No one expected "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" to disappoint at the box office, but even Summit Entertainment has to be surprised by the massive opening the sequel garnered from midnight shows across the country. Distributors are still submitting their grosses but sources tell HitFix "New Moon" has set a new record and may have made as much as $25 million from its midnight launch.
Update: Summit officially announces $26.23 million for midnight shows for "New Moon."
To compare, previous record holder "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" which made $22.2 million last summer or the "The Dark Knight" made $18.4 million in over 3,000 theaters in 2008. However, both of those films were also on IMAX screens which charge higher ticket prices thereby inflating the overall gross. Not jumping on the IMAX bandwagon (so far), only makes "New Moon's" gross even more remarkable.
Opening in 3,514 theaters, "New Moon" could also challenge "Dark Knight's" single day gross of $67 million, but that seems a tad unlikely based on a predominantly female only fan base. As for the weekend, the first "Twilight" dropped 49% from Friday to Saturday and the sequel is expected to find a similar drop. On the other hand, "Dark Knight" dropped only 29% over that span. Therefore, breaking the acclaimed thriller's opening weekend gross record of $158.4 million has to be out of reach, but surpassing this year's champ, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" with $108 million, is entirely possible (at the moment at least).
Overseas fans have also taken a bib bite into the hype as "New Moon" did stellar business in France and Spain on Wednesday. In France, the Vampire flick found $4.35 million U.S. on only 751 prints. Spain's gross was just as strong with $2.1 million U.S. on 603 prints.
With "2012" continuing to do strong business and Sandra Bullock's "The Blind Side" projecting an $18-22 million opening, this could be a record setting weekend at the box office all around for the industry.
Look for more box office updates as the weekend progresses on HitFix.