New Moon Eclipses Box Office Records
By John Hamann
November 22, 2009
The Twilight series is being distributed domestically by Summit Entertainment, and is also one of the production companies behind the film. Summit started distributing movies in 2007, but has been involved in producing movies since the mid-1990's. Since the last Twilight hit a year ago, the studio has struggled to find success, releasing several unsuccessful films between Twilights.
The first of these, the sci-fi flick Push, opened to $10 million in February of this year, and earned $31.8 million from domestic sales against a budget of $38 million. While a disappointment, Push starred Dakota Fanning, which may have helped the young star get involved in New Moon. Next was Knowing with Nic Cage (excuse the pun). Knowing was a $50 million effort from Alex Proyas (Dark City), and was moderately successful, earning $74 million at the domestic box office in March of 2009. It was more successful overseas; however, Summit has a tendency to sell international rights, even with New Moon. Bandslam, another teen film, was their next release, this time aimed at the High School Musical set. Despite good reviews (80% fresh at RottenTomatoes), Bandslam flopped for Summit, earning only $5 million. Sorority Row, the god-awful horror flick that was out in September, was another of Summit's releases prior to New Moon. Sorority Row earned only $12 million at the domestic box office, but at least the studio only spent $12.5 million to produce that trash. The most disastrous project for them was Astro Boy, which cost a stiff $65 million but has earned only $18.2 million so far. Of course, most of the expenses on that film were incurred by Warner Bros. and the Weinsteins.
Upcoming films for the studio obviously include The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the third film in the series, Remember Me, a romantic drama starring the Twilight series' Robert Pattison, Furry Vengeance, a family comedy with Brendan Fraser, Letters to Juliet, another romantic drama with Mamma Mia!'s Amanda Seyfried, and finally Red, a comic-based thriller starring Bruce Willis.
Not to be outdone, our second place finisher is also finding breakout success. Second place goes to The Blind Side, Sandra Bullock's sports drama. After such a huge opening for New Moon, I wondered if there would be room at the box office table for The Blind Side, but it seems to have worked as excellent counter-programming to the more female targeted vampire flick. The Blind Side earned a very impressive $34.5 million from 3,110 venues. It had a solid venue average of $11,096. This is now Sandra Bullock's second big hit of 2009, following this summer's surprise hit The Proposal, which earned a whopping $164 million domestically, and another $150 million overseas, where American comedies don't often play well. The Blind Side benefited from being the only real new release for adults, as teens were covered with New Moon, and kids with Planet 51. It got decent reviews, with notices promoting Bullock's strong performance. At RottenTomatoes, 86 reviews were counted, and of those, 60 were positive, leading to a 70% fresh rating. Unlike New Moon, we could see some decent legs going forward for The Blind Side, but at this point, Warner Bros.' $55 million effort looks like it will end up as a big win for both the studio and Sandra Bullock.