‘Twilight’ Annoys Critics, Delights Fans, Thrills Summit
Twilight exceeded studio expectations by raking in $70,553,000 over the three day weekend, with 75% coming from female ticket buyers. The Summit Entertainment film was expected to do well but the smash hit easily beat the analysts by $5 million. This also made director Catherine Hardwicke the top female director in terms of box office pull,
The franchise has been compared with the Harry Potter series in terms of writing, audience and magic pull it has had on the public consciousness. The movie opened to tepid reviews that faulted it for hewing too closely to the novel, just as the first Potter film did. Author Stephenie Meyer seems to have run roughshod over Hardwicke resulting in a film designed to appease the girls who have memorized the novel. Reviews also faulted the dialogue and lack of chemistry between the leads and yet it will be among the best performing films of the year and rake in bug bucks when the DVD releases next year. Meantime, Summit has already green lit the second film, New Moon, as if there was any doubt.
Unfortunately, Disney miscalculated by not moving Bolt out of Twilight’s way and the film underperformed by $10 million, taking in only $27 million, since most of the audience was seeing the vampire romance instead. It should do better this coming weekend as families spend time during the four-day weekend. As a result, it opened in third place.
As for James Bond,Quantum of Solace dipped a steep 59.4% from last week’s mammoth opening and took in $27.4 million, pushing its two week total to $109,483,000, good for second place based on estimates from Box Office Mojo.
Fourth place went to Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa which caged another $16 million and continues to entertain. The fifth spot went to teen comedy Role Models which took in just $7,229,000.
Audiences seem not yet ready for the serious dramas that normally roll out at this time of year, mostly to gain Oscar buzz and nominations. As a result, many big budget films have sputtered since opening, beginning with Warner’s bomb Body of Lies. Currently, Universal’s Changeling is struggling to find audiences and has just $31,613,000 after five weeks despite good reviews and a solid pedigree. Fox’s The Secret Life of Bees is also hurting with a mere $35,649,000 after six weeks.
Comedies, romantic and otherwise, have also found the going rough with Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno grabbing just $1.7 million this weekend and Soul Men taking in under a million.
On the other hand, Slumdog Millionaire has been showing strength in limited release with a 176.1% increase as it has expanded to 32 screens, averaging a healthy $31,063 per screen.
Genre films have done all right with horror fests Saw V and The Haunting of Molly Hartley doing as expected with the former grabbing $56,405,000 I five weeks and a sixth installment already on the boards for 2009. Max Payne, though, did not do well and is seen as a disappointment for Fox with just $40.3 million after six weeks. Igor, though, was a CGI dud for MGM and likely will end its run with about $20 million.