“Twilight” proved it had teeth at the box office over the weekend, taking a $70.6 million bite to come in atop the charts.
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the film also marked the biggest opening ever for a female director. The previous record was the $41.1 million set by Mimi Leder’s “Deep Impact” in 1998, according to the Associated Press.
Based on the first book of Stephenie Meyer’s mega-popular four-book saga, “Twilight” made a huge $20,636 per theater, the AP reported, citing Sunday morning estimates.
Summit Entertainment, which released “Twilight,” announced over the weekend that it is moving ahead with plans to make a film version of the series’ second book, “New Moon.” Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart will return as star-crossed lovers Edward Cullen, an immortal vampire, and Bella Swan, a human teenager.
According to the AP, Hardwicke’s involvement in the sequel hasn’t been determined. She told the AP Sunday morning she would be going to a meeting later that date to discuss her possible involvement in the second film.
“Twilight” star Robert Pattinson and director Catherine Hardwicke. (Associated Press photo)
The laid-back Hardwicke, who went bodyboarding at sunset Saturday to take her mind off this high-pressure weekend, said Sunday morning that she was heading to a meeting later in the day to discuss her possible involvement in “New Moon.”
“I want to be sure that it’s going to be done right. I don’t want to rush into it,” she told the AP. “It’s not like `Friday the 13th’ or `Halloween,’ you can’t just do it super fast and knock another one out. I want to understand their plans and all that.”
Hardwicke also told the AP she hopes her success inspires other women filmmakers.
“I hope not just women but all minorities get enthused and encouraged by it. I look at the (Directors Guild of America) calendar, at the pictures of everyone that had different movies each month, and it’s usually 22-29 different directors, and almost every month there’s one female and maybe one minority,” she told the AP.
“We’ve been having a lot of events, talking to a lot of fans, and so many kids of course are madly in love with Robert but tons of kids of every kind (and) girls are coming up to me and saying `I want to direct now, I’m writing a screenplay now, you’re my inspiration.’ I think it’s great that people are getting excited.”
The huge opening also has helped Summit Entertainment make its mark on the movie biz, Richie Say, the company’s president of domestic distribution, told the AP. Summit has only been around since last spring. “Twilight” is just the company’s sixth release, it cost only $37 million to make, meaning the film wasn’t far from doubling its money over opening weekend alone.
The AP story noted that the film’s huge opening take was much higher than the $50 million expected. Apparently, that number was projected by someone who doesn’t know any teenage girls.
“Teen girls rule the earth,” Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers, told the AP. “If you look back at the `Hannah Montana’ movie, how well that did, and now this movie, the teen girl audience will never be ignored again or underestimated. It was always teen boys who were the coveted ones, but someone finally caught on to the idea that girls love movies, too, and if you create something that they’re into, that they’re passionate about, they will come out in big numbers and drive the box office.”
James Bond is still going strong. After debuting the previous weekend at No. 1, “Quantum of Solace,” came in second with $27.4 million. The latest film in the 007 series - and the second starring Daniel Craig as the superspy - has grossed $109.5 million, crossing the $100 million mark faster than any other film in the long-running franchise, Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony, told the AP.
Walt Disney’s 3-D animated dog tale “Bolt,” featuring the voices of John Travolta and Miley Cyrus, debuted in third place with $27 million to take third place.
Not surprisingly, Chuck Viane, Disney’s head of distribution, noted that “Twilight” took a bite out of everyone else’s numbers.
“Obviously we believe in the Thanksgiving holiday in a big, big way,” he told the AP. “We’ve always viewed this as one of those 10-day marathons between opening day and the end of the Thanksgiving weekend.”
Here is the box office top 10, from the AP:
1. “Twilight,” $70.5 million.
2. “Quantum of Solace,” $27.4 million.
3. “Bolt,” $27 million.
4. “Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa,” $16 million.
5. “Role Models.” $7.2 million.
6. “Changeling,” $2.6 million.
7. “High School Musical 3: Senior Year,” $2 million.
8. “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” $1.7 million.
9. “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” $1.67 million.
10. “The Secret Life of Bees,” $1.28 million.