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Despite Conflicted Reactions, ‘Twilight’ Smashes Box-Office Expectations With $70.5 Million

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CHICAGO – Despite conflicted reactions from critics and “Twilight” fans alike, the vampire romance film exceeded box-office expectations on its opening weekend and scored $70.5 million in domestic sales on a production budget of only $37 million. Estimates from Sunday morning tagged “Twilight” as earning a smashing $20,636 per theater.

Twilight from director Catherine Hardwicke stars Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen
“Twilight” from director Catherine Hardwicke stars Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen.
Image credit: Summit Entertainment

In addition, the film from director Catherine Hardwicke (“The Nativity Story,” “Lords of Dogtown”) set a record for the largest opening-weekend tally for a film by a female director. The previous record of $41.1 million was held by Mimi Leder for 1998’s “Deep Impact”.

Exit polling showed that opening-weekend “Twilight” moviegoers were dominated by females with 75 percent of ticket buyers of the feminine kind. “Twilight” now ranks as No. 3 on Fandango’s advance-ticket sales list.

Still, the film is currently rating at a 44 percent rotten out of 100 percent at Rotten Tomatoes based on 125 reviews from professional critics.

We learned even before opening “Twilight” weekend that a film sequel has already been given the go. In it, critics and fans alike are calling for a bigger-budget film that can better dazzle in some of the areas where the first one lacked.

For this critic, the special effects department in the first “Twilight” film especially stood out like an unfortunate sore thumb. Also, those who read the first Stephenie Meyer book may have felt like the film didn’t sell the connection between primary characters Bella and Edward as much as the book focused on it.

“Twilight,” which opened on Nov. 21, 2008, stars Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen from director Catherine Hardwicke.

StarSee our high-quality, 28-image “Twilight” slideshow.

StarRead our “Twilight” sequel story prior to opening weekend.

HollywoodChicago.com editor-in-chief Adam Fendelman

By ADAM FENDELMAN
Editor-in-Chief
HollywoodChicago.com
adam@hollywoodchicago.com

Anonymous's picture

Ok, Rob and Kristen are good

Ok, Rob and Kristen are good actors(they have both done some pretty good films, only that they didn’t have any funds for this sort of publicity), but honestly, what made them do this (cheesy) teen flick, really what?

HollywoodChicago.com's picture

Cheesy teen flick?

Anonymous wrote:
Ok, Rob and Kristen are good actors(they have both done some pretty good films, only that they didn’t have any funds for this sort of publicity), but honestly, what made them do this (cheesy) teen flick, really what?

Aside from this film, the only thing Robert Pattinson is known for is his relatively background role in two “Harry Potter” films. “Twilight” is far and away his biggest role yet.

As for your comment about this being a “cheesy teen flick,” the “Twilight” franchise has a huge following. Also, “Twilight” book readers and film fans are most certainly not just teens.

Anonymous's picture

Well, it’s certainly aimed

Well, it’s certainly aimed at teenagers and is incredibly cheesy  in several parts.   It may have a huge following but my opinion remains the same.  I know that Robert is famous only for Harry Potter and Twilight, but his acting is superior in his more or less uknown movies like How to Be, Little Ashes, Bad Mother’s Handbook, etc. Actually he was good in Harry  Potter, but Twilight? Hmm, I think he was a bit overwhelmed  playing the perfect man that Edward Cullen is supposed to be. He looked rather uncomfortable in it anyway.

Todd's picture

Opinions reflect book preferences

I was one of the parents in line at midnight with my wife and kid to catch the midnight showing at my local theater. After reading lots of reviews, I was braced for a horrible movie because I had expected a vast divergence of the plot from the book. But I was quite suprised at how closely the plot followed the book. The few changes that did exist made sense in terms of keeping the running time at something reasonable (though I’m a hardcore LotR fan, and a 3+ hour movie doesn’t bother me in the least).
In general, it’s a safe bet that if a reviewer pans the movie, they would not have liked the book either. So don’t take it on the chin, Twilight fans. If a reviewer disses your movie, they just have different tastes than you do. Chances are *you* would ding *their* favorites for opposite reasons (senseless violence, horrible adaptation of book, etc).

Windy's picture

It isn't just teens, or girls...

There are some of us guys who have seen it. Then again, even I am at a loss for how much I have watched it. I saw it, read every book in the series (and the 1/2 5th book online), and have continued to see it what… 10 times? And yet I am nearly 30 and a guy… oh well. There are some of us. I just wish that even I could explain why I have been watching it so much.

And as for the uncomfortable thing, reading the books, one of the things that was relatively emphasized was that the vamps were generally uncomfortable. I have heard people describe them as stiff, like cardboard cutouts. Well, good, again, it was hit upon again and again that they had to remind themselves to move occasionally.

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