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November 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

At no time in memory have three films opened on the same day with as many positive reviews as those that are opening today. Critics are virtually unanimous in their praise of The Muppets, Hugo, and Arthur Christmas, all of them family films, and the latter two carrying 3D surcharges. Only The Muppets, however, is expected to do as well at the box office as it has in the critics’ columns. Box office pundits are predicting that it will earn around $40-50 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday — around what it cost to produce. Arthur Christmas, they say, will likely bring in around $14-18 million, while Martin Scorsese’s first family film, Hugo, may be lucky to earn much more than $10 million — but then, it will be playing in only about 1,200 theaters, some 2,000 fewer than the other two. It also may be the most costly film of the three — with some reports putting a price of $175 million on the production, based on the best-selling children’s book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Meanwhile, the Weinstein Co. plans to open My Week with Marilyn, starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, in 12 theaters today (Wednesday), expanding to 244 on Friday. Also on Friday the silent, black-and-white film The Artist opens in New York and Los Angeles to begin a push for Oscar recognition.

UPDATE: According to Daily Variety, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 got off to a strong start on Wednesday night with a tally of $12.5 million. Disney’s The Muppets opened in second place with $6.6 million. Happy Feet Two brought in $2.9 million to place third. New entrants Arthur Christmas and Hugo grossed $1.9 million and $1.7 million respectively.