According to Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood (at 10:30 pacific time Saturday night):
“SATURDAY 10:20 PM UPDATE: Hollywood insiders tell me that, based on NEW MOON’s early Saturday numbers, the phenomenally performing pic opened with a gargantuan $140 million first weekend.
The Twilight Saga franchise moviemaker Summit Entertainment won’t report official North American, international and worldwide totals until Sunday. But the sequel’s vampires and werewolves shattered the All-Time 3rd Biggest Opening Weekend record of $135.6M (see below).”
Now what does that mean? Hands down the best number analysis that fans can understand right now is coming from Larry over at ProNetworks (3:00 am Eastern Time Sunday):
“For those who are new to the box office numbers game, it may seem odd to have these figures this early in the weekend. But it is standard procedure to have early Saturday totals come in late Saturday night. Most theater chains have already filed their reports at that point and many studios have access to them and unofficially release the information. Once those figures arrive they always estimate Sunday and come up with a weekend projection. Then, several hours later on Sunday, the official numbers are issued for Saturday. At that point they predict Sunday numbers again and come up with a revised weekend projection. This is always done on Sunday. Of course, Sunday and weekend figures can only be estimates at this point. The actual Sunday numbers aren’t known until Monday. But many years and literally thousands of projections have yielded formulas that allow the industry to predict fairly closely what Sunday will be based on Friday and Saturday’s numbers and, therefore, what the weekend will look like. The actual numbers that come in on Monday are usually not too far off from the estimates made on Sunday. They usually adjust slightly up or down but are rarely far off.
No matter what the totals turn out to be, this is already the widest opening of all time for an independent film and guaranteed to be the biggest ever box office opening for an indie. The top four places are held by major Hollywood studio films: The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) at $158.4M, Spider-Man 3 (Sony/Columbia) at $151.1M, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (Disney/Buena Vista) at $135.6M, and Shrek the Third (Paramount/Dreamworks) at $121.6M. “