BOX OFFICE FORECAST: DEC 2-4, 2011 [MUPPETS PULL OFF A “BLIND SIDE”, OR TWILIGHT THREE-PEATS?]

The post-Thanksgiving weekend is usually one of the weakest box office weekends of the year, and 2011 is no exception. The week almost feels the same as the one back in 2009, when New Moon was trumped by The Blind Side in its third weekend. This time, it’ll be the Muppets, who’ll attempt to topple the polarizing franchise.

But if last week’s grosses were any indication, Twilight should win the weekend, becoming the only film in the franchise to win three weeks in a row. Two years ago, New Moon and The Blind Side were merely $2M apart during Thanksgiving. And since the former is heavily frontloaded, it gave the Oscar-winning pic an opportunity to seize the crown. What’s different this time is that The Muppets are still $12M away from Breaking Dawn’s $41.7M cume last week, which means that the movie will have to hold very well to edge out BD. The Muppets will likely close the gap between them, but expect the movie to miss the top spot once again.

While most films usually fall by more than 50% during this weekend, Hugo and The Descendants will break the norm. The two well received movies are set to expand in more theaters nationwide, which will help them climb up the box office chart. I underestimated Hugo last week, and after posting strong numbers during the weekdays, I expect it to sail past the other holdovers to soar to the #3 spot. George Clooney’s Oscar bait The Descendants should also jump to #6 as it aims to get more buzz this Oscar season.

Meanwhile, holdovers Happy Feet Two, Arthur Christmas and Jack and Jill will probably earn half of their grosses last week, and will make room for the movies stated above.

TOP 7 PREDICTIONS

#1 – $15.2M – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn

#2 – $14.8M – The Muppets

#3 – $7.8M – Hugo

#4 – $6.6M – Happy Feet Two

#5 – $6.5M – Arthur Christmas

#6 – $6.5M – The Descendants

#7 – $4.9M – Jack and Jill

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