studio estimated it would take in as much as $20 million.
It was a typically bleak post-Thanksgiving weekend at the cineplex. With no major movies opening, the domestic market was down 6 percent compared to the same time last year.
The weekend was so slow, a three-week holdover with a 60 percent week-to-week drop — "Breaking Dawn" — led the box office.
Despite adding 563 domestic locations in its second week — expanding from 1,277 theaters to 1,840 — the Martin Scorsese-directed "Hugo" could manage only an estimated $7.6 million. The GK Films/Paramount release took in only $15.3 million over the Thanksgiving holiday.
And the PG-rated Sony/Aardman "Arthur Christmas" took in only an estimated $7.35 million compared to last weekend's $17 million.
Here's how the top 10 at the box office finished. Full report continues below chart:
The bright spot was among specialty films: Fox Searchlight's NC-17 "Shame" opened to an estimated $361,000 at 10 locations, and that company's "The Descendants ascended to seventh place at the box office. In its third week in release, the R-rated George Clooney movie took in an estimated $5.5 million.
"With the weekend being down overall, it was pretty dismal for the box office," Sheila DeLoach, Fox Searchlight's executive VP for distribution, told TheWrap Sunday morning. "But with 'Shame,' we did deliver the highest per-screen average this post-holiday season, so we were happy with the number."
The $36,118 per-screen average, she said, was especially strong for an NC-17 picture.
Meanwhile, her company's "The Descendants" expanded from 433 locations to 574 this weekend. Next week, it will play in about 850.
The film has grossed $18.1 million to date.
Back among the wide releases, "Hugo" continued to have a tough time.
The PG-13 movie was made for an estimated $170 million — some rival-studio executives speculate it cost significantly more — and has so far grossed only $25.18 million domestically.
While "The Muppets" had a disappointing second weekend, the movie is on track for profitability. It has grossed $56.13 million domestically on a $45 million budget. On top of that, the reboot of the popular franchise has opened the vault door for merchandising and sequels.
"Arthur Christmas," which had a budget of $98 million, has grossed $25.29 million domestically. The animated film has taken in nearly that much internationally, as well.
Of course, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1" remains a monster.
The movie, which had a budget estimated at $110 million, has grossed $247.3 million domestically and about $285 million internationally.