"Twilight" draws first blood at packed midnight movies

Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:02pm EST
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Vampire romance "Twilight" sucked in more than $7 million at U.S. box offices from its first midnight showings, a strong take for the highly anticipated film, industry sources said on Friday.

The movie, from independent studio Summit Entertainment, opened on Thursday at midnight and will play in more than 3,000 theaters over the weekend.

"Twilight" is based on a book series of the same name by author Stephenie Meyer that have become wildly popular with teenage girls, who lined up outside theaters to see the movie.

The film stars Robert Pattinson as an immortal vampire named Edward Cullen and Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, the teen girl who falls in love with him. Their star-crossed love affair is jeopardized by another vampire's lust for blood.

"Clearly it wasn't all hype," said Brandon Gray, president of tracking firm Box Office Mojo.

"To have over $7 million from midnight/early Friday screenings suggests there's a sizable audience for 'Twilight' and that it's going to have a huge weekend," he said.

But critics have been split on the film, with review aggregating Web site Rottentomatoes.com on Friday evening giving the film a rating of 43 percent based on 118 reviews.

In a positive review, Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan wrote, "I am not now nor have I ever been a 13-year-old girl, but 'Twilight' made me wish I could be, at least for a couple of hours, the better to appreciate a movie that has been targeted to that demographic with the delicious specificity of a laser weapon."

On a more negative note, Christian Orr of the magazine The New Republic wrote that the film was "underwhelming" for anyone except teen girls.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

 
<p>Cast members Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart attend the premiere of the movie "Twilight" at the Mann Village and Bruin theatres in Westwood, California November 17, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>