July 5, 2010 / 4:54 PM / in 7 years

"Twilight" sequel eclipsed by earlier installment

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Estimated ticket sales for the latest “Twilight” movie were revised downwards for the second time in as many days on Monday, although the vampire romance still drew plenty of fans to North American theaters.

<p>Film director David Slade of Britain (C) gestures as he is flanked by U.S. actress Ashley Greene and Australian actor Xavier Samuel while posing during a photocall to promote their latest film "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" in Madrid June 28, 2010. REUTERS/Sergio Perez</p>

“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” earned about $82.5 million during the four-day U.S. Independence Day holiday weekend, taking its total to $175.3 million since it opened on Wednesday.

If the latest estimates hold when final data are issued on Tuesday, “Eclipse” will trail its predecessor by about $4 million. “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” earned $179 million in its first six days in November, without the benefit of a summer holiday.

Summit Entertainment had hoped for much stronger sales. On Saturday, it predicted four-day sales of $106 million and a six-day haul of $199 million. The numbers dropped to $89 million and $181 million the next day.

The studio said it was difficult to predict how sales would fare during the weekend since the film’s core audience of young women was distracted by holiday festivities.

“Eclipse” will still be massively profitable for the studio, as the film cost just $68 million to make. Summit was also 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.”

Updated foreign sales were not immediately available. The studio said on Sunday that the film pulled in $100 million from 42 countries.

“LAST AIRBENDER” OUTPERFORMS

Opening at No. 2 was the family film “The Last Airbender,” which exceeded expectations despite being one of the worst-reviewed movies of the year.

Director M. Night Shyamalan’s $150 million adaptation of a Nickelodeon cartoon series earned $53.2 million for the four-day period. Including Thursday sales, its total stands at $70.5 million, distributor Paramount Pictures said.

The Viacom Inc unit had hoped for a $50 million-plus opening over the five days. The film received a poor “C” rating in CinemaScore exit surveys, but the studio said that its hits “Cloverfield” and “Shutter Island” also drew similar scores.

After two weeks at No. 1, Walt Disney Co’s Pixar cartoon “Toy Story 3” -- one of the best-reviewed movies of the year -- slipped to No. 3 with $42.2 million. Its total rose to $301 million, making it the third-biggest movie of the year behind “Alice in Wonderland” ($334 million) and “Iron Man 2” ($308 million). The foreign total rose to $153.2 million.

Rounding out the top five were two movies that opened last weekend and each dropped two places: Adam Sandler’s “Grown Ups” with $26.5 million and Tom Cruise’s “Knight and Day” with $14 million. Their respective totals rose to $85.1 million and $49.3 million. “Grown Ups” was released by Sony Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp. “Knight and Day” was released by 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp.

Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Stacey Joyce

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