UPDATE SUNDAY, JULY 25 3:00 AM:
Early estimates show The Twilight Saga: Eclipse finishing eighth in its fourth weekend, taking in an estimated $7M from 3,121 locations with a per theater average of $2,243 for the Friday-Sunday period. This includes estimates of $2.3M on Friday, $2.8M on Saturday, and $1.9M on Sunday. The film's domestic cumulative total is now $279.6M through its first 26 days of release. Adding in overseas returns of $288M gives Eclipse a current worldwide total of $567.6M.
It drops from fourth to eighth place behind Inception, which stays at the top in its second weekend with $37.7M - $44M at 3,792 locations for a domestic cumulative total of $143.7M - $144.5M, Salt with $36.5M - $37.7M in its opening weekend, Despicable Me with $24.5M, The Sorcerer's Apprentice with $9.8M, Toy Story 3 with $9.7M, Ramona and Beezus opening with $8M, and Grown Ups with $7.5M. Rounding out the top 10 behind Eclipse are The Last Airbender with $4.5M and Predators with $2.6M.
For those comparing the films in The Twilight Saga, it should be noted that Eclipse is continuing to outpace New Moon in cumulative domestic totals over time. At this point in its release history (after 26 days) New Moon had taken in $268,761,019. Eclipse is now at $279,600,000 (est). Both films hit the $250M mark on the 16th day.
These numbers are not "actuals," meaning they are only official estimates based on early reports. For those who are new to the box office numbers game, it may seem odd to have these figures when Sunday isn't even over yet. But it is standard procedure to have weekend totals announced at this time. After the Saturday box office totals come in on Sunday morning, studios always estimate Sunday and come up with a weekend projection. Therefore, Sunday and weekend figures can only be estimates at this point.
The actual numbers won't be 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 Saturday's numbers and, therefore, what the weekend will look like. The actual numbers that come in after the weekend are usually not too far off from the estimates made on Sunday. They usually adjust slightly up or down but are rarely far off.