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Eclipse Overshadows Competition

July 6th, 2010

Independence Day long weekend may not have seen as many records fall as some were hoping, but every film in the top five topped expectations (albeit by tiny margins in some cases). Overall the box office pulled in $188 million over the three-day weekend, which was an increase of 15% from last weekend, and $250 million over the four-day weekend, which was up 16% from last year. Year-to-date, 2010 has now amassed $5.66 million in ticket sales, up close to 4% from last year's pace. Higher ticket prices for 3D movies does have something to do with that, but I think the studios should still be happy with these results.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opened at a record setting pace with the widest release, most lucrative midnight showings, and best Wednesday box office. It did sink on Thursday, but not as much as some anticipated, while its weekend numbers were likewise strong. Granted, over the three-day weekend it missed Thursday's prediction with $64.83 million, but it was a massive hit on Monday, giving the film $83.64 million over four days and $176.38 million after six. It is very possible that the film won't make that much money during the rest of its run, even with good reviews; however, it is also very possible that the studio is already in the black on this film.

Opening in second place was The Last Airbender with $17.51 million on Thursday, $40.33 million over the three-day weekend, and $69.32 million in total. This is better than expected, especially its opening day, but there are some troubling signs. Firstly, its reviews can best be described as among the worst of the year, while the Fanboy Effect will likely be massive. Additionally, the film cost $280 million to make and advertise and it might not earn that much worldwide. This was not quite the return M. Night Shyamalan was hoping for. Granted, it was his biggest opening since The Village and the third best of his career, but I don't think this film will be turned into a franchise. Not unless it has much better legs than expected and it stuns overseas.

Toy Story 3 hit another milestone over the weekend by becoming just the second Pixar film to reach $300 million, doing so on Monday. With $30.28 million / $43.06 million over the weekend, the film pushed its total to $301.88 million after just 18 days in release. Granted, this was nowhere near the record for Fastest to $300 million, but at this point in its run, Up had $110 million less in the bank and it pulled in $100 million more during its run. Although, so far Toy Story 3 isn't showing the same legs. The film is closer to WALL-E in that regard. That film made about the same during the four-day Independence Day long weekend, while during the rest of its run pulled in nearly $100 million. All of this does suggest that Toy Story 3 could be the first $400 million movie of the year, but it will be very close.

With $19.05 / $26.05 million over the weekend, Grown Ups was able to match Thurday's prediction more or less. (It was a little less over three days, but a little more over four.) This lifted its running tally to $84.63 million after just 11 days of release and by this time next week, it should have reached $100 million in total.

Knight and Day added $10.44 million / $14.15 million over the weekend for a total of $49.46 million after two. Even reaching $70 million might be out of the question, which means this will be the second worst box office performer for Tom Cruise this millennium.

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Filed under: The Last Airbender, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Grown Ups, Toy Story 3, Knight and Day