Box Office: New Moon is Big, but the Dark Knight is Still Bigger

Give them all the credit in the world: the legion of Twilighters that blanketed mall theaters across the country did their best, but when the dust cleared, the power of squealing teenage girls couldn’t quite trump the commitment of America’s fanboys. While Summit’s “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” took a healthy bite out of the box office, culminating in a $140 million chunk over the weekend according to studio estimates, it wasn’t nearly enough to overthrow the reigning champ, Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight”, which opened with $158.4 million a year ago.

In all-time 3-day openings, “The Dark Knight” remains king, while Sam Raimi’s “Spider-man 3” remains second with $151 million, with “New Moon’s” $140 good enough for third place. Though it didn’t top previous movies in the States, “New Moon” was dominant overseas, putting its worldwide total for its first week of release at $258.8 million. “New Moon” also easily bested “Twilight”, the first movie in the franchise, which opened with a then-impressive $69.6 million, shocking everyone who had never head of the title “Twilight” before. Needless to say, box office business for next year’s “Eclipse”, due out a scant seven months from now in the Summer of 2010, bodes well for Summit Entertainment’s pocket books.

While every teenage girl within 200 miles of the nearest mall flooded to “New Moon”, everyone else chose the true-life football drama “The Blind Side”. The Sandra Bullock film, about the real-life story of NFL football player Michael Oher, opened with an impressive $34.5 million in its debut, good enough for a strong second place finish. The animated “Planet 51” opened in fourth place with $12.6 million. The film, which stars Dwayne Johnson as a human astronaut who crash-lands on an alien planet, entered theaters with poor reviews. Over in indie land, Werner Herzog’s “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” opened in 27 screens, good enough for $257,000 in its limited release debut.

Last week’s #1, Roland Emmerich’s disaster film “2012” fell to third place in its second week. The film’s $26.5 million take gives it $108 million in two weeks of release, and seems to have it its ceiling. Sony better hope not, given the film’s $200 million price tag. Meanwhile, it’s looking Jim Carrey’s own $200 million dollar movie, “A Christmas Carol” is encountering some major humbug at the theaters. In it’s third week of release, the film has only taken in $79 million so far.

Weekend Box Office Top 10 (via):

.1 The Twilight Saga: New Moon $140,700,000 $140,700,000
.2 The Blind Side $34,510,000 $34,510,000
.3 2012 $26,500,000 $108,221,000
.4 Planet 51 $12,600,000 $12,600,000
.5 A Christmas Carol (2009) $12,230,000 $79,791,000
.6 Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire $11,008,000 $21,403,000
.7 The Men Who Stare at Goats $2,773,000 $27,624,000
.8 Couples Retreat $1,952,000 $105,001,000
.9 The Fourth Kind $1,730,000 $23,343,000
.10 Law Abiding Citizen $1,615,000 $70,027,000