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Twilight's Total Eclipse of the Box Office

Edward and Bella from Twilight Eclipse.
Summit Entertainment
Edward and Bella from Twilight Eclipse.

Twilight's cult following turned out in droves for midnight and 3 am screenings,breaking records for the biggest midnight opening ever.

Screenings at more than 4,000 theaters in North America brought in $30 million, beating the prior Twilight sequel's opening night.

Twilight also led Imax to a new record — its 192 theaters sold more than $1 million in tickets.

Private studio Summit has done it again, and "Eclipse" is well on its way to be the biggest of the three films in the franchise. "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" grossed $142.8m in ticket sales its opening weekend, the first Twilight opened with just $69.6 million its opening weekend. "Eclipse" has the advantage of an extra-long holiday weekend, which should help draw moviegoers at the peak of the media frenzy over the film.

Movie theater chains like Regal, Imax and Cinemark must be relieved that after a weak couple weeks, the box office is back. After "Toy Story 3" generated huge numbers, the summer's on track for some slight gains over last year, which posted a 10 percent increase over the prior year.

Eclipse's huge numbers are also good news for Twilight's many marketing partners—check out my post on the big business of marketing through movies here.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.