New ‘Twilight’ film eclipses box office rivals

LOS ANGELES, July 3 (BestGrowthStock) – The latest “Twilight” movie
sailed past the $100 million mark during its third day at the
North American box office, and was forecast to approach a
record-breaking $200 million by the end of the U.S.
Independence Day holiday weekend, according to estimates issued
on Saturday.

“The Twilight Saga: The Eclipse,” the eagerly anticipated
third installment in the vampire romance series, sold about
$121.4 million worth of tickets from Wednesday to Friday, said
distributor Summit Entertainment.

For the traditional Friday-Sunday portion, the privately
owned studio forecast sales of $80.2 million, and a four-day
total of $106.1 million with inclusion of the Monday holiday.
That would take its six-day haul to $198.9 million.

The record for an Independence Day release is held by
“Spider-Man 2,” which earned $180 million in its first six days
in 2004, having also opened on a Wednesday.

As for the other films in the “Twilight” series, “The
Twilight Saga: New Moon” earned $179 million in its first six
days during a nonholiday period in November. A year earlier,
the six-day haul for the first film, “Twilight,” was $88
million.

The actual weekend sales amounts for the new film could
vary widely when further estimates are issued on Sunday and
Monday. Studios sometimes err on the conservative side when
issuing forecasts. Final data will be released on Tuesday.

If initial estimates hold, “Eclipse” would rank No. 3 among
all-time six-day openers, behind “The Dark Knight” ($222
million) and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” ($215
million), according to Box Office Mojo.

The film revolves around the romance between teen Bella
Swan (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward Cullen (Robert
Pattinson), as werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) tries to
steal her heart away. Critics liked the film more than they did
the first two, according to Web site Rotten Tomatoes.

The family film “The Last Airbender” from “Sixth Sense”
director M. Night Shyamalan was another new release. The
two-day total for the Thursday release was $32.95 million, said
distributor Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc (VIAb.N: ).

After two weeks at No. 1, the Pixar cartoon “Toy Story 3”
was expected to slip to No. 3 for the weekend. It earned $10.5
million on Friday — vs. $28.6 million for “Eclipse” and $16.6
million for “Last Airbender” — taking its North American total
to $269.3 million, said Pixar parent Walt Disney Co (DIS.N: ).

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

New ‘Twilight’ film eclipses box office rivals