After less than two full days in theaters, "Eclipse" has already earned three major records: the widest domestic release of all time, the greatest-ever midnight opening at $30 million and the best Wednesday debut in Hollywood history with $68.5 million. Despite these successes, "Eclipse" wasn't able to beat "New Moon," the latest "Twilight" sequel's immediate predecessor, for single-best opening day.
" 'Eclipse' is draining opening-day box-office records with a fervor we haven't seen since, well, 'New Moon,' " Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock told MTV News. "If it would have been released on a Friday versus a Wednesday, it would likely hold the top one-day gross of all time."
Just shy of that record by less than $4 million, "Eclipse" is nonetheless on track to earn a whole lot of cash in its opening weekend and beyond — though it's not without some obstacles, including its predominantly female audience.
"What will be most interesting to see is whether or not Summit Entertainment can 'expand the brand,' and by that I mean cross over to the male demographic," said Bock, who noted that the opening-weekend audience for "New Moon" was nearly 80 percent female. "If they can establish a more male presence with the threequel, we could be looking at a weekend gross that works its way towards $100 million. However, if this plays out like 'New Moon,' we will be seeing a weekend gross of around $75 million."
Even if "Eclipse" manages to eclipse its predecessor by the end of the holiday weekend, Bock believes that the summer's biggest blockbuster may have already arrived in the form of "Toy Story 3."
"['Toy Story 3'] is already at $251 million, heading into a very family-friendly weekend," he said of Pixar's latest effort. "If 'The Last Airbender' doesn't show well, it will be a gravy train again for Woody and Buzz."
Bock expects that the only movie that could stand in the path of "Toy Story 3" isn't "Eclipse," but Christopher Nolan's "Inception." The Leonardo DiCaprio-starring action thriller hits theaters July 16 and has the potential to stay on top of the box office for several weeks.
"With the 'Matrix'-like visuals and secrecy [surrounding] the plot, it is the last, great hope for a summer blockbuster," Bock said. "There is no doubt adults and kids will flock to it, and if turns out to be genius, then look for it to hog the box-office pot from here to Labor Day."
With "Toy Story 3" and "Inception" in contention, "Eclipse" might not lord over the box office all summer long — but the film is virtually guaranteed to do extraordinarily well this coming weekend at the very least.
"We're more than likely looking at $175 million through Sunday and around $200 million for the holiday, including Monday," Bock said. "While that is an extraordinary sum, the film, like its predecessors, will drop like a rock, probably ending its haul with around $325 million. However, worldwide, we may be talking about $1 billion — so there's that."
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