"Twilight" sendoff starts with huge $341 million worldwide
By Andrea Burzynski and Lisa Richwine
(Reuters) - 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 franchises.
"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. Continued...