New "Twilight" sequel earns less than predecessor

Sun Jul 4, 2010 3:15pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The latest "Twilight" movie earned $262 million during its first five days at the worldwide box office, but fell short of forecasts in North America while the foreign sales picture was murky.

"The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" sold about $162 million worth of tickets in the United States and Canada, distributor Summit Entertainment said on Sunday.

But a day earlier, the closely held studio had forecast a five-day haul of about $173 million. Its predecessor, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," had earned about $165 million at the same point last November.

Summit said the Saturday forecast was simply a rough estimate, and it was not too concerned about "Eclipse" getting off to a slower start than "New Moon."

Even though the relentless hype on the vampire romance series soared to new levels, Americans in general are more concerned with U.S. Independence Day holiday weekend festivities, said Richie Fay, Summit's president of domestic theatrical distribution. He predicted strong midweek sales.

"I think it has a ways to go before we can say it's falling short," Fay said.

Internationally, the picture earned about $100 million from 42 countries. Direct comparisons with "New Moon," which opened to $118 million from just 25 countries, were difficult because Summit released data from just three countries: Spain, Italy and Australia.

Sales in all three countries were lower for "Eclipse" before adjusting for exchange rate movements, theater counts and the number of days of release. The film will add 22 countries next weekend, including Britain, France, which were in the first batch of "New Moon" foreign sales data.

Back in North America, Summit was heartened that more male moviegoers were taking in the continuing romantic adventures of teen Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Men accounted for about one-third of the audience, up from one-fifth for "New Moon."   Continued...

<p>Cast member Robert Pattinson poses at the premiere of "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" during the Los Angeles Film Festival at Nokia theatre at L.A. Live in Los Angeles June 24, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>