EXCLUSIVE: So many Twi-hards stood in line since Monday in advance of tonight's Eclipse premiere that Summit Entertainment had to set up a 2nd tent city on Chick Hearn Boulevard to accomodate them all outside the Nokia Theater and L.A. live plaza. Trust me, any Hollywood studio would love to have this problem. Right now Eclipse is both Fandango's and MovieTickets.com's top advance ticket-seller of the year. And the third movie in the Twilight saga still has another week of ticket sales before its release date. Eclipse leads the Fandango Five with over 52% of daily ticket sales, even with strong daily sales for Toy Story 3 and Karate Kid. MovieTickets.com is also reporting Eclipse online ticketing represent over 50% of daily sales. On Fandango, Eclipse was voted “The Most Anticipated Movie Of The Summer” by the majority (32%) of Fandango moviegoers in a May 2010 poll. Now it's been among Fandango’s Top 5 ticket-sellers on a daily basis ever since tickets first went on sale five weeks ago.
The studio isn't playing the lowering expectations game this time around; execs know this 3rd film in the Twilight Saga is going to be huge. The only question is whether it'll surpass the sequel New Moon which was the biggest yet. "New Moon set the bar so high as a cultural phenomenon that Eclipse can only try to reach that number," a Summit exec tells me. Of course it helps that, in 2009, 35% of New Moon online ticket-buyers said they became fans of the series after seeing the first movie Twilight. Now, 59% of Eclipse online ticket-buyers said they became fans of the series after seeing the first movie. Or that Entertainment Weekly, the official magazine of receptionists, has a coming cover line how Eclipse is the best of the Twilight Saga yet. Right now, 3 of the 4 major tracking services peg Eclipse to New Moon numbers. But it's likely that Eclipse's 6-day opening could gross anywhere from $150M-$179M. (Spider-Man 2 holds the July 4th holiday record with $180M.) All on a budget of just $68M. That fact alone is enough to make the major studio moguls weep.
More Fandango stats:
Of 1,000 Eclipse online ticket-buyers,
45% plan to see the movie with a group of friends
28% plan to see it with a date or significant other
58% plan to see it more than once
38% say they’re more likely to repeat viewing because it’s summer
33% of respondents are 24 or younger
34% of respondents are 25-34
27% of respondents are 35-49