Teenage fans of Stephenie Meyer's series of vampire books and of the handsome young actor Robert Pattinson poured into the multiplexes over the weekend as Summit Entertainment's Twilight debuted with an astonishing $70.6 million -- about twice what it cost to produce. Only the $100-million-plus Harry Potter productions have opened to bigger grosses in November. The figure far exceeded analysts' predictions, which had been in the area of $50-60 million. That was also the prediction for Disney's Bolt , which fell far below that figure, earning just $27 million, to place third -- edged out by the second week of the James Bond thriller, Quantum of Solace, with $27.4 million -- but that film, too, had expected to perform more robustly. It dropped 59 percent from last week to bring its 10-day total to $109.5 million. Nevertheless, overall the box office was up 68 percent over the same weekend a year ago, soothing studio and theater executives' worries about the possible impact of the worsening economy on moviegoing. In an interview with today's (Monday) Los Angeles Times , Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers, said, "This is another example of how the economy has not slowed people at all from going to watch movies. ... We're set up to have one of the biggest Thanksgiving weekends ever." And it was not just the usual dating crowd that turned out, either. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas expanded to 406 theaters and took in $1.67 million, while Slumdog Millionaire remained the top-grossing film on a per theater basis, averaging $31,050 (versus $20,636 for Twilight ).
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers 1. Twilight , $70.6 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.