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That giant milking sound you heard this weekend was Summit Entertainment leeching the wallets and purses of teenagers at heart as they unleashed the first part of the last part of the wildly popular sparkly-skinned, ab-endowed Twilight series.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, which just missed beating out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One for most obnoxiously lengthy title, also just missed beating out its predecessors for opening weekend records. With a $139 million since midnight Thursday, Breaking Dawn 1 came in second place in the Twilight saga, falling short of New Moon's $142 million debut weekend this same time two years ago [More on Breaking Dawn's debut totals].
It may not have been able to smash its own record, but the movie certainly crushed animated singing penguin sequel Happy Feet 2. That entry only took in $22 million for a very distant second place. That's little more than half of what the first Happy Feet banked in 2005.
One explanation for the comparable drop between the two penguin movies could be the competition. In 2006 Happy Feet opened against Casino Royale, leaving mommies and kiddos a fun, animated option to see while Dad took the teenagers to watch Daniel Craig reinvent Bond. This year all the mommies were off seeing Breaking Dawn (which had 80% female audiences and 60% over 21 years old this weekend according to Box Office Mojo), leaving kids with the less likely Dad to escort them to the theater.
George Clooney's The Descendants may have only made the number ten spot this weekend, but that's huge when you consider it managed the feat while showing on only 29 screens. The $42,000 is made per theater this weekend topped the $32,000 Breaking Dawn enjoyed. No official wider release for the movie has been scheduled, but with this level of success it should be coming to a theater slightly closer to you soon.
For the weekend top ten numbers, check out the chart below: