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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" enjoyed a record-setting Wednesday opening by making $68.5 million in theaters, but it fell short of the first-day gross for the previous movie in the vampire romance franchise.
Box office figures released on Thursday show that the $68.5 million "Eclipse" earned in 4,416 U.S. and Canadian theaters beat the record set last year by "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," when it opened on a Wednesday with $62 million.
But 2009's "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," the second film in the vampire series from independent studio Summit Entertainment, earned a record single-day opening gross of $72.7 million when it debuted on a Friday.
"Eclipse" fell short of that mark, which is largely to be expected because Friday is one of the busiest days of the week at movie theaters and Wednesday typically is not.
"Eclipse" tells of a romance between teen Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), and the werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) who is friends with Bella and tries to steal her heart away.
Paul Dergarabedian, head of tracking firm Hollywood.com Box Office, said earlier this week that "Eclipse," which mainly appeals to young women and girls, could earn $190 million from Wednesday through Sunday.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte