Summit pic takes in $24.2 mil on Thursday

Summit Entertainment’s “The Eclipse” grossed an estimated $24.2 million on Thursday at the domestic B.O. for a blood-dripping cume of $92.8 million in only two days, while Paramount’s 3D pic “The Last Airbender” bowed to a pleasing $16.3 million.

Male-driven “Airbender”–counterprogramming to “Eclipse”–brought M. Night Shyamalan the third best opening day gross of his career after “Signs” ($20.9 million) and “The Village” ($20.4). Both those films opened on a Friday. Film debuted in 3,169 theaters.

“Airbender” also scored the fifth-best opening day gross ever for a Thursday opener (studios usually avoid Thursday, since moviegoing traditionally dips on that day).

“Eclipse,” the third installment in the blockbuster “Twilight” franchise, grossed an estimated $16.2 million at the international B.O. in midweek openings in a handful of territories, bringing the film’s worldwide total to an estimated $109 million. Updated international numbers for Thursday haven’t yet come in.

“Eclipse” grossed $68.6 million on its first day, the best opening day ever for a Wednesday bow. Pic took a steep tumble on Thursday, dropping 65% from Wednesday. That was expected, considering Wednesday’s gross included north of $30 million in midnight runs.

Today, “Eclipse” expands from 4,416 locations to 4,468 locations, the widest play ever for a film at the domestic B.O.

All eyes will be on “Eclipse” to see how it holds as the holiday weekend gets underway. In terms of “Airbender,” it’s possible the film could overtake Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story 3″ to come in No. 2 behind “Eclipse.”

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