Nov 18 The "Twilight" vampire saga's final
chapter debuted with a massive $341 million in global movie
ticket sales as devoted fans bid farewell to blood-sucking
spouses Bella and Edward and one of Hollywood's biggest
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" earned an
estimated $141 million in the United States and Canada over the
weekend, falling slightly short of a record for the supernatural
romance series about a human-vampire-werewolf love triangle.
The total, which includes sales from late night Thursday
through Sunday, ranked as the eight biggest domestic film debut
of all time. Late-night Thursday screenings comprised $30.4
million of the $141 million total.
Fan fever for the fifth "Twilight" movie raged high around
the world. "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" rang up sales of $199.6
million from Thursday to Sunday at theaters in 61 countries for
a worldwide total of $341 million, distributor Summit
Entertainment said on Sunday.
The earlier "Twilight" films pulled in a combined $2.5
billion at global box offices over a four-year run. The success
lifted tiny studio Summit Entertainment into Hollywood's big
leagues and paved the way for its $412 million acquisition in
January by Lions Gate Entertainment.
"New Moon" scored the biggest debut of the series, grossing
$142.8 million over its first three days in 2009.
The movies based on a series of best-selling young adult
books by Stephenie Meyer ignited a pop culture infatuation with
blood-sucking vampires and werewolves. The films star Kristen
Stewart as human-turned-vampire Bella Swan, Robert Pattinson as
her vampire love Edward Cullen, and Taylor Lautner as werewolf
Jacob Black, who competes for Bella's affection.
Summit spent $120 million to produce "Breaking Dawn - Part
2," which concludes the tale with newly turned vampire Bella and
husband Edward in a high-stakes battle to protect their
half-human, half-vampire daughter from an ancient vampire clan.
The couple enlist the extended Cullen family in their fight.
Fans of the series, mostly teen girls nicknamed "Twi-hards,"
embraced the final film, which includes a surprise twist that
was not in the final book. Audiences polled by CinemaScore
awarded the movie an "A" grade, with an "A+" from filmgoers
under age 25, according to Summit. Critics were less supportive.
Fifty-one percent of reviews collected on the Rotten Tomatoes
website were positive.
Summit Entertainment's president of domestic distribution
Richie Fay said though the vast majority of the audience was
female, he expected more male viewers than for previous
"The male audience has increased a good bit, and the ratings
among males are higher I think in part to the action in the
film," he said.
Author Meyer has not ruled out the possibility of more
stories in the vampire-werewolf universe but said she has closed
the chapter on the Cullens.
Hollywood is eager to fill the void after the success of
"Twilight" highlighted the power of young adult stories on the
big screen. Studios are bringing at least four new films based
on popular young adult novels to theaters next year as well as
the sequel to the newest teen movie sensation, "The Hunger
The "Twilight" excitement eclipsed all other movies over the
weekend. Last week's winner, James Bond movie "Skyfall" finished
in second place with $41.5 million at North American (U.S. and
"Skyfall" is now the highest-grossing Bond movie to date
with a global total of over $669 million, surpassing the $599
million taken in by "Casino Royale" in 2006.
"Skyfall" also propelled distributer Sony Pictures
Entertainment to a record year, pushing its worldwide box office
total over the $4 billion mark.
Historical drama "Lincoln" expanded from a limited opening a
week ago and landed in third place with $21 million. The movie
stars Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th president near the end of his
life as he battles to ban slavery and end the Civil War. The
movie is directed by Steven Spielberg and has earned critical
praise and awards-season buzz.
In fourth place, Walt Disney Co animated movie
"Wreck-It Ralph," about a videogame character who destroys
everything in his path, pulled in $18.3 million. Denzel
Washington drama "Flight" earned $8.6 million and the No. 5
Elsewhere, romantic comedy "Silver Linings Playbook" brought
in $458,000 at 16 locations, or an average of $28,625 per
theater. The film stars Bradley Cooper as a bipolar former
teacher just released from a mental institution and Jennifer
Lawrence as a young widow he encounters as he tries to put his
life back together.
"Silver Linings" won over critics who say it may earn a spot
in the Oscar race. The Weinstein Co, the private company that
released the movie, will expand the film nationwide beginning on
Wednesday, Nov. 21.
Sony Corp's movie studio distributed "Skyfall."
"Lincoln" was produced by Dreamworks and released by Walt Disney
Co. "Flight" was distributed by Paramount Pictures, a
unit of Viacom Inc.