Saturday, July 3, 2010

“Eclipse” Brings in $120.9M After Only 3 Days!


Early estimates are in for Friday, July 2. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse finished in first place, taking in another $28.2M. Adding in the film’s opening day box office take of $68.53M and Thursday total of $24.2M brings its 3-day cumulative domestic total to $120.9M.

Industry analysts are projecting the film will take in $77.5M for the 3-day weekend of Friday-Sunday, $110M for the 5-day period of Thursday-Monday, and $178M for Wednesday-Monday. As I mentioned earlier, the last film that opened on a Wednesday, June 30 on the eve of a 4th of July weekend was Spider-Man 2 in 2004. That film earned $180M during that period. For many, that is the number to beat. Some insiders say that $187M isn’t out of the question for Eclipse.

Friday’s number is only an estimate for now until actual figures are released. The weekend projections are based on formulas that allow analysts to predict fairly closely what the weekend will look like based on the previous days’ numbers and, therefore, what the weekend will look like.


Meanwhile, there’s been some confusion over why Eclipse’s first two days won’t count towards the weekend. It makes sense on the face of it, but let’s look back at the last movie that opened on a Wednesday, June 30 on the eve of a 4th of July weekend, Spider-Man 2 in 2004. As you can see here, its first two days in release, Wednesday, June 30 and Thursday, July 1, aren’t counted in the weekend numbers. There are two listings: the 3-day weekend of Friday to Sunday and the 4-day weekend of Friday through the Monday holiday. But they don’t count the first two days it was in release. They aren’t counted as part of the weekend although, as you can see, they are included in the film’s cumulative total and they are counted towards record-keeping. If there is any movie that Summit (and the media and public) should be comparing Eclipse to it should be Spider-Man 2, not New Moon.

They do tabulate records for films that open on a Wednesday or Thursday of a Monday holiday weekend. There is a 5-day holiday weekend record from Thursday-Monday for films that opened on a Wednesday or Thursday and a 6-day holiday weekend record from Wednesday-Monday for films that opened on a Wednesday. There are also 3-day (Friday-Sunday) and 4-day (Friday-Monday) records for holiday weekends, of course, as well as non-holiday records for 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-day opening periods (and on and on…). But these are all records which would only allow Eclipse to be compared to other films which were in theaters at the time, not against films which hadn’t even come out yet.

Once Friday numbers are made official later today, now that the film is in competition with the rest of the movie marketplace, we’ll be able to begin to judge the success of the film’s early days. In addition, Eclipse added 52 theaters Friday to increase from 4,416 to 4,468, beating the record for the widest release of all time which it set on Wednesday.

Then why did Summit release the film on a Wednesday? To get the jump on the competition. Most new movies open on a Friday. If Eclipse had opened the same day as all the other new holiday weekend films it would obviously have been competing with all of them. By opening earlier, on Wednesday, it only had to go up against the “old” films that were already out. There was no competition against anything new (not that The Last Airbender has, or looks like it will, give it much competition).

So the idea was not to compete against or beat New Moon’s early numbers. That may be a goal of some people but the idea is to make money, and maybe set some records in the process. The fact is, there is no way that a “weekend” that begins on a Wednesday can be compared to a “normal” 3-day weekend (when New Moon opened). So any comparison between the two simply isn’t valid — not until at least another week has gone by. Even then it will be difficult to put one up against the other since their release patterns are so different.

Is Summit happy with the first days’ box office returns? I don’t know but I’m fairly sure they must be. Again, the goal was not to “beat New Moon.” That may be something the press or some others will latch on to but it’s simply not a fair comparison. As I said above, it would make more sense to look at Spider-Man 2. It was very easy to compare Twilight to New Moon since they opened at the same time one year apart. Not so much New Moon to Eclipse. Let’s wait a week…or a few…or a month or more…before starting to compare the two. Better yet, let’s just see how the film does over time in its own right, and maybe see if it sets more records. And, if you like it, tell your friends.


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