And they said there was a slump. Buoyed by vampires and the worst reviewed movie of the year, the box office exploded this weekend like a Grucci Brothers fireworks display. Here’s a breakdown of the top five.
1. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: $69 million ($161 million total)
There is no possible way that the opening for Eclipse can be seen as anything other than a huge success. However! Despite laying claim to the widest release ever, Eclipse couldn’t top the $200 million five-day gross that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen opened to last summer. And its three-day total pales in comparison to the $142.8 million that New Moon gobbled up in November — though that should be expected with the release spread out over five days. Those quibbles aside, another $20 million in ticket sales on Monday will allow Eclipse to break the Fourth of July weekend record of $180 million held by Spider-Man 2. It’s official: Vampires are the new apple pie.
2. The Last Airbender: $40.6 million ($57 million total)
Maybe being the worst movie of the year isn’t such a bad thing. Despite near across the board hatred from critics, The Last Airbender managed $40.6 million over the three-day weekend and will likely top $70 million in receipts come Monday. Granted those numbers aren’t herculean, but consider: The three-day opening for The Last Airbender is bigger than the starts for Sex and the City 2, Prince of Persia, The A-Team and Knight and Day. It’s also the third best start for director M. Night Shyamalan, behind Signs and The Village. Couple that with an international-friendly product and this isn’t the Waterworld-style bloodbath many were expecting. Now let’s see how much things tumble in weekend two…
3. Toy Story 3: $30.1 million ($289 million total)
The bad news is that Toy Story 3 dropped almost 50 percent this weekend and fell into third place. The good news? So what! On Monday, the threequel will pass Up to become the second highest grossing film in the history of Pixar and it’s less than $50 million away from passing Finding Nemo to top the list. Everyone loves Buzz and Woody… except for those pesky Russians.
4. Grown Ups: $18.5 million ($77 million total)
Typical Adam Sandler. Off 54 percent, Grown Ups will easily cross $100 million and probably top out around $120 — which would put it in the same ballpark as I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and 50 First Dates. One major advantage that Grown Ups has for even greater success, however, is the calendar. The next big comedy of the summer — Steve Carell’s Dinner for Schmucks — doesn’t get released until the end of July.
5. Knight and Day: $10.2 million ($45.5 million total)
If you put Knight & Day in the same arena as the similarly themed Duplicity – remember, with Clive Owen and Julia Roberts? — then the $45.5 million grossed thus far is more than adequate. But only people working at Twentieth Century Fox are likely to cut this film that much slack. Down 49 percent, Knight & Day will be lucky to cross $80 million domestically. Maybe next time Tom Cruise should try playing a vampire. Again.
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