‘Breaking Dawn’ rakes in $30.3 million from post-midnight screenings

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The fourth movie in the ‘Twilight’ franchise hit theaters only a few hours ago, but it is already sinking its teeth into the box office.

‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1,’ the latest installment in the mega-popular vampire series, has sold $30.3 million in tickets since opening in about 3,500 theaters at midnight on Friday, according to an estimate from distributor Summit Entertainment.


That’s slightly more than the $30 million brought in by the third ‘Twilight’ film, ‘Eclipse,’ when it debuted in the wee hours of the morning in June 2010.

Still, the new movie was unable to break the record held by ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2,’ which raked in an unprecedented $43.5 million post-midnight in July.

The strong early sales for ‘Breaking Dawn -- Part 1' may be an indication that the picture is on pace to have the biggest opening weekend ever for a ‘Twilight’ film. Industry estimates for its debut range from $140 million to $150 million. This weekend, the movie will be playing in more than 4,000 theaters.

Holding the current title for the highest grossing ‘Twilight’ weekend debut is the second movie, ‘New Moon,’ which hauled in $142.8 million in November 2009.


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-- Amy Kaufman