On the eve of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2′s release in North America and the UK, all eyes are on the opening weekend.
Deadlinereports that midnight screenings in thousands of theaters across the US are close to sold out, much of that due to marathon showings of all four previous installments that have already begun.
Adding to the expectant talk, Fandango stated today that 92 percent of its morning ticket sales were for Breaking Dawn – Part 2.
With predictions for this weekend’s box office currently riding between $130 and $150 million, the latter would be a franchise record not beaten since New Moon’s$ 142 million plus opening.
Optimism that the Twilight Saga’s last hurrah could top all previous box office, vaulted on October 1 after advance first day ticket sales revealed a 87 percent hike from Breaking Dawn – Part 1 ‘s first day pre-sales.
And there’s even more reason for cheer.
Audiences overseas have already come out in droves for the final installment. Released internationally in five European markets this week, three reported record attendance and grosses.
Deadline’s Nikki Finke writes:
“I’ve learned that 3 out of the 4 overseas markets are already smashing franchise attendance and grosses records. It’s certain that Breaking Dawn Part 2 will surge past Part 1‘s $428.6M international total and exceed $709.9M worldwide.”
After its Tuesday night premiere at the Rome International Film Festival, Breaking Dawn — Part 2 racked up 327, 000 ticket sales when it opened nationally on Wednesday, November 14.
In all, the film debuted with a $ 2. 7 million bank, making it the highest one day opening in Italy. The 327, 000 tickets sold not only smashed The Avengers’ 309,000 April bar, it also beat Breaking Dawn – Part 1′s $ 2.1 million opening in that territory.
The Netherlands also scored record results. Approximately $392, 000 was taken on opening day, the highest pre-day opening for the franchise in that market.
Over in Sweden, the figures are also buoyant. A record 20,000 admissions for marathon/midnight ticket sales amounts to a franchise best in this market. Opening box office numbers rang in $362, 000, easily surpassing comparative figures for the previous installments.
Moving on to France, opening night ticket sales of 219,000 tallied up $1.8 million, a 45 percent hike on Breaking Dawn Part 1′s 150,000 admissions total.
In Belgium, 27, 000 tickets for opening night translated to $ 531, 000 box office, also beating out Breaking Dawn – Part 1′s previous$289, 000 Belgian debut.
All of this, of course, only stokes expectations for this weekend. While social media networks are now swirling with fans’ anticipation for the finale movie, industry watchers await tonight’s midnight run.
An unexpected factor that may also draw non-fans to multiplexes over the weekend is the fair number of positive — among the plethora of negative — reviews that have come online.
Granted the positive ones aren’t Argo great, nor are they tipping Condon’s closer for an Oscar bid. But they do reflect the unique place that the Twilight Saga has carved out for itself over the last five years.
Here’s a parse through some of the best:
Manohla Dargis, New York Times, writes:
“Despite the slow start Mr. Condon closes the series in fine, smooth style. He gives fans all the lovely flowers, conditioned hair and lightly erotic, dreamy kisses they deserve.”
Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews, said:
“The filmmakers smartly let slip that this film would hold surprises not found in the book and the climatic battle between Cullens and Volturi must be seen to be believed.”
David Blaustein, abc News Movies, writes:
“Breaking Dawn — Part 2 contains about the best 20 minutes of the entire franchise. Its content so surpring, so thrilling and so shocking that it’s completely incongruous with the rest of the franchise and is, quite frankly, did-not-see-that-coming awesome. My jaw literally dropped. Suddenly, the sanitized, teen emo porn that had been the Twilight franchise turns into a Robert Rodriguez-inspired climax rich with excitement and an emotional depth previously unseen in these films.”
Helen O’ Hara, Empire Online, contends:
“One final swoonsome flourish to this most lovelorn series, this is the finale that Twilight needed.”
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap, opines:
“Tellingly, it’s when Condon and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg veer away from Stephenie Meyer’s turgid text that Breaking Dawn, Part 2 actually comes to life and turns into something bold and outrageous.”
Todd Gilchrist, The Playlist, enthuses:
“As the films in the Twilight series have steadily improved in quality since the 2008 original, it’s not only appropriate but completely gratifying that Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is by far the best yet … a thrill ride that will resonate with fans, and remarkably, connect even with non-fans – and it leaves behind a legacy that deserves to be remembered by both.”
David Sztypuljak, HeyUGuys, writes:
“Twilight Breaking Dawn: Part 2 really does stand up to be the epic conclusion that we were all waiting and hoping for.”
Justin Chang, Variety, offers:
“This second of two Bill Condon-directed installments clears a low bar to stand easily as the franchise’s most eventful and exciting entry.”
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, said:
“The final installment of the immortal Bella/Edward romance will give its breathlessly awaiting international audience just what it wants.”
Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, concludes:
“Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is the best of the franchise. Most notably, it lets Kristen Stewart’s reborn Bella really cut loose and have fun.”
Chris Haydon, Filmoria, glows:
“The Twilight saga may now be over, but it’s a sheer thrill to see it exit with this caliber. The training wheels have been removed, the wings has been attached and Condon allows Breaking Dawn – Part 2 to fly in all it’s weird and wonderful glory. It’s chaotic, harmonic and above all else, unashamedly entertaining. Oh, and it might have the twist of the year too … “
Amon Warmann, Cine Vue, said:
“With over a film-and-a-half worth of build-up, Condon and co placed a lot of pressure on themselves to deliver the goods in the climax, and thankfully it satisfies. The special effects have never looked more polished, and Breaking Dawn – Part 2 easily sets a new record for the amount of bloodless decapitations in a 12A film. An unexpected twist will make viewers either angry or cheerful, but for the most part this is a solid, entertaining conclusion that fans of the series will love and others can endure.”
While Amy Nicholson, Box Office Magazine, raved:
“Every frame of silent, lip-biting, pent-up tension in the series has been holding its breath for this — a 600-minute soap opera suddenly exploding into a Grindhouse slasher.”
As a $ 2.5 billion franchise prepares to takes its final bow, Stephenie Meyer’s story of a vampire-human-werewolf love triangle aims to soar one last time with a triumphant box office send-off into forever.