Saturday B.O.: ‘Eclipse’ Slows at $24M; ‘Airbender’ on Pace for $70M Start

Third “Twilight” is still massive, however, while spearheading an overall Fourth of July weekend that’s up 17% so far; Shyamalan film is also way above tracking, even though most critics hated it

Last Updated: July 4, 2010 @ 11:16 AM

Sunday update:

Amid a burgeoning overall domestic box office that's set to be up around 17 percent from the same weekend in 2009, Summit Entertainment's third "Twilight" film, "Eclipse," continued a dominant first-week run Saturday — although one not quite as dominant as it appeared earlier.

Playing in a record 4,468 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, "Eclipse" grossed $23.9 million Saturday.

However, in dropping over 15 percent from its Friday audience total, the David Slade-directed installment is now on pace to finish the holiday weekend with a six-day cumulative premiere total of around $180 million.

Earlier estimates had "Eclipse" finishing Monday with nearly $200 million, although it's still way above its pre-release tracking.

"Eclipse" has garnered an impressive "A" grade from moviegoer satisfaction research firm CinemaScore. It's also registered an audience that's 35 percent male, which is way above previous installments.

The film has grossed over $100 million in foreign box-office revenue, playing in 42 international territories.

Also opening big this weekend, Paramount's M. Night Syamalan-directed "The Last Airbender" dropped 12 percent from Friday to $14.5 million. 

Despite horrible reviews, however, the PG-rated 3D movie is on pace to exceed $70 million in its first five days of release, which is also way above tracking.

TheWrap will publish its full comprehensive holiday-weekend box-office report on Monday.

Saturday update:

Once again debuting to staggering numbers, Summit Entertainment's "Twilight" franchise succumbed this week to only one comparison — itself — with No. 3 installment "Eclipse" failing to surpass predecessor "New Moon's" preposterous $72.7 million first-day-at-the-box-office record.

However, with $28.6 million at the domestic box office on Friday, its third day in release, "Eclipse" is now on a pace to exceed the $200 million mark by the end of the Fourth of July holiday weekend on Monday.

That would beat the first six days of "New Moon," which tallied $178.9 million over that span — for what that's worth. It would also exceed "Eclipse's" pre-release tracking by tens of millions of dollars.

Nice little franchise for Summit.

With the entire North American box office trending up around 23 percent over the same weekend last year, according to studio estimates, Paramount's 3D Nickelodeon-cartoon-series adaptation "The Last Airbender" debuted to a solid $16.8 million Friday, with the bulk of the M. Night Shyamalan-directed PG-rated family film's bounty still to come as the weekend progresses.

It's estimated that "Airbender" will conclude the holiday weekend with around $70 million, which would also put the $150 million film way above pre-release estimates.

This is all despite the fact that only a tiny handful of critics have had anything all nice to say about the picture.

Here's a look at Friday's top 10 at the domestic box office:

"Twilight Saga: Eclipse" ($28.6m)
"The Last Airbender" ($16.8m)
"Toy Story 3" ($10.5m)
"Grown Ups" ($6.9m)
"Knight and Day ($3.4m)
"Karate Kid" ($2.7m)
"A-Team" ($1.1m)
"Get Him to the Greek" ($442,000)
"Shrek Forever After" ($292,000)
"Cyrus" ($239,000)