To nobody's surprise, Summit's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse generated a truly massive opening day performance. The third installment of the popular fantasy franchise grossed $68.53 million in its first full day of release on Wednesday. That wasn't quite enough to top the $72.70 million opening day record of last year's The Twilight Saga: New Moon, but it did top the $67.17 million start of 2008's The Dark Knight for the second largest opening day gross of all-time. Eclipse did set a record for the largest Wednesday start of all-time, as it topped the $62.02 million opening day of last summer's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
The opening day performance of Eclipse was incredibly front-loaded towards its initial midnight screenings. The film's estimated midnight gross of $30 million (also a new record) made up a massive 44 percent of the day's total gross. In comparison, the $26.3 million midnight grosses for New Moon made up 36 percent of the film's opening day gross, while midnight grosses for last summer's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood prince made up 38 percent of that film's opening day gross. Midnight grosses for films opening on weekdays tend to make up a larger percentage of a film's opening day gross in comparison to films that open on a Friday, but Eclipse has clearly set a new benchmark in this area.
Going forward, there is the possibility that Eclipse could fall off faster than New Moon did. However, it is simply too early to tell at this point, especially with the long holiday weekend still ahead for the film. Check back tomorrow for the latest update on Eclipse and for news on the opening day performance of Paramount's the Last Airebender.
Speaking of The Last Airbender, the big-screen adaptation of the Nickelodeon animated series grossed an estimated $3.0 million in midnight grosses. Those grosses will be counted towards today's opening day take and represent a good start for the film, especially given the last minute release date change to Thursday. Given its pricey budget and negative early reviews, The Last Airbender needs to perform well over the holiday weekend.
Disney's Toy Story 3 saw its run at the top of the box office end yesterday, but the computer animated blockbuster still grossed a strong $7.32 million. In doing so, Toy Story 3 became the third release of 2010 to reach the $250 million domestic milestone. Toy Story 3 was down 11 percent from Tuesday, which represented one of the day's stronger daily holds among wide releases as holdovers were clearly affected by the added presence of Eclipse in the marketplace. Yesterday also saw Toy Story 3 surpass the unadjusted grosses of two fellow Pixar films; 2004's Cars and 1999's Toy Story 2. Up next for Toy Story 3 are the $255.87 million and $261.44 million respective total grosses of 2001's Monsters, Inc. and 2004's The Incredibles.
Sony's Grown Ups placed in third with $4.09 million. Like Toy Story 3, Grown Ups was down 11 percent from Tuesday. That represented a solid hold for the PG-13 comedy when considering the daily percentage declines of most other wide releases for the day. The six-day start for Grown Ups stands at $54.49 million. Grown Ups is currently running 12 percent ahead of the pace of 2007's I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and continues to run on par with 2006's Click.