"Breaking Dawn" to suck major blood from box offices

Thu Nov 17, 2011 3:55pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The latest movie in the "Twilight" vampire romance series could take in about $140 million on its opening weekend in North America, box office watchers said, despite some blood-curdlingly bad reviews.

"Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" was widely criticized for bland, wooden acting and an implausible plot, scoring just 23 percent favorable reviews on aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said the film was "bloated and anemic."

Yet movies like the "Twilight" series with their legions of diehard fans are somewhat critic-proof, and the film already has sold out more than 3,500 shows in Canada and the United States on the Fandango.com ticketing website ahead of the movie's opening at midnight on Friday

"Much like Bella's baby in 'Breaking Dawn', the demand for tickets is strong and fast-growing," said Fandango editor-in-chief Chuck Walton.

"We expect the movie to continually sell out tonight, while theater owners post additional late-night showtimes to meet the fans' demand to watch Bella and Edward's highly anticipated union," Walton said.

Box office analysts say the fourth film in the franchise will likely become only the second movie this year to bring in more than $100 million on its opening weekend.

Paul Dergarabedian of Hollywood.com expects "Breaking Dawn" to debut at about $140 million in its first three days, similar to "New Moon" two years ago.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" -- the final movie in the boy wizard franchise -- pulled in some $169 million in July on its opening weekend -- the biggest debut haul of 2011.

Independent movie studio Summit Entertainment, which produces and distributes the "Twilight" movies, however sought to play down any comparisons with the "Harry Potter" finale, noting that "Twilight" has a predominantly young female audience whereas "Harry Potter" fans are more evenly spread across all viewing groups.   Continued...