The Twilight Saga: Eclipse remained in first place on Thursday with $24.21 million. The third installment of the popular franchise from Summit was down 65 percent from Wednesday. The sharp daily decline was widely expected given the film's massive opening day performance. In comparison, last year's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince experienced a 62 percent daily slide on its second day of release (which also fell on a Thursday).
Eclipse has grossed $92.74 million in two days, placing the film 16 percent ahead of the two-day start of Half-Blood Prince. Eclipse is running 19 percent behind the pace of last year's New Moon, but Eclipse is obviously at a disadvantage in the comparison thus far from opening on a Wednesday instead of a Friday. With the long holiday weekend still ahead of it, look for Eclipse to gain ground on New Moon in the coming days.
Paramount will not be releasing an official Thursday number until after the holiday weekend for The Last Airbender, but the pricey adaptation was off to a stronger than expected estimated start of $16.35 million. Included in that estimate is an estimated $3.0 million from midnight screenings. The opening day performance was impressive given the last-minute release date change from Friday to Thursday, though judging from yesterday's gross, fans of both the Nickelodeon animated series the film is based on and of director M. Night Shyamalan were clearly aware of the release date change. While reviews of The Last Airbender have been poor, the film is likely to be critic-proof over its first few days of release given its built-in fanbase.
Toy Story 3 slid one spot to finish in third, but the blockbuster sequel from Disney was up 2 percent over Wednesday with a daily gross of $7.48 million. That was a very solid daily hold for the film, especially with The Last Airbender entering the marketplace. Toy Story 3 has grossed $258.83 million in two weeks of release and continues to generate very strong midweek business. Yesterday saw Toy Story 3 surpass the $255.87 million unadjusted total gross of 2001's Monsters, Inc. Toy Story 3 will top the $261.44 million total gross of 2004's The Incredibles today and should zoom past the $293.00 million total gross of last year's UP by the end of Monday.
Sony's Grown Ups finished in fourth with $4.09 million. The PG-13 comedy starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Chris Rock held up nicely on Thursday as it was unchanged from Wednesday. The film appears to have been affected much less by the added presence of The Last Airbender than it was by Eclipse. Grown Ups exceeded expectations this week with a seven-day start of $58.58 million and continues to run on par with 2006's Click.