‘Twilight’ Fan Demand Puts Summit Vampire Saga in League of ‘Harry Potter’

The latest “Twilight” movie has sold out more than 2,500 screenings for its debut this week, more than the seventh “Harry Potter” film, which went on to generate $955.4 million in ticket sales a year ago.

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” the fourth of Summit Entertainment LLC’s five teen vampire films, opens Nov. 18. It accounted for 93 percent of advance sales at Fandango.com, the online vendor said yesterday in a statement.

The advance sales for “Breaking Dawn” augment a box- office haul projected to reach $155 million in U.S. and Canada this coming weekend and $300 million in the film’s domestic theater run, according to researcher Boxoffice.com. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 1” had filled 2,200 theaters hours before it opened on Nov. 19, 2010, and generated $125 million in ticket sales the first weekend.

“‘Twilight’ is the first part of the end of the franchise and that will really help it,” said Phil Contrino, Boxoffice.com’s editor. “It’s just a colossal thing.”

Some exhibitors are adding “Breaking Dawn” showtimes to meet demand, Fandango said. The movie will be shown on an estimated 4,000 screens, according to Box Office Mojo. Also scheduled for release is Warner Bros.’ “Happy Feet Two,” playing on more than 3,600 screens, as well as ``The Descendants,'' withGeorge Clooney, from Fox Searchlight.

“Breaking Dawn,” the final novel by Stephenie Meyer, has been divided into two films, starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. In “‘Part 1,’’ Bella Swan, played by Stewart, marries Pattinson’s character, vampire Edward Cullen, and becomes pregnant.

Global Appeal

The two preceding ‘‘Twilight’’ films, ‘‘Eclipse’’ and ‘‘New Moon,’’ averaged just under $300 million at the domestic box office, comparable to the $298.6 million average for Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s eight ‘‘Harry Potter’’ movies.

‘‘Twilight’’ hasn’t matched the appeal outside the U.S. of ‘‘Harry Potter,’’ the biggest movie franchise of all time with $7.7 billion in worldwide ticket sales.

Globally, the three ‘‘Twilight’’ films have averaged $600.3 million, according to Box Office Mojo data, below the ‘‘Potter’’ films’ $963.1 million average.

Summit, the closely held film studio based in Santa Monica, California, has scheduled the final ‘‘Twilight’’ picture for release in November 2012.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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