It was a record-breaking weekend at the box office from almost every perspective. In fact, so many records were broken that it is kind of hard to keep them straight. By Friday morning The Twilight Saga: New Moon had already passed The Dark Knight and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to become the top midnight debut of all-time with over $26 million. The sequel to Twilight was also number one in pre-sales and on Saturday it brought Summit Entertainment both the highest Single Day and the All-Time Friday titles with $72.7 million from its 4,024 screens. One record New Moon couldn’t claim? The all-time weekend title. With an estimated $140.7 million through Sunday, New Moon fell short of both the $151 million debut of Spider-Man 3 and the $158 million start of The Dark Knight. But, for a film franchise that only came on the scene one year ago and which was aiming for right around $100 million? Third place must feel pretty sweet.
|5||A Christmas Carol||$12,230,000||$79.7|
|7||The Men Who Stare at Goats||$2,773,000||$27.6|
|9||The Fourth Kind||$1,730,000||$23.3|
|10||Law Abiding Citizen||$1,615,000||$70|
Like Twilight before it, New Moon fell over 40% on Saturday to $43.2 million, which accounts for its failure to unseat the comic book superstars at the all-time box office. If anything about New Moon could reasonably be called a failure. And for those of you who may be disappointed that New Moon didn’t outpace the Batmobile, keep in mind that most films that get that close to the all-time weekend summit – The Dark Knight and Spider-Man 3 included – are released in summer. So another record that New Moon can now lay claim to? The All-Time, non-summer, non-holiday weekend release. That’s huge.
I know it’s hard to believe, but there were actually a couple of other new releases in theatres on Friday. In fact, one of them did well enough to grab a lot of attention – had this been any other weekend. The feel-good family film The Blind Side surprised just about everyone by bringing in $34.5 million over its first three days in 3,110 theatres.
The Blind Side, which got almost no attention compared to the avalanche of press for New Moon, was only expected to make about $20 million – at the very most. Instead, the film became the biggest debut of Sandra Bullock’s career, just beating the already impressive $33.6 million The Proposal earned this past summer. The early success of the film was attributed to its positive message but I suspect something much more mundane. See, lots of twelve year old girls needed their moms to get them in to moon at Jacob and Edward this weekend, but then they needed them to disappear once the tickets were purchased. The spurned moms probably made their way to The Blind Side by default. In hindsight, this makes the Warner Brothers schedulers look like a bunch of geniuses, right?
The only disappointing note of the weekend was struck by the Columbia/Sony release Planet 51. The animated film could only drum up $12.6 million from its 3,035 screens. That’s an average of just over $4,000 per venue. Even on a record-breaking weekend, they can’t all be winners I guess.
Overall, however, the total estimates for all of the weekend’s films make this the second highest weekend of All-Time. I told you that a lot of records got broken, didn’t I? Once again, the fact that this particular feat was accomplished during a non-Holiday, non-summer frame is pretty impressive. By now I shouldn’t have to tell you that the biggest weekend ever was back in July of 2008 when The Dark Knight was king.
Next week promises to be much less dramatic, though with Disney’s much-anticipated The Princess & The Frog joining New Moon and our other strong holdover titles in theatres on Wednesday, this Thanksgiving seems destined to outperform last year’s holiday when Four Christmases opened to $46 million. Honestly I hope that all the films do well, but not too well. I really can’t take much more excitement.