“New Moon” Scores $140M Opening Weekend

Update 11/22: “New Moon” has pulled in an estimated $140.7 million opening weekend, the third biggest of all time behind “The Dark Knight” and “Spider-Man 3”. The film fell 40.8% on Saturday, almost exactly the same drop-off as the first film, which has led to the estimate.

Nevertheless it managed to smash a few more records including biggest November opening weekend, biggest holiday opening weekend, and is officially the fastest film to cross the $100 million mark.

Original 11/21: Everyone expected “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” to open big, just how big though has surprised even the studios themselves.

DHD reports that with the inclusion of midnight previews, the film’s first-day estimates come to $72.7 million which shattered the first day and single-day highest grossing record previously held by “The Dark Knight” with $68 million.

First hints came when midnight screenings pulled in $26.2 million, easily beating the midnight opening record held by “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” earlier this year with $22.2 million.

Of course the big question now is what will the opening weekend box-office be? The first “Twilight” famously saw a significant drop-off on its opening Saturday and Sunday, and estimates are again following that model.

Going along those lines, the opening weekend is expected to come close to “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” which opened to $135.6 million and stands at the third highest opening weekend of all time. Should the film exceed all expectations like the opening day however, it could well sit below the top two slots occupied by “The Dark Knight” ($158.4m) and “Spider-Man 3” ($151m).

Other films are benefitting from the business as well, Sandra Bullock-led football drama “The Blind Side” scored an unexpected $11.8 million on Friday and could build to a $30-35 million opening weekend, almost twice what many had estimated. Not faring as well is Sony CG animated feature “Planet 51” which looks on course for just a $10-12 million opening weekend.

The one area “New Moon” hasn’t done so well with however is critics who panned it, but didn’t entirely dismiss it. The film scored 27% and a 4.7/10 average score on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 46/100 on Metacritic. As a comparison the first “Twilight” scored a generally mixed reaction with a 49% and a 5.5/10 average score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 56/100 on Metacritic.

Films that have scored the same as “New Moon” or very similar on RT include: “Dreamcatcher,” “Hollywood Homicide,” “Underworld,” “Eagle Eye,” “Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist,” “Clockstoppers,” “The Accidental Spy,” “The Other Sister,” “Paycheck” and “The Heartbreak Kid”.

Films with the same score on Metacritic include: “King Arthur,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Halloween II (2009),” “You, Me and Dupree,” “Beerfest,” “Hostel: Part 2,” “Rambo (2008)” “Secret Window,” “Bruce Almighty,” “Cheaper by the Dozen,” “Yes Man,” “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” and “Must Love Dogs”.