'New Moon' And 'The Blind Side' Clash At The Box Office -- An Expert Weighs In

"New Moon" opened to some pretty startling numbers last week. Taking in more than $140 million in three days, the "Twilight" sequel more than doubled the opening weekend performance of its predecessor. Now, just a week and a half later, the "New Moon"'s $230+ million in ticket sales already has the first movie's lifetime gross beat.

Last week, we spoke with Exhibitor Relations box office analyst Jeff Bock about what to expect from the holiday weekend and the current/future state of the franchise. He was kind enough to chat with us again yesterday now that the numbers -- which were below expectations, or so it seems -- have been tallied.

"It dropped 70%... a little more than [Summit Entertainment] probably expected," he said, adding that "$66 million over that five-day period" -- the holiday weekend -- "is still a huge number. And even before holiday planning cut the work week short, "New Moon" emerged from its opening weekend still kicking. "It was doing $10 million per day on Monday and Tuesday."

Bock went on to describe the 70% drop as "deceptive," given the stronger-than-average daily performance. What's more, the weekend saw an unexpected obstacle present itself, in the form of the Sandra Bullock-led drama, "The Blind Side."

"The real surprise of this weekend was 'The Blind Side' jumping up almost 20% [in attendance]," Bock said. "That doesn't happen, it doesn't matter what kind of a film it is. It's got $100 million in 10 days. This is, so far, the surprise of the holiday season." The obvious comparisons, he told us, are last year's "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" and "Taken," which were both box office surprise.

That said, "The Blind Side" wasn't as much of an obstacle as it might seem. Even with the attendance jump and the almost-claimed number one weekend spot, it's better seen as a complement to "New Moon" than a distraction.

"I think that anytime you have a film like 'Twilight' in there-- like when 'The Dark Knight' [hit theaters], it came in with 'Mamma Mia,' [which] did really well... as sort of a counter-programming, and both films just took off. And that's what you're seeing with ['New Moon' and 'The Blind Side']," Bock said.

"Sometimes you get big films... and it creates sort of a box office tsunami, it just breeds moviegoers," he continued. "[There was a time that a studio] would say, ''Twilight''s opening, let's not even release our film on that date.' But that's becoming less and less traditional now. even if there is a huge film that you know is going to do big business, sometimes you'll put your film out there and you'll... feed off of the hype. it just creates a general excitement about going to the movies."

Twilighters: do you have any interest in seeing "The Blind Side"? How many times have you seen "New Moon" now? Do you plan to go again?


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