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Eclipse Starts with $30 Million Overnight Record

June 30th, 2010

An opening day record still seems possible for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse after the movie opened with a massive $30 million in midnight shows in 4,000 theaters nationwide. That betters the $26.3 million opening night record that was held by The Twilight Saga: New Moon on its way to an all-time record $72 million opening day. The record for IMAX midnight shows was also beaten, with $1 million earned in 192 locations. The big question now is what this means for Eclipse's chances of breaking the opening day record.

New Moon earned $26.27 million at midnight shows and $46.43 million during the course of the rest of its opening day, playing in 4,024 theaters. That's an average of $11,538 per theater during the day. To equal the daily record, Eclipse needs another $42.71 million in 4,416 theaters, or $9,445 per theater, almost 20% less than its predecessor. That makes the task look fairly straightfoward. However, one also needs to factor in the fact that Eclipse is opening on a Wednesday, which will reduce first day sales somewhat.

It's hard to be certain how much that will impact sales, but a clue comes from the performance of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which also opened on a Wednesday, in July last year. Half-Blood Prince earned $22.2 million at midnight shows and $58.2 million overall on its opening day. If Eclipse has the same ratio, it will hit $78.6 million for the day. Half-Blood Prince, however, also saw about a 20% drop in daytime ticket sales per theater compared to the last Friday Harry Potter opening, 2005's Goblet of Fire. That would suggest an opening day closer to $72 million for Eclipse. Either number is very encouraging, as far as posting a blockbuster opening day is concerned.

We'll post the opening day estimate and official numbers as soon as we receive them tomorrow morning.

Filed under: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse