Eclipse, the third film in the famed Twilight Saga, left not a dry or empty seat in the house last night as it steamrolled its way to the all-time midnight opening record. It also claimed the record for widest release of all time, starting its box office journey in well over 4,400 theaters. By the end of the night it had earned more than $30 million dollars, eclipsing (get it?) the record held by its franchise predecessor, Twilight: New Moon (which earned $26.3 million on its opening night last year).
The question now becomes whether or not Eclipse will overtake the $142 million dollar opening weekend that made New Moon the best opener of 2009, and it’s $296 million dollar total domestic take. It’s seems likely that it will surpass its predecessor, as well as this summer’s current clubhouse leader, Iron Man 2, which opened to the tune of $128 million and has grossed $307 million to date. The overall 2010 lead is held by Alice in Wonderland, which has earned Disney more than $334 million since its March 5th debut.
In all likelihood, Eclipse will enter July with the highest opening weekend of 2010. Though it’s likely to be a fleeting lead, as Christopher Nolan’s Inception drops into theaters in two weeks. Beyond that, the biggest competition for the yearly crown will come from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, which hits in late November.
For more on Eclipse, check out my rather positive review here.