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'Twilight Saga' Finale A Guaranteed Mega-Hit

'Twilight Saga' Finale A Guaranteed Mega-Hit
11/15/2012 2:18 PM ET

As Summit launches the final piece of one of the most lucrative franchises in history, long lines around the country are a guarantee for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2." As the latest "Twilight" puts up one of the biggest openings of the year this weekend, Steven Spielberg's acclaimed historical documentary "Lincoln" will also get its wide release after a promising start in select cities a week ago. Also hanging around the top of the box office this weekend will be "Skyfall," which continues to see enormous revenue totals both in the U.S. and around the globe, making it the most profitable James Bond release since the 1960s.

When "Twilight" first hit theaters in November of 2008, there was no way for distributor Summit to know how big of a hit it was truly going to be. Even with a slender budget of just $37 million and rough critical reviews, "Twilight" was a smashing commercial success, earning nearly $400 million worldwide and making Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson instant stars. Since the original entry, Summit has grown the franchise both domestically and abroad, with total box office revenue exceeding $700 million for last year's entry, "Breaking Dawn - Part 1."

Heading into its opening weekend, finale "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" already boasts very strong early ticket sales and midnight screenings are expected to be packed across the country, which should lead to a spectacular opening weekend thanks to its ravenous fan base. Considering that "Part 1" posted a phenomenal $138 million opening a year ago over the same weekend in November, expectations are understandably high for "Part 2." With "The Hunger Games," "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Avengers" all breaking $150 million in opening weekend revenue, look for "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" to join the club with somewhere in the neighborhood of $155 to $160 million this weekend.

But while a big domestic opening is just about a guarantee, numbers overseas should also be very impressive. According to Deadline, ticket sales in lucrative foreign markets like France, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands are well beyond what they were for "Part 1," which could be a sign that overall foreign revenue will see a significant jump. Though the last two entries ended up right around $700 million worldwide, "Part 2" has the potential to earn upwards of $800-$900 million around the globe, making for a fitting send-off for the popular series.

As "Twilight" fans pour into "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" this weekend, older audiences may be more inclined to check out "Lincoln," director Steven Spielberg's acclaimed biopic of the iconic American President. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis in a performance many are already touting as Oscar worthy, "Lincoln" has one of the most impressive casts of the year, including Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a bevy of well-known character actors.

But despite the early critical acclaim and recognizable cast, the big question is whether or not it can cross over to mainstream audiences. Even with some awards season buzz, Spielberg's historical dramas "War Horse," "Munich" and "Amistad" were only moderate hits at the box office, and "Lincoln" could be in store for a similar theatrical run if it doesn't catch on with adult audiences this weekend. "Lincoln" does have the advantage of being a good choice for families with older kids heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, though a big opening isn't likely as it hits roughly 1,500 venues this weekend. Look for "Lincoln" to post a decent $15-$17 million in opening revenue but to see strong daily numbers in the typically lucrative Thanksgiving week.

Also in line for another big weekend is the latest James Bond release, "Skyfall." Backed by nearly universal critical praise and huge worldwide figures, it looks like "Skyfall" has truly caught on with audiences, which will soon lead it to becoming the first Bond to cross $200 million in domestic revenue. "Skyfall" should come close to a 10-day total of $170 million in the U.S., which will already push it past the domestic total of 2008's "Quantum of Solace." But even though "Skyfall" is already a huge hit, it still has a ways to go to catch up with some of the early entries in the series, as both "Goldfinger" (1964) and "Thunderball" (1965) earned more than $500 million domestically when adjusting for ticket inflation.

Next weekend, director Ang Lee's ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") heralded adventure film "Life of Pi" hits theaters looking to find a wide audience, as will Paramount/Dreamworks' latest animated feature, "Rise of the Guardians." Chris Hemsworth-starring action-thriller "Red Dawn" will also get a wide release next weekend and director David O' Russell's drama "Silver Linings Playbook" is expected to expand nationwide after a very limited release this weekend.

RTT Box Office Predictions for 11/16/12 - 11/18/12 (in millions):

1) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (Summit): $157

2) Skyfall (Sony/Columbia): $49

3) Wreck-It Ralph (Disney): $19

4) Lincoln (Disney): $17

5) Flight (Paramount): $8

6) Argo (Warner Brothers): $3.9

7) Taken 2 (Fox): $2.1

8) Here Comes the Boom (Sony/Columbia): $1.6

9) Cloud Atlas (Warner Brothers): $1.3

10) Pitch Perfect (Universal): $1.2

by RTT Staff Writer

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