Weekend Recap: New Moon, New Record


Whoa. I knew you people liked vampires, but you really like vampires. If you haven’t heard by now, The Twilight Saga: New Moon now ranks third in all-time opening weekends with a whopping $140 million take. It also ranks No. 1 in single day ticket sales with the $72.7 million it made on Friday alone.

It’s a new milestone for bad movies trying to kill at the box office. “New Moon” is now the most successful movie based on a book ever. Depending on how the total gross shakes out, “New Moon” could eclipse (unfortunate pun) every Harry Potter film, all of which were better than this movie, probably. Thanks to your unfailing support of this book series and craving to see those stories come to life on the big screen no matter the cost or quality, producers everywhere are going to try and give us more stuff like the “Twilight” series.

So you had your itch scratched to see Bella, Edward and Jacob’s next adventure in abstinent romance, but is that worth the message of “who cares about quality, give us familiarity” being broadcast in dollar signs to the doorstep of every producer in Hollywood?

I can’t say I don’t love it when books that I’m a fan of make it to the big screen. There’s an undeniable allure there, but I can’t say I’d go opening weekend no matter what if the movie got a scathing review.

There’s already massive oppression of adapted material over original material in the movies. There was a report recently published across most film sites pointing out how few films that won Best Picture were original works. The success of “New Moon” (while not part of the Oscar conversation, obviously) is more ammunition for producers to say no to aspiring writers with original ideas. In other words, for every District 13 there’s a “New Moon” reminding producers that it’s a far better investment to make a movie from something that already has a fan base/following.

So yes, if you saw “New Moon,” particularly if you’re not a big fan but you went anyway, you should feel a bit guilty after reading this post. As exciting as new records are, they shake the industry. I’m sure this week alone studios will secure the rights to 50 different vampire or romance or tweenage-centeric books and more than ever those projects will be put into production whereas previously there was skepticism.

  1. The Twilight Saga: New Moon – $140.7 M (weekend) … $140.7 M (gross)
  2. The Blind Side – $34.1 M … $34.1 M
  3. 2012 – $26.4 M … $108.1 M
  4. Planet 51 – $12.28 M … $12.28 M
  5. A Christmas Carol – $12.27 M … $79.8 M
  6. Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire – $10.9 M … $21.3 M
  7. The Men Who Stare at Goats – $2.8 M … $27.7 M
  8. Couples Retreat – $1.9 M … $105 M
  9. The Fourth Kind – $1.7 M … $23.3 M
  10. This Is It – $1.6 M … $70.2 M

Appropriately, inspirational true sports story The Blind Side blindsided most prognosticators to be the biggest surprise. I had pegged it as a possible dark horse but nevertheless predicted it to finish only fourth, so I can’t give myself too much credit.

For a sports film, that’s an impressive pull and you can give all the credit to Miss Sandra Bullock. Make no mistake, the difference between $20 and 35 million is definitely Bullock and her undeniable appeal to women filmgoers.

There’s no obvious flop this week, but 2012 dropping off as much as it did in its second week says something about the film’s long-term staying power. It might not make the Top 5 next weekend.

A Christmas Carol also went down more than expected. I figured the closer it got to Christmas, the better off this film would be, but it’s not close enough to Christmas yet. Perhaps the lesser drop off will occur next weekend, but almost a month into its run, that might be tough.

Out of the spotlight, Precious continued to climb upward taking in nearly twice as much as last weekend in an additional 455 theaters, but not enough to hang with the big releases. Also continuing to improve is An Education, the English indie ‘60s period romantic drama partly written by Nick Hornby (About a Boy, High Fidelity)

Check back for my weekend preview on Wednesday thanks to the holiday. I’ll still be predicting the 3-day weekend totals, but I’d have an unfair advantage by looking at the Wednesday and Thursday numbers to tell what would happen over the weekend.


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