LOS ANGELES (AP) — "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" gobbled up $140.7 million the first three days the vampire romance was in theaters, while gaining $258.8 million worldwide, according to studio estimates.
"New Moon" placed third on the all-time domestic U.S. chart behind last year's $158.4 million opening weekend for the Batman blockbuster "The Dark Knight" and 2007's $151.1 million haul for "Spider-Man 3."
Among the top-10 all-time openings, "New Moon" is the only one that came outside of Hollywood's busiest time, the summer season. The movie adaptation of Meyer's next "Twilight" chapter, "Eclipse," arrives in the heart of summer, next June 30.
The No. 1 domestic debut for Summit Entertainment's "New Moon" was more than twice the $69.6 million haul over the same weekend last year for "Twilight," the first in the franchise based on Stephenie Meyer's novels.
"Obviously, with the success of 'Twilight' itself, sequels being what they are will generate X-number of dollars more, particularly if it's a satisfying sequel," said Richie Fay, head of distribution for Summit.
On Friday, "New Moon" set an all-time domestic high for opening day with $72.7 million, topping the previous record of $67.2 million by last year's "The Dark Knight.
Overall, Hollywood had its second-biggest non-holiday weekend ever, with final numbers expected to come in slightly behind the $260 million the industry rang up over the weekend of July 18, 2008, when "The Dark Knight" opened.
Compared to the same weekend last year, business was up 59 percent.
"New Moon" continues the story of teen romance between a school girl and a vampire (Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson), with the sequel adding a love triangle with a werewolf (Taylor Lautner).
Opening at No. 2 domestically this weekend was the Warner Bros. football drama "The Blind Side" with $34.5 million. The film stars Sandra Bullock in the real-life story of Baltimore Ravens football player Michael Oher, who was a homeless teen taken in by a wealthy family and enrolled in private school.
The previous weekend's top movie, Sony's disaster tale "2012," slipped to third-place with $26.5 million, raising its domestic total to $108.2 million. Worldwide, "2012" has taken in $449.8 million.
In limited release, Penelope Cruz and director Pedro Almodovar's latest collaboration, "Broken Embraces," opened big with $107,597 in two theaters for a $53,799 average. The Sony Pictures Classics romantic drama centers on a blind screenwriter relating the story of a lost love.
Nicolas Cage and director Werner Herzog's dark crime thriller "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" opened with $257,267 in 27 theaters, averaging $9,528 a cinema. Released by First Look Studios, "Bad Lieutenant" is the story of a drug-crazed cop on a manic murder investigation.
The huge spike in business this weekend sets the stage for big crowds over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday that begins Thursday, one of the busiest periods of the year at theaters.
Along with "New Moon" and other holdover movies such as Jim Carrey's holiday-themed "A Christmas Carol," new releases for Thanksgiving include the Robin Williams-John Travolta comedy "Old Dogs" and the post-apocalypse drama "The Road."
After a strong run in limited release, George Clooney's animated comedy "Fantastic Mr. Fox" expands into nationwide release the day before Thanksgiving.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," $140.7 million.
2. "The Blind Side," $34.5 million.
3. "2012," $26.5 million.
4. "Planet 51," $12.6 million.
5. "Disney's A Christmas Carol," $12.2 million.
6. "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," $11 million.
7. "The Men Who Stare at Goats," $2.8 million.
8. "Couples Retreat," $2 million.
9. "The Fourth Kind," $1.7 million.
10. "Law Abiding Citizen," $1.6 million.
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Universal Pictures and Focus Features are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co.; Sony Pictures, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount and Paramount Vantage are divisions of Viacom Inc.; Disney's parent is The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is a division of The Walt Disney Co.; 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox Atomic are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a consortium of Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Sony Corp., Comcast Corp., DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Quadrangle Group; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC Films is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp.; Rogue Pictures is owned by Relativity Media LLC; Overture Films is a subsidiary of Liberty Media Corp.
© 2009, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
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