Weekend box office: 'Eclipse' wins and 'Airbender' surprises
"The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" was the weekend's No. 1 movie, a ranking that even casual box office trackers easily predicted; despite its high suck factor, "The Last Airbender" had a solid weekend; and "Toy Story 3" is inching closer to overtaking "Iron Man 2's" overall gross. Now, the breakdown on your July Fourth weekend box office.
In its first five days of release since its Wednesday opening, "Eclipse" has earned $161 million, enough to make it the third highest grossing Independence Day weekend release ever, according to Box Office Mojo, but not quite as much as the $164.7 million "New Moon" made in its first five days. As the BBC points out, the total for "Eclipse" also falls shy of the $173 million forecast by Summit, the studio behind the franchise. But considering that the film's production budget came in around $68 million, I have to think Summit is pretty happy with that total, one that will only increase in the coming weeks.
M. Night Shyamalan has to be enjoying the fact that "The Last Airbender" came in second place, making $40 million over the weekend, and $57 million in its first four days of release (it opened Thursday). Pretty good for a movie that was slammed hard by critics and criticized by many core "Airbender" fans for its lack of East Asian actors in key roles. What explains the ticket sales?
The Post's Michael Cavna wonders if the casting controversy actually worked in the movie's favor, increasing the likelihood that some moviegoers would pay up out of curiosity. That's possible. Other factors may have been at play here, including: the very loyal members of the "Airbender" fan base, who probably didn't want to miss this event no matter how rancid the reviews were; the fact that the film was aimed at families, giving Mom and Dad a PG-rated movie option that didn't involve taking the kids to "Toy Story 3" for the fourth time (according to Box Office Mojo, half the audience was made up of parents and children under 17); and the pumped-up cost of those 3D tickets, which accounted for 54 percent of "Airbender's" ticket sales. Suddenly, at least to the studio executives, Shyamalan looks like a genius ... as long as "Airbender" does well enough to make back its production-budget money, plus more. It's still got a little ways to go to do that.
Business for "Toy Story 3" dropped off, but Woody and Buzz still brought in $30.1 million, bringing the film's North American total to $289 million. That makes it the third biggest movie of the year so far, a few mill away from second-place-sitter "Iron Man 2's" $308.2 million total.
"Cyrus" has emerged as one of the summer's notable indie hits. After three weeks in very limited release, it opened a little wider -- and by wider, I mean it's now in about 70 theaters -- and broke into the top 10. The Jonah Hill/John C. Reilly/Marisa Tomei triangular tale earned $770,000, or about $10,000 per screen, on average. Its total now stands at $1.4 million, almost as much as the summer's other indie sleeper favorite, "Winter's Bone." That buzzy and beautifully acted film has earned $1.7 million, also in limited release.
| July 5, 2010; 10:51 AM ET
Categories: Movies, Pop Culture | Tags: Box Office, Summer Movies
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