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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Why make one "Twilight" film when you can charge moviegoers to see two of them?
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn," the fourth movie in the vampire franchise, will be split in two, with the first half scheduled for release on November 18, 2011, distributor Summit Entertainment confirmed on Thursday.
The announcement, coming ahead of the June 30 release of the third film "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," was not a surprise. The closely held studio had signaled that author Stephenie Meyer's 900-page "Breaking Dawn" book was too complex to be adapted into a single movie.
But it had reportedly signed the cast for only four movies, and had to renegotiate costly deals with the newly minted A-list actors before it could officially announce the new plan.
The films will shoot back-to-back in the fall, with Bill Condon directing from a script being written by Melissa Rosenberg. A Summit spokesman said there was no release date scheduled yet for the fifth film.
And yes, all the same lovelorn characters -- including Bella (played by Kristen Stewart), Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) -- will be on hand.
The fourth book centers on Bella's marriage to the vampire Edward, her subsequent pregnancy, and her fulfilled desire to be transformed into a vampire.
The first two films in the franchise, beloved worldwide by women of all ages, have grossed over $1.1 billion at the box office, Summit said.
Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Sandra Maler