The third "Twilight" just broke the franchise's seven-month-old midnight debut record, opening to $30 million, according to preliminary studio estimates.
Playing 12 a.m. shows at over 4,000 North American theaters, Summit Entertainment's "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" surpassed the previous record, set in November by the studio's "Twilight Saga: New Moon," which premiered to $26.3 million at midnight.
The film also broke an IMAX chain record for midnight opening with $1 million, besting last year's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" ($959,000).
Booked in a record 4,416 locations — no other movie has ever opened in as many theaters — "Eclipse" is conservatively predicted by Summit officials to gross $150 million by the time the July 4 holiday weekend culminates at the end of day Monday.
"New Moon" opened at midnight on the Friday before Thanksgiving weekend last year, grossing $142.8 million.
"Eclipse" will be joined by one other wide opening on Thursday, with Paramount M. Night Shyamalan film "The Last Airbender" debuting in over 3,000 locations, just over half of them showing the film in 3D.
"Airbender" is tracking strong, with Paramount officials estimating a gross of over $50 million for the holiday weekend.