Summit's vampire thriller easily tops box office

Summit Entertainment’s “Twilight” grossed a staggering $35.7 million from 3,419 runs on Friday to score the second biggest opening day gross outside of summer after “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” which grossed $40.4 million on its first Friday in November 2005.

The friday number for “Twilight”–which has made Summit the envy of every major studio–includes $7 million in Thursday midnight shows.

Summit also announced plans to move ahead with “Twilight” sequel, “New Moon.”

Box observers are waiting to see how much the teen vampire romance drops on Saturday after such a robust Friday. The sheer volume of traffic on Friday was evidence of the boffo success of Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling book series. More than 17 million copies of her four books have sold nationwide.

“Twilight” is on its way to marking the biggest opening gross in history for a female director, Catherine Hardwicke.

Film seemed to take a bite out of Disney’s 3-D toon “Bolt,” which grossed an estimated $7 million as it opened Friday in 3,651 theaters, including 900+ 3-D runs. For example, Utah theaters are generally a hotbed for Disney fare, but on Friday, “Twilight” dominated. One of the biggest fan groups of Meyer’s books are Mormons, as she is a Mormon.

That put “Bolt” at No. 3 for the day, with Sony/MGM’s James Bond installment “Quantum of Solace” taking the No. 2 spot. “Quantum” grossed an estimated $8.3 million to $8.5 million from 3,458 runs on Friday for a cume of $90.2 million. “Quantum” will have no trouble jumping the $100 million mark at the domestic box office in its second sesh.

“Bolt,” however, could move into second position for the weekend, since family pics generate strong Saturday biz.

On the specialty side, Fox Searchlight’s “Slumdog Millionaire” continued to please as it headed into its second frame. The Danny Boyle-directed film grossed an estimated $249,000 as it expanded to 32 theaters on Friday for a per screen average of $7,781 and a cume of $870,139. Pic was up 19% in holdover theaters. Warner Bros. is Searchlight’s partner on “Slumdog.”

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