As reported in a previous article, Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, starring young movie icons Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, topped the North American box office chart for the third weekend in a row after collecting an estimated $16.9 million. Breaking Dawn is now the first Twilight movie at the no. 1 spot for three weekends (consecutive or otherwise).
Now, in the last hour or so, several people have sent us messages asking what that means in terms of the film's ultimate domestic box office gross. Well, as mentioned in one my previous posts, Breaking Dawn earned more on its third weekend than any of the other Twilight Saga movies: David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse earned $13.42 million in July 2010, Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon earned $15.42 million (about $16 million today*) on the first weekend in December 2009; and Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight brought in $13.04 million (about $14.5 million today) in early December 2008.
Yet, with a cume of $247.3 million, Breaking Dawn continues to trail New Moon in North America. At this stage (Day 17) in 2009, New Moon had raked in $255.36 million (about $271 million today). Also, I should add that Eclipse had collected $260.96 million (about $263 million today) by Day 17 — though comparisons are iffy here because Eclipse opened in the summer, when millions of teenagers were out of school; weekday business, as a result, was quite strong. By Day 17, Twilight had pulled in $138.4 million (about $153 million today) in 2008.
It also bears mentioning that the first Twilight movie, coming from a lower box office level, was down 62 percent and 50 percent on weekends 2 and 3. New Moon was down 70 percent and 64 percent. Eclipse was down 51 percent (following a "mellow" weekend, as the film opened on a Wednesday) and 58 percent. Breaking Dawn was down 70 percent and 59 percent. In that regard, Breaking Dawn has displayed a stronger hold than New Moon, and is only very slightly behind Eclipse.
Depending on how it fares in the coming weekends, Breaking Dawn should end up $10-$15 million (not adjusted for inflation) behind both New Moon and Eclipse at the domestic box office. In other words: though not impossible, it's unlikely Breaking Dawn will pass the $300m mark. Its ultimate domestic total should reach about $285m-$290m, which is only slightly higher than what was initially predicted when the latest Twilight movie opened a little over two weeks ago.
Adapted by Melissa Rosenberg from Stephenie Meyer's bestselling novel, in addition to Pattinson, Stewart, and Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 also features Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Dakota Fanning, MyAnna Buring, Booboo Stewart, and Michael Sheen.
Plus Maggie Grace, Lee Pace, Sarah Clarke, Anna Kendrick, Christian Serratos, Christopher Heyerdahl, Michael Welch, Christian Camargo, Julia Jones, Gil Birmingham, Kiowa Gordon, Billy Burke, Bronson Pelletier, Charlie Bewley, Tyson Houseman, Daniel Cudmore, Jamie Campbell Bower, Casey LaBow, Mia Maestro, and Alex Meraz.
* Every now and then I remind readers that those inflation-adjusted box office figures are approximations based on average ticket prices. It doesn't necessarily reflect with exactitude how much, say, any specific 2006 or 2008 release would earn today.
One important problem in the last couple of years is the resurgence of 3D movies — and 3D-movie ticket prices — thanks to James Cameron's Avatar. Those have inflated overall average ticket prices. So, what happens is that pre-2010 2D movies such as Twilight and New Moon have their adjusted 2011 figures inflated above reality, i.e., they would have made less money today than the inflation-adjusted chart suggests. In other words, the gap separating, say, Breaking Dawn Part 1 and New Moon wouldn't be as wide.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn photo: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment