'New Moon' breaks boxoffice record

$72.7 million haul tops first-day mark set by "Dark Knight"

Summit Entertainment’s vampire-romance sequel “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” rung up a record $72.7 million in opening-day boxoffice on Friday, easily topping domestic rankings.

That bested a previous single-day boxoffice mark of $67.2 million, set by Warner Bros.’ Batman sequel “The Dark Knight” in July 2008.The first-day tally for “New Moon” included $26.3 million in boxoffice from a total 3,514 performances at 12:01 a.m. Friday, which set a record for witching-hour coin.

Consensus pre-release forecasts put the likely first-weekend tally for “New Moon” at $85 million-plus. Not even a meteoric burnout on Saturday and Sunday would keep the largely female-fueled film from soaring well past those projections.

“Dark Knight” holds the record for the biggest opening ever, at $158.4 million (more here on decade's top grossing films). Whether “New Moon” – which is playing in more than 4,024 locations this weekend – will hold up well enough in its second and third days of release to approach that record is virtually unknowable, as the sequel is traveling into uncharted territory for the franchise.

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The original “Twilight” – released a year ago this weekend – collected $36 million in its first day of release and $69.6 million in its first weekend. And that was considered a major over-performance at the time.

Elsewhere in the daily rankings, Warners’ Sandra Bullock-toplined drama “The Blind Side” debuted with $10.8 million, good for second place on the day. That’s a terrific start for the feel-good pigskin pic, which some thought would get blind-sided by “New Moon” and fail to rise above teen millions on the weekend.

Sony’s animated feature “Planet 51” landed in fifth place with a soft $3.2 million in first-day boxoffice. But the PG-rated pic should find a more lucrative orbit once Saturday and Sunday matinees kick in.

Sony’s scifi actioner “2012” -- which topped domestic rankings a week earlier – was third among all Friday grosses with $8.1 million. That gives the Roland Emmerich pic an $89.8 million cume through its first eight days in the marketplace.