The calm before the Hobbit storm in two weeks kicked in on Friday as most films saw sharp declines from last weekend's record-breaking holiday frame.
For the third Friday in a row, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 claimed the top spot. Its 15th day in release yesterday claimed $5.61 million, pushing the total cume to $242.8 million. The film is maintaining its pace slightly ahead of Breaking Dawn - Part 1, which grossed $16.5 million in its third weekend. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 is projected to pull $17 million this weekend. The finale is the fourth film of 2012 to claim #1 for more than two weeks following The Hunger Games, Marvel's The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises.
The battle for first place could be a close one, though. After surpassing The Bourne Ultimatum on Thursday to become the highest grossing spy flick in North American history, Skyfall's Friday gross of $4.88 million should send it to a fourth frame of $16.3 million.
Meanwhile, Lincoln boasts the best drop of the top three this weekend. With $4.04 million on Friday and a projected $14.2 million third weekend of wide release (fourth overall), Spielberg's well-received bio-drama has reached $74.2 million domestically through 22 days of release.
Last week's openers naturally fared a bit worse. Life of Pi banked $3.3 million yesterday and should hit $12.5 million for its second weekend. Rise of the Guardians grossed $2.97 million yesterday, on its way toward a $12.6 million sophomore weekend.
The drops are fairly typical for post-Thanksgiving, but what isn't so typical is the fact that the top three slots could potentially be retained by the same films with the same ranking for a third consecutive week. The last time this happened was Friday, December 25, 2009 through Sunday, January 10, 2010 when Avatar, Sherlock Holmes and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel three-peated at #1, #2 and #3, respectively.
Killing Them Softly opened with just $2.5 million on Friday. Our early estimate for the weekend is $7 million.
Additional reporting by Daniel Garris.