By Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times –
LOS ANGELES — Fans flocked to theaters late Thursday night for the final big screen foray by Bella, Jacob and Edward. However, there weren’t as many as those who turned out for Harry Potter’s farewell last year.
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2” grossed $30.4 million from screenings at 10 p.m. Thursday and at or soon after midnight in the U.S. and Canada, according to an estimate from the distributor, Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment.
Though huge, that number is smaller than the $43.5 million taken in by “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2” in July 2011 from midnight screenings only.
It doesn’t even appear to be the biggest late night for a “Twilight” movie. That record is held by “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” which generated about $30 million from midnight screenings only in June 2010.
Both those movies started in the summer, however, when more children are out of school and able to go to a late-night movie.
Last November, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1” generated $30.3 million from midnight screenings at the same time, the Friday before Thanksgiving.
Lionsgate decided to kick off “Breaking Dawn Part 2” with earlier shows at 10 p.m. in a bid to draw more excited fans who couldn’t stay out for a midnight movie. However, it appears that the change didn’t make a difference to the final box-office result.
The movie is projected to have a massive opening of about $150 million this weekend, which would be a record for the vampire franchise.