The Twilight Saga: New Moon is off to an impressive start. The vampire drama raked in an estimated $26.27 million from 3,514 theaters midnight Thursday for a per-theater average of $7,476. That far surpassed the previous record holder of the midnight record, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($22.2 million).
Summit Entertainment also saw a nice audience tune in for a special Thursday night 9:00 p.m. screening of the first film Twilight, which grossed $1.3 million from 2,057 theaters (pushing the film’s all-time domestic cume to an estimated $192.8 million).
Worldwide receipts are also strong:
Summit reported Thursday afternoon that at midnight showings on 466 screens in Australia, the movie took in AUS$1.7 million ($1.6 million). It sailed past the previous Australian midnight record set by “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” which took in AUS$1.26 million ($1.2 million) in 2005.
In France, where “Moon” completed its first day, it was No. 1 with 488,000 admissions, translating to $4.26 million, from 751 theaters. By comparison, “Twilight” scored 140,960 admissions, $1.158 million, on its first day in that country.
In Italy, partial returns put the movie’s gross at €$1.83 million ($2.7 million) from 625 screens. The movie is shaping up as the third-highest Wednesday opener in Italy, behind only “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”
Meanwhile in Spain, “Moon” drew €1.475 million ($2.2 million) on 652 screens. In Spain, it also ranked as the third-best Wednesday opening ever — behind “Order of the Phoenix” and “Half-Blood Prince.”
Starting today, New Moon expands to 4,024 theaters as it looks to easily capture the weekend crown.