By Bob Tourtellotte
LOS ANGELES - "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" rose to the top of movie box office charts for the second straight week on Sunday with a three-day haul of US$42.5 million (S$58.7m) on a record-breaking holiday weekend in North America, according to studio estimates.
Over the five-day U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, the vampire romance starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner took in US$66 million, pushing its two-week total in theaters to US$230.7 million in North America, said independent studio Summit Entertainment, which backed the movie.
Internationally, the high-profile sequel to last year's monster hit "Twilight," based on the best-selling novels by Stephenie Meyer, has taken in US$243 million for a worldwide total just under US$475 million in two weeks.
Richard Fay, president of domestic distribution for Summit, said the movie continued to do strong repeat business from mostly teenage girls who are fans of the movies and books, and it was able to expand its audiences to include older women.
Total movie ticket sales for the five-day holiday period in North America reached a record US$278 million, beating the old figure of US$244 million set back in 2000 when "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Unbreakable" were the two top films, according to sales tracker Hollywood.com Box-Office.
Coming in at No. 2, also for the second straight week, was Sandra Bullock football film "The Blind Side" with three-day sales of US$40.1 million and a two-week total of US$100.5 million. Disaster film "2012" rounded out the top three with US$18 million in three days, boosting its three-week total to US$139 million.
"Blind Side," produced by Alcon Entertainment and released by Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros,, played well to all audiences. Bullock helped draw women, sports lured men and the feel-good tale about a woman played by Bullock who helps a homeless boy become a football hero attracted families.
"This is a movie that plays equally to both genders," said Andrew Kosove, co-chief executive of Alcon Entertainment. "A great deal of moviegoing is consensus driven (among families) and we were the consensus movie for the weekend."
Natural disaster flick "2012" also continued to score well. Internationally, its ticket sales now stand at US$456 million, boosting its global haul to $595 million, said distributor Columbia Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp.
Among new movies, Disney comedy "Old Dogs" with John Travolta and Robin Williams was No. 4 in North America with US$16.8 million on the weekend and $24 million for five days. Warner Bros' "Ninja Assassin" with Korean superstar Rain was No. 6 with US$13.1 million and US$21 million for the 3-day and 5-day periods, respectively.
Other noteworthy titles include Disney's "A Christmas Carol," which claimed the No. 5 spot with US$16 million, pushing its North American cumulative ticket sales to US$105 million.
Twentieth Century Fox expanded the release of its animated movie "Fantastic Mr. Fox," widely around the United States and it climbed to the No. 9 spot with US$7 million on the weekend. Fox is a unit of News Corp
(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)