Toping the second highest grossing weekend in the history of the movie business, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" found an amazing $140.7 million at the box office this weekend. That's the the third best opening weekend of all time trailing only summer releases "The Dark Knight" ($158.4 million) and "Spider-Man 3" ($151.1 million). The Chris Weitz directed drama also broke the midnight and single day records on Friday with $26.3 and $72.7 million respectively. It must be noted that while "New Moon" opened in 4,024 theaters it did not benefit from higher ticket prices from either IMAX or 3-D theaters as many recent top grossers. Quite remarkable.
Even more phenomenal for the franchise is how "New Moon" dominated overseas. In 25 international markets, the melodrama found another $118.1 million for a new worldwide total of $258.8 million. That's incredibly impressive considering the film hasn't opened in some of the larger global markets including Germany, Russia and South Korea. And for those keeping track at home, "New Moon's" budget was around $50 million which means Summit Entertainment will be having a very happy holiday season (perhaps they can start spending on that "Hurt Locker" awards campaign now?).
Almost as remarkable was this weekend's No. 2 release, "The Blind Side." Many questioned whether another female skewing drama could generate any business opposite "New Moon," but the Alcorn Entertainment/Warner Bros. release proved everyone wrong. Fueled by word of mouth, "Blind Side" opened to an unexpectedly high $34.5 million and is now Sandra Bullock's biggest opening ever, besting "The Proposal" which found $33.6 million this past June. Don't call it a comeback, she's been here for years, but 2009 has massively rejuvenated Bullock's career.
Coming in third with an almost 60% drop was "2012" which grossed another $26.5 million for a new 10 day cume of $108.2 million. The Roland Emmerich disaster flick looks like it will top out a little over $200 million in the U.S. when all is said in done. Lucikly for Sony, it's playing much better overseas.
Fourth place found the debut of "Planet 51." Distributed by Sony Pictures, but not produced by Sony Pictures Animation (an important distinction), the CG animated flick grossed $12.6 million in a crowded market. It did, however, beat this weekend's fifth grossing title "A Christmas Carol" which after a strong hold in its second weekend couldn't withstand the strength of the new releases this time around and found just $12.2 million. With only $79.9 million so far and "Avatar" on the horizon to steal its IMAX screens in December, it's hard to see Robert Zemeckis' motion-capture tale topping the $162.7 million "The Polar Express" grossed in 2004.
With another remarkable expansion, "Precious: Based on Push a Novel by Sapphire" grossed $11 million in only 629 theaters. The Oscar contender's $17,501 per screen trailed only "New Moon's " stunning $34,900 among releases in more than 10 theaters. Having still not fully expanded nationwide, "Precious" has grossed an impressive $21.4 million in three weeks.
In limited release, Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embraces" found a phenomenal $108,000 in only two theaters for a $54,000 per screen. A tad more disappointing was the fantastic "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" which opened in 27 theaters for a $9,519 per and $257,000 overall. Why distributor First Look decided to go that wide on such a crowded weekend is a bit perplexing.
Here are this weekend's estimates according to Box Office Mojo. Final results are released on Monday.
1. "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," $140.7 million
2. "The Blind Side," $34.5 million
3. "2012," $26 million, $108.2 million to date.
4. "Planet 51," $12.6 million
â€¨â€¨5. "Disney's A Christmas Carol," $12.2 million, $79 million to date.
6. "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," $11 million, $21.4 million to date.â€¨â€¨
7. "The Men Who Stare at Goats," $2.7 million, $27.6 million to date.â€¨
8. "Couples Retreat," $1.9 million, $105 million to date.
9. "The Fourth Kind," $1.7 million, $23 million to date.
10. "Law Abiding Citizen," $1.6 million, $70 million to date.