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The Twilight Saga: New Moon notched the third-largest debut on record this weekend with $140.7 million, according to studio estimates from Nielsen EDI.The latest chapter of the vampire saga, which has made pinup stars of actors Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, is behind only The Dark Knight‘s $158.4 million last year and Spider-Man 3‘s $151.1 million in 2007.

From its opening midnight Thursday, Moon was headed for the record books. The film did $26.3 million in midnight screenings, shattering the record of $18.5 million held by Dark Knight.

By midnight Friday, New Moon had broken the single-day record with $72.7 million, again eclipsing Dark Knight‘s $67.2 million. It earned an additional $118.1 million overseas.

Though the two Twilight films have never wowed critics – just 29% of reviewers recommended New Moon, according to RottenTomatoes.com – the franchise has been critic-proof, particularly among women, who made up 80% of the weekend audience.


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