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New Moon Rising

November 23rd, 2009

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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. Simply amazing.

As we've been tracking all weekend long, records fell to New Moon, starting before the weekend even began. The first of these was $26.27 million in midnight showings, topping the previous record held by The Dark Knight. It then went on to have the biggest single day at the box office, and tie the record for fastest time to $100 million. By the end of the weekend, it has managed $142.84 million, the third best weekend of all time and it became easily the best November debut of all time.

There are some warning signs going forward, however. For instance, the film earned the second weakest reviews for any movie to open with more than $100 million at the box office. (The only $100 million film to do worse with critics was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.) Additionally, while it smashed the midnight showing record and had the best opening day, it showed considerable weakness on Saturday and by Sunday was down to just $27.85 million. That's well below what The Dark Knight earned at this point in its run. It's not even that much higher than what 2012 pulled in last Sunday. New Moon is a movie that's going to get smacked around by the Fangirl Effect. Then again, it doesn't matter. It has already made more than enough to cover its production budget, and that's before you take into account its international numbers. By the time it reaches the home market, it will have made enough money to completely cover the cost of all three Twilight films in full. But while this is incredibly good news for Summit, I do have a word of caution for them. Well, two words: New Line. The movie industry is a fickle beast and it doesn't take too many poor choices to go from one of the most successful franchises of all time to no longer existing.

Second place went to The Blind Side with an even more impressive $34.12 million. Okay, it didn't make that much more than New Moon made during its slowest day of the weekend; however, this is twice as much as Thursday's prediction. Add in strong reviews and Sandra Bullock's track record with long legs, not to mention the upcoming holidays, and this film should become the 27th film of 2009 to reach $100 million, give or take a spot. (Disney's A Christmas Carol could beat it there, as could one of the Thanksgiving releases.) This would be Sandra Bullock's sixth film to reach $100 million, and her second of the year.

2012 landed on the lower end of expectations with $26.41 million during its second weekend of release. However, it still became the 25th film of the year to reach $100 million, meaning we are just four more away from reaching the record. (And there are two films currently in theaters that should reach that milestone.) It has performed even better internationally, which means that Sony will most likely recover all of their enormous investment in the movie.

Planet 51 missed expectations in terms of box office numbers with $12.29 million during its opening weekend. However, thanks to weaker than expected competition, it still managed to open in fourth place. It is a kids movie and Thanksgiving starts in just a couple of days, but even so its reviews are terrible and I question its long-term chances. With a production budget of $50 million, it will struggle to make a profit from here.

Disney's A Christmas Carol took a major hit over the weekend, down 45% to $12.28 million for a total of $79.84 million after three. Thanksgiving does start on Wednesday, and that will undoubtedly help the film's box office fortunes. In fact, it could do so well thanks to schoolchildren being home that it might reach $100 million by this time next week. Even if it doesn't get there within the next seven days, it will get there eventually. However, this will be a pyrrhic victory for Disney, which reportedly spent nearly $200 million making the movie.

As expected, Precious was knocked out of the top five, but it did add $10.88 million over the weekend for a total of $21.28 million after three weeks of release. At this point, further expansion is all but guaranteed, while if it can pick up several Oscar nominations, it might last long enough in theaters to reach $100 million in total. I'm not predicting it will, but it would be unwise to rule out that possibility.

Finally we get to the sophomore class, which this week consists of Pirate Radio. The film fell nearly 50% to $1.46 million over the weekend for a total of $5.18 million after two, which is a terrible result, but with an opening theater count of less than 1,000, it is not totally unexpected.


Filed under: The Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Blind Side, Precious (Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire), Disney's A Christmas Carol, Planet 51, The Boat That Rocked, 2012