First look: 'New Moon' almost eclipsed by 'Blind Side' over Thanksgiving
"The Twilight Saga: New Moon" is fading fast after its massive debut, while significantly more people are seeing "The Blind Side" compared with its box-office performance last weekend.
Tickets sales in the U.S. and Canada for Summit Entertainment's $50-million teen vampire drama plummeted 70% over the three-day weekend compared with a week ago, to a studio-estimated $42.5 million, demonstrating that interest among avid fans was heavily front-loaded and its box-office life is sure to be very short. Receipts for the first "Twilight" picture dropped 62.2% on the same weekend last year. The larger decline this year indicates that although interest in the sequel has grown significantly from the original, a not insignificant percentage of the opening weekend growth for the sequel came from people who saw "Twilight" later in its run last year but came out sooner for "New Moon."
The five-day domestic gross over the full holiday weekend for "New Moon" was $66 million, and its total is now $230.7 million. At the same point last year, total box office for "Twilight" was $119.7 million.
While "New Moon" had the largest second-weekend drop of any movie this year, "The Blind Side" went the opposite way. Its ticket sales rose 18%, the fourth-largest such increase ever for a movie playing at more than 3,000 theaters. Driven by extraordinary word of mouth after audiences gave the inspirational football drama starring Sandra Bullock an average grade of A-plus last weekend, "Blind Side" took in $40.1 million over the three-day weekend and $57.5 million for five days, putting it surprisingly close to "New Moon." The total gross for the movie, which was financed by Alcon Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros., is $100.3 million.
None of the weekend's three new movies in wide release proved particularly strong. The comedy "Old Dogs" was another disappointment in a tough year for Walt Disney Studios at the box office, collecting just $16.8 million for the weekend and $24.1 million over five days. The very similar "Wild Hogs," which also starred John Travolta and was directed by Walt Becker, opened to $39.7 million in March 2007 without the benefit of most people being out of work and school on its first Friday.
The martial arts flick "Ninja Assassin," financed by Dark Castle Entertainment and Legendary Pictures and distributed by Warner Bros., took in $13.1 million for the weekend and $21 million over five days, a decent start given its cost of just under $50 million. It's expected to do very well overseas, particularly in Asia given the popularity of its star, South Korea's Rain.
The stop-motion animated movie "Fantastic Mr. Fox," from 20th Century Fox, grossed a very weak $7 million for the weekend and $9.5 million since Wednesday. Including its solid results at four theaters the previous two weekends, the quirky adaptation of the Roald Dahl book directed by Wes Anderson has grossed $10.1 million. It cost about $35 million to produce.
Meanwhile, Disney's hopes that "A Christmas Carol," which cost nearly $200 million to make, would play strong through the holidays after its weak start continued to come true. Ticket sales for the digital 3-D picture rose 30% over the weekend, even higher than the 24% rise for "The Polar Express" in 2004, another 3-D holiday movie directed by Robert Zemeckis, whose performance the studio has been hoping to follow.
In limited release, Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" opened to a massive $712,000 in just two theaters, a mix of high demand and inflated ticket prices for an experience that included several hours of activities beyond watching the new hand-drawn animated flick. Over five days it took in $1.1 million.
Weinstein Co. opened "The Road," financed by 2929 Entertainment for $25 million, to a so-so $1.5 million from 111 theaters. The five-day total is $2 million.
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: Jae Head, left, Quinton Aaron and Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side." Credit: Ralph Nelson / Warner Bros.