Thursday, July 1, 2010

Twilight Saga: Eclipse grosses $68.5 million in its first full day.

The numbers are in, and it's $68.5 million for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, with $30 million of that coming just from midnight showings. That's the second-best day of all time, behind the $72.7 million scored on the opening day of The Twilight Saga: New Moon last November ($26 million in midnight showings). It's just ahead of the $67.1 million single-day take of The Dark Knight just under two years ago ($18 million in midnight screenings). It's the biggest Wednesday opening, ahead of the $62 million opening-day numbers of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($16 million in midnight screenings). It is telling that the film ended up just a bit ahead of those last two opening day marks, despite nearly doubling their midnight tallies (and having the added boost of higher-priced IMAX tickets this time around). It would appear for the moment that this third chapter will be even more frontloaded than the prior entries, but the long holiday puts even that into question. Point being, while the films have by-far the worst opening weekend multipliers of any ongoing franchise (the first two films merely doubled their opening-day take over the first three-days), the long weekend could allow the film to regain momentum as the hardcore fans see the film for a second time after their respective Fourth of July activities.

The fact that Monday is also a holiday throws the five-day weekend multiplier comparisons out of whack, so for now we'll just note that the $68 million opening day was a 70% increase in the opening day gross of Spider-Man 2, which opened on a Wednesday the last time that the Fourth of July holiday weekend lasted six days (2004). That film ended up with $180 million by Monday night, a total that Eclipse would shatter if it were any other franchise. If Twilight Saga: Eclipse had the same six-day multiplier as Spider-Man 2 (4.5x its opening day), it would pull in $308 million by Monday night. If the film merely equals a the 3.22 multiplier from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, it will have $219 million in five days and easily coast past the $222 million six-day record of The Dark Knight. If the film behaves like the worst five-day multiplier on record, the 2.74x opening five days of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it will end Sunday with $186 million, with $15-20 million on Monday. But with the possibility of massive front-loading versus the possibility of repeat viewings over the weekend (plus the demographics split slightly more male this time around), we won't know the score until Saturday morning. Don't be surprised to see an epic 60-70% plunge for today's numbers, and then a big boost on Friday. Since the hard cores see it on Wednesday and the casual fans wait until the weekend, Thursday often operates as a box office black hole. As always, we'll see...

Scott Mendelson

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