Eclipse is #1 for the week 6/25-7/1 despite only being open 2 days
As I posted earlier, Eclipse’s first two days in release will not count in the official upcoming weekend numbers since a box office weekend technically begins on Friday. Instead, Wednesday and Thursday are counted as the final two days of the previous week.
The official numbers have now been released for the week of Friday 6/25 – Thursday 7/1 and, despite only having been in release the last two days of that period, Eclipse still managed to finish at #1 for the week with $92,744,978 at 4,416 theaters for an average of $21,002. Toy Story 3 was close behind with $91,274,487, which included all seven days vs. Eclipse’s two days.
Meanwhile, there’s been some confusion over why Eclipse’s first two days won’t count towards the weekend. It makes sense on the face of it, but let’s look back at the last movie that opened on a Wednesday, June 30 on the eve of a 4th of July weekend, Spider-Man 2in 2004. As you can see here, its first two days in release, Wednesday, June 30 and Thursday, July 1, aren’t counted in the weekend numbers. There are two listings: the 3-day weekend of Friday to Sunday and the 4-day weekend of Friday through the Monday holiday. But they don’t count the first two days it was in release. They aren’t counted as part of the weekend although, as you can see, they are included in the film’s cumulative total. If there is any movie that Summit (and the media and public) should be comparing Eclipse to it should be Spider-Man 2, not New Moon.
Once Friday numbers are released early Saturday morning, when the film will be in competition with the rest of the movie marketplace, we’ll be able to begin to judge the success of the film’s early days. In addition, Eclipse added 52 theaters today to increase from 4,416 to 4,468, beating the record for the widest release of all time which it set on Wednesday.
Then why did Summit release the film on a Wednesday? To get the jump on the competition. Most new movies open on a Friday. IfEclipse had opened the same day as all the other new holiday weekend films it would obviously have been competing with all of them. By opening earlier, on Wednesday, it only had to go up against the “old” films that were already out. There was no competition against anything new (not that The Last Airbender has, or looks like it will, give it much competition).
So the idea was not to compete against or beat New Moon’s early numbers. That may be a goal of some people but the idea is to make money, and maybe set some records in the process. The fact is, there is no way that a “weekend” that begins on a Wednesday can be compared to a “normal” 3-day weekend (when New Moon opened). So any comparison between the two simply isn’t valid — not until at least another week has gone by. Even then it will be difficult to put one up against the other since their release patterns are so different.
Is Summit happy with the first days’ box office returns? I don’t know but I’m fairly sure they must be. Again, the goal was not to “beat New Moon.” That may be something the press or some others will latch on to but it’s simply not a fair comparison. As I said above, it would make more sense to look at Spider-Man 2. It was very easy to compare Twilight to New Moon since they opened at the same time one year apart. Not so much New Moon to Eclipse. Let’s wait a week…or a few…or a month or more…before starting to compare the two. Better yet, let’s just see how the film does over time in its own right, and maybe see if it sets more records. And, if you like it, tell your friends.
See the Friday 5:00 PM update below for more thorough analysis and commentary.
Final numbers are in for Thursday, July 1. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse took in another $24,211,138. Adding in the film’s opening day box office take of $68,533,840 brings its 2-day cumulative domestic total to $92,744,978. This represents a 64.7% drop from Wednesday to Thursday and the film’s per theater average fell from $15,519 to $5,483, but it was still good enough to be the second highest Thursday of all time (non-opening). Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen holds the record with $29.1M.
The decrease from Wednesday to Thursday was the worst ever for a film opening on a Wednesday. Although this seems like a significant drop, it was to be expected given the difference between a second day falling on a weekday vs. a weekend day. Even the film whose Wednesday opening was beaten by Eclipse, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, opened with $62M and dropped 53% from Wednesday to Thursday. It should also be kept in mind that The Twilight Saga films tend to be heavily front-loaded, that is, a higher percentage of fans want to be among the first to see the film — more than for many other franchises and tentpole movies.
Other films which opened on a Wednesday and dropped on Thursday include Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (down 57%), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (down 58%), and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (down 62%). The last film which opened on a Wednesday, June 30 prior to the Independence Day weekend was Spider-Man 2, which dropped 41% from Wednesday to Thursday.
How does this compare with recordholder New Moon? That film took in $72.7M its opening day and dropped 41.8% to earn $42.3M the next. Its total was $115M after the first two days. But, again, that was a Friday to Saturday as opposed to a Wednesday to Thursday. Apples to oranges, as the saying goes. That said, a drop from Wednesday to Thursday for Eclipse from $68.53M to $24.21M is a pretty steep 64.7%. But that was to be expected since Thursday is still not part of the weekend.
UPDATE FRIDAY 12:00 NOON:
Early estimates as of Friday 12:00 noon show The Twilight Saga: Eclipse finished #1 again on Thursday, taking in another $24.2M from 4,416 locations. Adding in Wednesday’s numbers gives the film a cumulative total of $92.8M domestic. Industry projections call for a possible 5-day weekend total of $110M and a 6-day holiday weekend totaling $178M. Spider-Man 2 took in $180M over its 6-day Independence Day holiday weekend.
Theater counts have officially been released for the week of Friday 7/2 to Thursday 7/8 (which includes the 4-day Independence Day holiday weekend of 7/2 -7/5). The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will add 52 theaters to increase from 4,416 to 4,468. Summit also announced that Eclipse took in $16.2M from 21 overseas markets on its first day of release.
UPDATE THURSDAY 2:45 PM:
Summit has now officially certified that The Twilight Saga: Eclipse took in $68,533,840 on Wednesday. The film opened in 4,416 theaters, the widest opening in history, with a per theater average of $15,519. New Moon’s opening day average was $18,068. However, keep in mind that there’s a big difference between a Wednesday and a Friday opening. A fair comparison of box office returns forEclipse vs. New Moon really won’t be possible until next week. In addition, the one-night Twilight/New Moon double feature brought in $2,385,237. See 1:00 PM update below for records and more.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse has broken the record for a Wednesday opening, taking in an estimated $68.5M from 4,416 locations, the widest opening in history. This tops the $62M brought in by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Included in the total is the $30M reported previously from midnight and 3:00 AM screenings. It also set a new record for the #1 summer day of all time, beating The Dark Knight’s $67.2M.
It was the second highest single day of all time after The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which took in $72.7M from 4,024 theaters on its opening day, setting a new all-time single day box office record. That figure included $26.3M in midnight shows. On Wednesday, June 30, 2004, Spider-Man 2 took in $40.4M ($52M adjusted for inflation). By the end of the Monday holiday it had taken in $180.1M (230M adjusted).
What to watch for: We won’t be able to compare per theater averages for New Moon vs. Eclipse until we know exactly how many showings there were. Those figures should be released soon. Also keep in mind that the Independence Day holiday weekend is tabulated starting Friday, so the 3-day weekend totals will not include Wednesday and Thursday. Therefore, it’s possible that Eclipsemay not set a holiday weekend record.
UPDATE THURSDAY 2:00 AM:
Early figures estimate that The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will break the record for a Wednesday opening, taking in $65M. This tops the $62M brought in by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Included in the total is the $30M reported previously from midnight and 3:00 AM screenings. In comparison, The Twilight Saga: New Moon took in $72.7M from 4,024 theaters on its opening day, setting a new all-time single day box office record. Of course, that was a Friday, not a Wednesday.
These numbers are not official and are only estimates based on early reports. However, these preliminary figures are usually fairly close to the final data. Summit Entertainment will officially announce domestic and worldwide numbers later.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse has opened to a record $30M+ overnight from approximately 4,000 screenings, beating the record $26.27M set by New Moon. This is an estimated total from all midnight and 3:00 AM shows. The film also set a new IMAX overnight record, with $1M at 192 locations beating the recordholder Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen with $959K.
As I posted below, Twilight opened on November 21, 2008 at 3,419 theaters, taking in around $7M in midnight screenings (which was considered stratospheric at the time). Its first weekend total was $69.64M. The Twilight Saga: New Moon opened on November 20, 2009 with $26.27M from 3,514 midnight screenings at 4,024 locations on its way to a first day total of $72.7M (more than Twilight’sentire opening weekend). Its first weekend total was $142.8M, making it the #3 all-time and #1 non-summer opening weekend of all time.
The Dark Knight had a $18.4M midnight debut (3-day weekend) and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince took in $22.2M on a Tuesday night on its way to a 5-day weekend total of $158M. The Dark Knight went on to take in $67.17M that opening day, dropped 29.1% from Friday to Saturday to bring in another $47.65M, and ended with $43.6M on Sunday for an opening weekend total of $158.4M.
What to watch for: We won’t be able to measure per theater averages until we know exactly how many showings there were. That will be a better indicator of how well Eclipse did vs. New Moon. The film’s opening day total will be released tomorrow afternoon, Thursday 7/1. More theaters are expected to be added on Friday. The Independence Day holiday weekend is tabulated starting Friday, so the 3-day weekend totals will not include today and tomorrow’s numbers. Therefore, it’s possible that Eclipse may not set a holiday weekend record. Wednesday and Thursday’s numbers will still count toward the film’s total box office although they will be included in the week of Friday 6/25 – Thursday 7/1.
As I did with Twilight and The Twilight Saga: New Moon, I will be tracking the box office numbers for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse on a daily basis. You will be able to follow the progress of the film on this blog just as you were able to witness the success of the previous movies here from the moment the first ticket was torn at the midnight screenings of Twilight, the first in the series based on Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling books. That film was, at the time, expected to be a modestly successful indie — and, yes, these are independent films, which is one of the the primary reasons I began reporting on them in the first place (and will continue to do).
The rest is cinematic history, and this morning’s release of the third film in the The Twilight Saga was the biggest opening of all time at 4,416 venues. So it’s no surprise that early reports say theaters were mobbed not just in America but overseas as well.
There are a few things to watch for (click the links for daily numbers and extensive analysis). Twilight opened on November 21, 2008 at 3,419 theaters, taking in around $7 million in midnight screenings (which was considered stratospheric at the time). Its first weekend total was $69.64 million. The Twilight Saga: New Moon opened on November 20, 2009 with $26.27 million from 3,514 midnight screenings at 4,024 locations on its way to a first day total of $72.7 million (more than Twilight’s entire opening weekend). Its first weekend total was $142.8 million, making it the #3 all-time and #1 non-summer opening weekend of all time.
After the second weekend, its domestic total was $230.95M and worldwide was $473.95M. The film passed the $1/2 billion markworldwide in its third weekend. After four weekends, New Moon sat at $267.32M domestic. And the film ended its fifth weekend with a total $274.6M domestic and $634.7M worldwide on its way to a current theatrical total of $296.6M domestic and $709.7M worldwide.
In comparing the box office numbers for Eclipse vs. New Moon, due to the differences in number of theaters and screens, it would be best to follow the per theater and per screen averages (which I’ll be posting). That would be a more reliable indicator of how well this film is performing vs. the previous one. Not to mention that it’s a 6-day holiday weekend opening.
The key to the total weekend box office will be the percentage drop (or increase) from one day to the next, especially Friday to Saturday.Twilight dropped 40.8% from Friday to Saturday its first weekend. New Moon dropped 41.8% the first Saturday after it opened. So that’s the key to this weekend. No matter how well Eclipse does over the next couple of days it won’t hold up if there’s a precipitous decline on Saturday.