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Twilight “Eclipse” eclipses “New Moon” as largest midnight opener in history

By Kim Palacios

HollywoodNews.com: We knew the premiere would be big—but actual results surpassed projections when “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” grossed more than $30 million in midnight sales, making it the largest midnight opener in history. Fans from across the country have become accustomed to 12:01 AM showings of the newest Twilight films, which are released at the earliest hour possible on the advertised date of release. Results for “Eclipse” bested the previous leader, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”.

The film opened in upwards of 4,400 theaters across North America and, by Friday, that number will rise. Add in a healthy second wave of fans who will see it in the coming days, and it will certainly top next week’s box office charts.

One key to the film’s success will be the propensity of die-hard fans to see the movie multiple times in the early days of release—the next several days will find a mixture of first-time viewers who could not make time for a mid-week midnight showing into busy schedules, second-and third-timers, and movie-lovers wanting to see whatever’s hot on a holiday weekend.

So, what’s in store for “Breaking Dawn”? It may be too early to tell. The films have not even begun shooting yet and by the November 2011 release of the fourth of five films, the franchise may have lost momentum. It is also unlikely that anyone on the planet has yet to hear of or read the Twilight books, which means the growth of the fan base with each film is now in deceleration mode.

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