"The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" didn't break as many records as expected over the July 4th Holiday frame, but it certainly kept the vampire franchise alive. The third installment of the Stephenie Meyer pop culture phenomenon made $82.5 million over the weekend four-day weekend for a new gross of $175.3 million since opening on Wednesday.
"Eclipse" should easily surpass "New Moon's" $296.6 million domestic gross, but by how much remains to be seen. After a fast start, the thriller didn't come close to knocking off any of the "Dark Knight," "Spider-Man 2" or "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen's" summer records. Still, considering it's relatively miniscule budget, Summit isn't complaining as they are no doubt already in the black.
In second place for the weekend was M. Night Shyamalan's box office comeback "The Last Airbender." While eviscerated by critics, "Airbender" grossed $70.5 million since its Thursday debut which is way ahead of its expected $50 million projected gross. The Nickelodeon/Paramount flick benefited from a larger than expected fanbase for the original animated series, higher 3-D ticket prices and family audiences looking for something different than "Toy Story 3" and "The Karate Kid." It is worth noting, however, that Paramount has severely over-estimated a number of tent pole openings this year only to revise and significantly lower the total the following day. "Iron Man 2," "Shutter Island" and "Shrek Forever After" being the first three that come to mind.
Still going strongly in third place, however, was the Pixar blockbuster with another $42.2 million and a new total of $301.1 million. "Toy Story 3" is now the fastest animated film to cross the $300 million mark in history and should easily surpass Pixar's biggest hit to date, "Finding Nemo," which made $339.7 million in 2004.
Newcomers to the multiplex on Friday include Universal's "Despicable Me," Sundance favorite "The Kids Are All Right" and the Robert Rodriquez produced "Predators."
Final box office tallies will be released on Tuesday.