'Eclipse' Dips on Thursday, 'Airbender' Debuts Solidly
by Brandon Gray
July 2, 2010
On Thursday, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse raked in $24.2 million to lead the daily box office, while The Last Airbender blew into second with an estimated $16.35 million first day gross.
Eclipse scored the second highest-grossing non-opening Thursday ever, behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen's $29.1 million, despite plummeting 65 percent from its massive $68.5 million Wednesday opening. Its two-day tally stands at a mighty $92.7 million, trailing New Moon's $115 million though flying much higher than the first Twilight's $57.3 million.
After such a fevered opening day, an extreme drop-off was to be expected for Eclipse. After all, New Moon's second day was a Saturday, and it still fell 42 percent. Eclipse's decline, though, was the steepest on record coming off of a Wednesday opening. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which previously held the Wednesday opening record with $62 million, fell 53 percent at the same point. The more comparable Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince tumbled 62 percent from $58.2 million to $22 million, while Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was off 58 percent and Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace dove 57 percent.
Eclipse has been gunning for Spider-Man 2's Independence Day record from 2004, and both pictures happened to have debuted on Wednesday, June 30, making for an apt comparison. Spider-Man 2 dipped 41 percent in its second day to $23.8 million, lifting its two-day haul to $64.3 million. Adjusted for ticket price inflation, those are the equivalent of an over $30 million Thursday and over $82 million total. Spider-Man 2 went on to gross $88.2 million for the weekend, or approximately $113 million adjusted. At this rate, it would be surprising for Eclipse to continue to out-pace Spider-Man 2.
Playing on approximately 4,600 screens at 3,169 locations or considerably less than Eclipse's estimated 8,200 screens at 4,416 locations, The Last Airbender notched the fifth highest-grossing Thursday opening of all time, though it was far behind fourth place Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull's $25 million and was a fraction of the last two Star Wars movies. Airbender's $16.35 million more than doubled the Thursday start of the somewhat comparable title Jumper, and it was greater than Pokemon: The First Movie's first day (a Wednesday) as well as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time's $10.2 million Friday opening.
Last Airbender's Thursday included around $3 million from its midnight launch, which was the largest midnight start of the summer for a non-sequel. Its location count included 1,606 venues offering 3D presentations, but the 3D share was unavailable as of this writing.
For full Eclipse and Last Airbender analysis, click here to read the Weekend Briefing.
• Weekend Briefing: 'Eclipse' Rises with Record Release
• 'Eclipse' Breaks Wednesday Record But Falls Short of 'New Moon'
• Weekend Report: 'New Moon' Opens with Deafening Howl
• 'New Moon' Shatters Opening Day Record
• Third 'Twilight' Dawns Summer 2010
• Weekend Report: Box Office Enters 'Twilight' Zone