Last Monday, the movie world was abuzz with talk of the "New Moon" box-office haul: $142.8 million domestically, when the final numbers came in — giving the "Twilight" sequel the third-biggest opening weekend ever.
Did that huge number presage box-office immortality for "New Moon"? Would the vampires and werewolves have enough staying power to rise to the level of the highest-grossing films in history, like "Titanic" and "The Dark Knight"? Last week, we suggested that the key to answering these questions would come after the second weekend. Now the numbers are in: $42.5 million from Friday through Sunday and $66 million when you factor in the entire five-day Thanksgiving holiday. What have we learned? With the indispensible help of BoxOfficeMojo.com, let's take a look.
"New Moon" vs. "Twilight"
Sometime last Friday, after barely a week in theaters, "New Moon" passed the $192.8 million total gross of "Twilight," the first film in the franchise, which stayed in theaters for 21 weeks. Needless to say, that's a staggering improvement. Yet "Twilight" beat out "New Moon" by one integral metric: total percentage drop from first week to second week. "Twilight" dropped 62 percent after its first week. "New Moon" dropped 70 percent. That 10 percent difference is noteworthy. While "New Moon" out-grossed "Twilight" by $73 million over the first week, the sequel outdid the original by only $16 million over the second weekend.
Looking at 2009
After only 10 days in theaters, "New Moon" has already become the sixth highest-grossing film of the year with $230.7 million, close on the heels of "Star Trek" ($257.7 million). "Up" and "The Hangover" both failed to cross the $300 million mark, while "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" just barely exceeded that milestone. The lone $400 million-plus movie of the year is "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."
Can "New Moon" equal or outdo that total? After a $108 million opening weekend, "Transformers" dropped 61 percent to $42.3 million. That's a smaller percentage drop, but its total is on par with the $42.5 million second weekend of "New Moon." It seems, then, that "New Moon" is in pretty good shape to take over the top spot of 2009.
Keep in mind that in its third weekend, "Transformers" contended with "Brüno" and "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs." "New Moon" will still face surprisingly successful "The Blind Side" but no other big releases in its third weekend.
The All-Time List
There are three ways to make it to the upper echelon of all-time biggest grossers: the slow and steady route ("Titanic"); the huge opening, followed by a measured decline ("The Dark Knight") and the re-release ("Star Wars").
Does "New Moon" have what it takes to join these vaunted films? Its 70 percent decline from first to second weekend does not bode well. "Titanic" jumped 24 percent to $35.4 million, while "Dark Knight" dropped just 53 percent after the first weekend for a second weekend pull of $75.2 million. But if "New Moon" manages to cross the $400 million threshold, it will vault into the top 10. That would be an amazingly impressive performance, especially considering that "Twilight" currently sits at 104 on the all-time list.
Check out everything we've got on "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."
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