Smash "Twilight" sequel enters record books

Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:55pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The "Twilight" sequel scored the third-biggest opening weekend of all time at the North American box office on Sunday, as millions of young women swooned over the complex love triangle involving a high school girl, a vampire and a werewolf.

"The Twilight Saga: New Moon" earned an estimated $140.7 million during its first three days of release across the United States and Canada, closely held distributor Summit Entertainment said, crushing industry expectations.

The record for an opening is $158 million, set last year by the Batman sequel "The Dark Knight." The 2007 movie "Spider-Man 3" follows with $151 million. "New Moon" replaced "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" ($136 million) at No. 3.

The vampire romance is well on its way to exceeding the $193 million total of its predecessor, "Twilight," which was released exactly a year ago.

Summit Entertainment said "New Moon" also set an opening-day record with Friday sales of $72.7 million, surpassing the $67.2 million haul of "The Dark Knight."

That tally was bolstered by record-breaking midnight sales of $26.3 million. The old mark was set earlier this year by "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" with $22.2 million.


The closely held studio said "New Moon" also earned $118.1 million from 25 foreign markets. Data from individual countries were not immediately available.

Exit-polling data in North America indicated that women accounted for 80 percent of the audience and half the audience was under 21. Summit said male moviegoers increased their share by a couple of percentage points, and the new film also brought in a few more older women.   Continued...

<p>Actor Robert Pattinson, star of the new film "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" poses at the film's Los Angeles premiere November 16, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>