Twilight came out in 2008 to a mixture of high buzz and abject horror. There were a lot of people who were major fans of the book series by Stephenie Meyer, while others consider Stephenie Meyer the worst author of all time. That might be a bit harsh. The first movie opened with mixed reviews, but smashed through all expectations with nearly $200 million domestically. A year later, New Moon came out and despite earning just 27% positive reviews. That's awful any way you look at it, but even so, it earned nearly $300 million at the box office. Clearly this franchise is critic-proof and I'm under no delusion that any of my criticisms will stop anyone from buying this 10-disc Blu-ray box set. I'm so convinced that no one will change their minds over my opinion of the movie that I'm going to keep that portion of the review to a minimum and concentrate on the extras instead. After all, anyone interested in this box set has already made up their mind about the movie and just want to know if this box set has enough extras to be worth the price.
Despite being released on Saturday, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 led all new releases scoring an easy first place finish on the DVD sales chart. In just two days, the DVD sold 2.36 million units and generated $42.74 million. This is on par with the previous film's opening week.
None of the new releases were able to reach the top five and only four were able to reach the top 30 on this week's sales chart. This left Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel in first place for the third week row as it sold an additional 263,000 units, lifting its running tally to 3.22 million units sold for $54.59 million total.
The week ending April 11 was one of the weakest weeks in a long time for new releases, with not a single one reaching the top five on the DVD sales chart. Only three reached the top 30. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel remained the best selling DVD with 394,000 units sold for the week, pumping its total sales to 2.93 million units after two.
The latest DVD sales chart reflects heavy discounts for pre-Easter sales, so it comes as no surprise that family films did so well. This includes Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, which led all new releases, scoring first place with 1.98 million units sold and $33.75 million in sales.
There were eight new releases to reach the top 30 on this week's sales chart, including two that were able to chart despite not coming out until Sunday. This includes The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which sold 3.16 million units in just two days, generating $74.41 million in the process.
There were several new releases on the sales chart this week; as many as nine, depending on how you look at things. The best selling DVD was definitely a new release: The Blind Side sold 2.54 million units generating $41.63 million in sales.
Not a big week in terms of total releases, but there are plenty of top-notch choices from every category. The best wide release on this week's list is The Princess and the Frog, which is a contender for Pick of the Week. It's not the only contender for that title. In fact, there are contenders in nearly every category, including limited releases (Bandslam on DVD), Foreign Language films (Broken Embraces on Blu-ray), TV on DVD (Breaking Bad: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray), and even Canadian (High Life on DVD). While all are worthy of adding to your DVD / Blu-ray collection, I'm going with The Princess and the Frog on Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack as the Pick of the Week.
More than half the films on this week's International Details column were international films, starting with sixth place Io, loro E Lara. That film placed first in Italy with $7.56 million on 608 screens over the weekend, giving it $12.91 million in total.
Black Lightning opened in sixth place internationally with $8.42 million on 798 screens in 5 markets.
Those markets include Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The latest from Timur Bekmambetov debuted in second place in his native Russia behind Avatar with an estimated $8 million on 700 screens.
It was a fantastic weekend at the box office as the top film topped expectations and broke records, admittedly by narrow margins, but records nonetheless.
Overall the box office pulled in $138 million, which was 42% higher than last weekend and an outstanding 56% higher than the same weekend last year.
Year-to-date, 2009 has earned $9.96 billion, extending its record and moving closer to the $10 billion milestone.
This time last year the cumulative box office was $9.15 billion, meaning 2009 has an 8.8% lead.
There are two wide releases this weekend, but mostly everyone is just talking about Avatar, its box office potential, and its obvious comparisons to Titanic.
It should have no trouble beating the combined $43 million made by all three wide releases this weekend last year, and will almost certainly make more during its opening weekend than the $53 million that Titanic made during its opening week.
And that's the low end of expectations.
On the high end, it has a number of records in its sights.
A couple of Asian films reached the top five and they were part of a large group of international films to chart this week.
In fact, five of the top ten and fourteen of the top thirty were truly international films.
However, the top three were all Hollywood blockbusters; in fact, they were the same three blockbusters that led the way last week.
The Twilight Saga - New Moon remained in first place with $22.29 million on 7,856 screens in 63 markets for a total of $357.48 million internationally and $624.80 million worldwide.
The film managed to remain it first place in South Korea with $2.59 million on 545 screens over the weekend for a total of $9.76 million after two.
Meanwhile, it is still strong in Germany and added $2.98 million on 736 screens over the weekend for a total of $29.52 million after three and it hit $40 million in the U.K. with $1.22 million on 458 screens over the weekend for a total of $40.57 million after four.
The film is rapidly running out of places to open, but it could end its run with $400 million internationally and nearly $700 million worldwide.
The box office was a little mixed this weekend with good news balancing the bad news. For instance, the two new releases in the top five both disappointed, but all three holdovers topped expectations.
Overall business was down 2.3% from last weekend, but up 6.0% from the same weekend last year, which is always the more important number.
Year-to-date, 2009 has now pulled in $9.79 billion, which is 8.6% higher than the same pace last year and more than $100 million more than the previous record.
It's official: 2009 has broken the record for the highest total box office, surpassing the total earnings for 2007 this week.
And the box office should only get hotter as we near Christmas.
This weekend, Disney releases its first "hand animated" film in more than five years, which should help it top the charts with ease.
In fact, I think it will top last year's number one film, The Day the Earth Stood Still, although I appear to be in the minority in that opinion.
A trio of films hit major milestones at the international box office this weekend, starting with The Twilight Saga - New Moon.
That film remained in first place with $41.83 million on 8,144 screens in 61 markets for a total of $320.04 million internationally and $575.40 million worldwide.
This week, it opened in South Korea with $4.07 million on 622 screens over the weekend and $5.68 million in total.
This is not a lot for the market compared to other Hollywood blockbusters, but it is almost as much as the original made during its entire run and it will surpass the earlier film by next week.
Meanwhile in Germany, the film did just that with $5.76 million on 703 screens over the weekend and $25.39 million after two, which is significantly more than the $22.65 million the original made there.
At this pace, New Moon will have little trouble earning more internationally than Twilight made worldwide, while it will crack $600 million worldwide by the weekend.
It was one of those good news / bad news weekends; however, the bad news was minor compared to the overwhelming positive stories to talk about. Yes, the overall box office plummeted 47% from last weekend to $99 million, but that was expected for a post-holiday weekend and it was still 20% higher than the same weekend last year. Also, total ticket sales for the year now sit at $9.66 billion, which is not only 8.5% higher than last year's pace, it is within a rounding error of 2007's record-setting total.
That means it is possible that 2009 has already set the record for biggest yearly box office with three weeks left in the year.
The Blind Side rode tremendous word of mouth to a 3rd weekend victory at the box office, according to studio estimates released on Sunday.
Although the movie fell nearly 50% from its Thanksgiving performance, that was better than any other movie in the top ten, and gave the drama a safe $5 million lead over second place New Moon.
Blind Side is estimated at $20.44 million for the weekend, New Moon will come in around $15.7 million.
While there's no scientific basis for blaming Tryptophan for post-Thanksgiving dinner lethargy, there's ample evidence that the post-Thanksgiving weekend fills moviegoers with apathy. This weekend will be no different and despite there being four films that at least have a shot at placing in the top ten, none really have a shot at first place. That said, three of the four should top last year's number one new film and December should begin on a strong note.
The Twilight Saga - New Moon remained in the top spot on the international chart with $82.38 million on 8,292 screens in 52 markets for a total of $251.33 million internationally and $482.28 million worldwide.
This includes a number of new markets for the film, but most were of the smaller variety.
It did place first in Germany with $16.95 million on 703 screens, but that includes previews.
On the other hand, it bombed in Japan, opening in fifth place with just $792,000 on 197 screens and was even worse in South Korea, debuting in eighth place with $129,000 on 47 screens over the weekend and $166,000 in total.
As far as holdovers go, the film was surprisingly consistent at roughly 60% down in most major markets.
This includes the U.K. where it was down 63% to $7.11 million on 504 screens; however, it still managed first place in that market, while it now has $33.57 million after just two weeks of release compared to the lifetime total of $16.31 million for its predecessor.
It is important to note that Twilight was surprisingly weak in the U.K. compared to its box office performance in most major markets.
That said, New Moon has topped the lifetime total of the earlier film in every single major market it opened in last weekend, which is an amazing feat.
It has yet to open in only a few other markets, but unless the film cost a lot more to make than has been reported, it has already shown a sizeable profit.
There were more than half-a-dozen films to top $10,000 on the per theater chart, including The Princess and the Frog, which earned close to $800,000 in just two theaters for an average of $393,095. Broken Embraces saw its per theater average rise by more than 10% to $58,993, which bodes well for its chances to expand. Next up was Me and Orson Welles with an average of $15,910 in 4 theaters, while The Road opened with $1.5 million in 111 theaters for an average of $13,534. A trio of top ten moves rounded out the $10,000 club with The Blind Side earning an average of $12,774, Precious took in an average of $10,680, and finally The Twilight Saga - New Moon was right behind with $10,606.
Thanksgiving was a record-breaking weekend in more than one way.
First, total ticket sales amounted to $188 million over three days and $273 million over five, which is a record for the long weekend.
Over the three-day portion of the weekend, the box office was actually down 28% from last weekend, but compared to last year it was up just under 16%, while the five-day total was nearly 17% higher.
Year-to-date, 2009 has earned a total of $9.52 billion, which is 8.4% higher than the same point last year.
In fact, 2009 is now the third-highest-grossing year of all-time and just $150 million away from earning the crown.
Breaking the record for total box office is just a matter of when, not if, while 2009 could be the first year total ticket sales crack $10 billion.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon held on to top spot at the box office over the weekend, but only by a couple of million dollars, according to studio estimates released on Sunday.
The Blind Side had a fantastic second weekend, with an 18% increase from its opening, and came close to pulling off a surprise victory.
It's Thanksgiving long weekend, one of the best holidays in terms of box office drawing power. However, none of the new releases seem like they have what it takes to really draw in moviegoers. On the other hand, New Moon broke a number of records last weekend, and it has a slim chance at breaking a few more this weekend. Even if it doesn't, it should top the top film from last year, Four Christmases, which should lead to another gain year-over-year.
The winners of our New Movie, Old Prize contest were determined and they are...
There were two movies that cracked the $100 million level on this week's international chart, including the new number one film, The Twilight Saga - New Moon, which opened with $124.22 million on 6,578 screens in 24 markets over the weekend for a total opening of $136.01 million.
Its best opening came in the U.K. where it pulled in $19.38 million on 497 screens, while it also cracked $10 million in a number of major markets, some of which reached the mark if you include midweek numbers.
In France, it made $17 million on 751 screens, which was the ninth best American release in that market.
In Spain, the film made $15.16 million on 634 screens, which includes the third best Wednesday opening in that market.
Australia and Italy had nearly identical openings with the former pulling in $14.85 million on 530 screens and the latter earning $14.34 million.
Brazil was also impressive with $11.22 million on 411 screens.
Broken Embraces opened on top of the per theater chart with an impressive average of $53,556 in two theaters, while The Fantastic Mr. Fox was in a close second place with an average $50,878 in four theaters. The overall box office leader, The Twilight Saga - New Moon, placed third with $35,497 in more than 4,000 theaters. Precious saw its best numbers of its run so far, pulling in nearly $11 million in just over 600 theaters for an average of $17,300. The Sun opened with $11,588 in one theater while The Blind Side opened with an average of $10,971 in more than 3,000 theaters.
Breaking: New Moon's final weekend tally, just released by Summit was $142,839,137.
Friday clocked in at $72,703,754.
Full charts will be posted shortly.
New Moon broke all manner of records over the weekend, which was great news for Summit, and for the industry as a whole.
New Moon made more all by itself than all other movies combined pulled in last weekend and the overall box office was $259 million, the second biggest weekend on record.
Compared to last week, we saw a 85% increase, while compared to the same weekend last year, 2009 grew by 57%.
Year-to-date, 2009 has now pulled in $9.20 billion, which is just shy of 8.0% higher than last year's pace.
Additionally, it is just ahead of 2002's final tally, making 2009 the sixth biggest year so far, and we have more than a full month ahead, including two major holidays.
Summit Entertainment just released a weekend estimate of $140.7 million for New Moon.
If the number holds, that will be the third-biggest weekend of all time.
We'll have a full report and all the weekend estimates shortly.
After enjoying impressive box office and home market sales over the last year for Twilight, the industry knew that Summit had a potential blockbuster franchise on its hands.
This weekend has proved that they have a franchise as big as anything else in the industry.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon opened on Friday with an extraordinary estimated $72.7 million, the biggest single day in box office history (see list).
And, while it couldn't quite maintain that pace through the entire weekend, the studio reported a final weekend estimate of $140.7 million this morning, the third-biggest weekend of all time (see list).
The Twilight Saga: New Moon made box office history on Friday, earning more money in a single day than any other movie.
Its opening day figure, including midnight screenings that earned $26.3 million, was an extraordinary $72.7 million, according to early estimates.
That's $5 million more than The Dark Knight's opening day last year, and gives the movie a shot at posting the biggest weekend ever, which is a record also currently held by The Dark Knight with $158 million.
That's still a tall order, since The Dark Knight benefited from a July release, but after a day like that, anything seems possible.
Everyone in the industry was expecting the opening of The Twilight Saga: New Moon to be big, but few would have predicted that it would top the performances of The Dark Knight and Harry Potter to record the biggest midnight opening in movie history.
But that's exactly what it did, as it earned a massive $26.27 million in 3,514 theaters to beat the previous record of $22.2 million, held by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
This could be a surprising weekend at the box office, as the buzz for New Moon has hit new heights of insanity.
There's no doubt that it will be the number one film of the weekend, and almost no doubt that it will top Twilight, which was the number one film this week last year.
It appears the only real question is how many records can it break along the way.
There's a Megawide release next week, The Twilight Saga - New Moon, which is the target film for this week's box office prediction contest. However, more to the point the newest Star Trek movie comes out on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, And that movie has a lot to do with this week's contest. In order to win, one must simply predict the opening weekend box office of The Twilight Saga - New Moon.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), regardless of if they are over or under, will win a copy of Star Trek - The Original Series - Season Two on Blu-ray. It's only one prize, but it's a big one.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
October was not a month to remember, as only two films really beat expectations. (Although Paranormal Activity was the most unexpected hit during the October, it actually opened in September, so one could argue it's not really an 'October hit'.) This month we have a massive collection of potential blockbusters, some potential Oscar contenders, as well as a few unfortunate films that might be squeezed out by the competition. Compared to last November, we might have the same number of $100 million hits, assuming all movies match expectations (fat chance); we have a limited release from this month become the Awards Season darling and reach that milestone (monstrously unlikely); and we count The Princess and the Frog as a November releases (intellectually dishonest). That said, if three or four legitimate November releases reach that milestone, then 2009 will be on pace to tie or break the record for most $100 million released in one calendar year. But overall, 2009 will likely see its lead over 2008 shrink during the next 30 days.