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'New Moon' gross is rising

Summit Entertainment underestimated the film's worldwide ticket sales by $16.1 million. The latest opening-weekend total is $274.9 million, but overseas box office figures are still trickling in.

November 24, 2009|By Ben Fritz
  • Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner star in "The Twilight Saga: New Moon." Summit Entertainment underestimated its opening weekend overseas ticket sales by $14 million. Its latest overseas total is $132.1 million.
Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner star in "The Twilight Saga: New… (Kimberley French / Summit…)

Summit Entertainment's estimates of how many filmgoers outside North America saw "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" was low. Way low.

After more information rolled in from overseas markets, the independent studio updated its estimate of ticket sales in the 24 countries where its blockbuster vampire movie played over the weekend.

Its new opening weekend overseas total, $132.1 million, is $14 million, or 12%, higher than its estimate Sunday morning of $118.1 million. Combined with the newly updated domestic total of $142.8 million, which is $2.1 million higher than Summit's Sunday morning estimate, it turns out that "New Moon" opened to $274.9 million, the sixth-highest worldwide debut of all time.

Foreign countries where the movie opened big include Australia, Brazil, Britain, France, Italy, Mexico, Russia and Spain.

It's not unusual for movies to end up with different weekend grosses than the ones reported by studios Sunday mornings. It is rare, however, for Sunday estimates to be as low as Summit's was for "New Moon."

That's partly because nobody was able to estimate just how huge the "Twilight" sequel would be. Before the weekend, experienced executives looking at pre-release polling data expected it to gross between $90 million and $100 million domestically. Even on Friday night, after the movie's record-breaking Friday ticket sales, competing studios were projecting that "New Moon" would collect about $125 million domestically through Sunday.

In addition, Summit doesn't have its own foreign distribution operation but instead works with a variety of distributors in different countries. That makes its overseas ticket sales reporting much slower than at major studios such as Sony Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox, which largely handle their own pictures overseas. As a result, the 2 1/2 -year-old independent studio is still compiling its worldwide weekend total for "New Moon."

ben.fritz@latimes.com

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