'New Moon' Has Third-Biggest Opening Weekend Of All Time

'Twilight sequel pulls in $140.7 million.

#1 [movie id="414921"]"The Twilight Saga: New Moon"[/movie] ($140.7 million)

#2 [movie id="420164"]"The Blind Side"[/movie] ($34.5 million)

#3 [movie id="381911"]"2012"[/movie] ($26.5 million)

#4 [movie id="374831"]"Planet 51"[/movie] ($12.6 million)

#5 [movie id="356080"]"A Christmas Carol"[/movie] ($12.2 million)

The full extent of the "Twilight" phenomenon made itself known this weekend with the debut of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," the second installment in the supernatural romance franchise starring [movieperson id="262629"]Kristen Stewart[/movieperson], [movieperson id="365131"]Robert Pattinson[/movieperson] and [movieperson id="373803"]Taylor Lautner[/movieperson]. There was little to no doubt that "New Moon" would emerge as this weekend's box-office champion, but perhaps no one was prepared for just how successful Summit Entertainment's "Twilight" sequel would be.

On Friday alone, "New Moon" managed to earn $72.7 million, surpassing "The Dark Knight" as the single best opening day in cinema history. A hefty $26.3 million chunk of that Friday change came purely from midnight showings, propelling "New Moon" past "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" with the highest-grossing midnight opening of all time. "New Moon" also debuted with the biggest November opening ever and the third-best opening weekend of all time, taking that distinction away from "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

To put the success of "New Moon" in perspective, the first "Twilight" film — which opened almost a year ago to the day — earned only $69.6 million in its debut weekend, demonstrating just how widespread the "Twilight" craze has become in only 12 months.

The audience for the "Twilight" films isn't just made of young women pining for shirtless screen time from Pattinson and Lautner, either — the movie's audience, while mostly female, was divided evenly between viewers under and over the age of 21. Apparently, there is no age restriction when it comes to falling in love with vampire and werewolf heartthrobs.

The success of "Twilight" won't end with "New Moon" either, as "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" launches on June 30, 2010.

Despite the unprecedented victory for "New Moon," credit must be given to some of the film's other competitors this weekend. "The Blind Side," starring Sandra Bullock, managed a second-place finish with an impressive $34.5 million intake. "Planet 51," another newcomer, earned fourth place with $12.6 million. Holdovers "2012" and "A Christmas Carol" also performed adequately under the pressure of "New Moon," winding up with $26.5 million and $12.2 million apiece.

Upcoming Releases

Warner Bros. unleashes [movie id="381175"]"Ninja Assassin"[/movie] next weekend to combat the formidable vampires and werewolves of "New Moon," while Buena Vista hopes to corner the comedy market with John Travolta and Robin Williams' [movie id="344985"]"Old Dogs."[/movie]

Check out everything we've got on "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."

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