Box Office: ‘Eclipse’ Leads an Explosive Weekend

*Note: this column was written on Sunday, so four-day totals that include Monday’s receipts will differ from these numbers.

It was no surprise that The Twilight Saga: Eclipse dominated the weekend box office. The film made $69 Million over the weekend.  Add in a record breaking $30M midnight take on Tuesday night,  and Wednesday and Thursday’s totals, and the movie has made $161 Million as of today.

It did fall short of breaking the all-time opening day record set by its  predecessor New Moon, which made $72 Million on its opening day. Eclipse came awfully close, making about $68.5 in the same time frame.  At any rate, Eclipse recouped its budget of $69 Million in one day.

We can expect the film to drop off quite a bit in upcoming weeks, as the series historically has been very front loaded, but this film does seem to be getting good word of mouth, so the drop off might not be as steep.

The Last Airbender did a lot better than I expected it to.  Obviously the built in fan base helped elevate the critically reviled film to an okay opening weekend.  Airbender made $40 Million over the weekend, but since it opened on Thursday, its total is now $56 Million.

That’s still a long way from its $150 Million budget, though, and word of mouth has been brutal, so the movie may fall off considerably after this weekend.  If so, it will be a disaster for Paramount, which has sunk about $280M into the film between the budget and marketing.  It also leaves the future of the franchise, and the career of director M. Night Shyamalan hanging in the balance.

Toy Story 3 is still going strong in its third week in release, making another $30 Million.  This brings its total to $289 Million.  Finding Nemo is Pixar’s highest grossing movie of all time, with $339 Million in ticket sales. It is looking highly likely that Toy Story 3 will exceed that during its theatrical run.

In fourth place was the Adam Sandler ensemble comedy Grown Ups, which dropped about 54%, and made another $18.5 Million.  Its two week total of $77 Million brings it very close to making back its budget of  $80 Million.

Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz have not managed to bring people to the theater.  Their  Knight and Day spy caper only made about $10 Million for a two week total of $45 Million.  The film cost over $117 Million to make, so it is considered a disappointment at this point.

In news outside of the top five, The Karate Kid quietly surpassed the $150 Million mark, and the indie movie Cyrus wiggled its way into the top ten while in only showing in 77 theaters.  It had an impressive $10,000 per/screen average. It will be interesting to see how the movie fares after it opens up in more theaters.  It might be the movie that puts the darlings of the mumble core scene, the Duplass brothers, on the map.

Sources: Entertainment Weekly, Box Office Mojo

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