New Moon Eclipses Box Office Records
By John Hamann
November 22, 2009
The question becomes whether New Moon's opening weekend would be as front-loaded as Twilight's was. The way we determine this is to use the $46.4 million the new film earned not including sneaks and multiply it by the 2.4 multiplier that Twilight had, also excluding midnight sneaks. That would give us a $111.4 million total, and then we add back in the $26.3 million in sneaks for an extrapolated weekend take of $137.7 million. Keep in mind that we are dealing with larger numbers this time, so maintaining the 2.4 multiplier is more impressive here. Then, we compare that $137.7 million to the official estimate, which has the advantage of seeing Saturday grosses prior to determining the number.
That official estimate, released by Summit Entertainment this morning, has The Twilight Saga: New Moon scoring a huge weekend gross of $140.7 million from 4,024 venues, which means that the first film was a pretty close model after all. New Moon earned a venue average of $34,965. While it doesn't top The Dark Knight's three-day record of $158 million, it does put it in the top four of all time behind only the aforementioned Dark Knight, Spider-Man 3 ($151.1 million in May 2007) and ahead of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($135.6 in July 2006). Of course, none of these figures are adjusted for inflation. Twilight: New Moon does become the biggest November opener ever, beating three Harry Potter flicks by a country mile (the top Potter in November is Goblet of Fire, with a $102.3 million opening frame).
BOP's David Mumpower had stated in the movie listing for New Moon that the Dead Man's Chest spike from the first film to the second was the best comparison here. It's proven to be an uncanny model. Curse of the Black Pearl opened to $70.6 million over five days (it was a Wednesday debut). Dead Man's Chest then raised the bar all the way up to $135.6 million. Twilight earned $69.6 million over its first three days while New Moon has nestled right in that same $135 million range. Vampires are the new pirates.
As expected, reviews were abysmal for The Twilight Saga: New Moon, but if there has ever been a review-proof release, this is it. New Moon had 153 reviews counted at RottenTomatoes, and of those, only 46 were fresh, giving the teen vampire flick a rotten rating of 30%. The first film in the series received much better reviews, coming in at 49% fresh, which has to make one wonder about the logic of replacing the original director, Catherine Hardwicke, with Chris Weitz for the sequel. Weitz had most recently run what could have been a huge franchise into the ground with The Golden Compass. Despite a $205 million production budget, The Golden Compass earned only $70 million at the domestic box office. One logical guess as to why Weitz was chosen is that he and his brother, Paul, co-directed the huge teen hit American Pie (Chris was uncredited for DGA purposes). American Pie turned out to be Summit Entertainment's first big success as a production house (Universal distributed) and here they are working with Chris Weitz again.