‘Breaking Dawn’ doesn’t quite break box office records

Bryan Enk
Movie Talk

The "Twilight" finale opened strong but perhaps not quite as sparkly as expected.

Expectations were high for the opening weekend box office tally of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2," with Summit Entertainment looking to celebrate what would be a franchise-best for a series that's been highly lucrative right out of the gate (or out of the coffin, if the vampires in the "Twilight" movies did that sort of thing). Somewhat surprisingly, the encore bow of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen didn't quite break the bank.

"Breaking Dawn - Part 2"'s estimated box office take of $141.3 million is certainly nothing to get emo-mopey about, but it actually falls just short of the debut of the second film in the series, 2009's "New Moon," which earned $142.8 million. However, the numbers put "Part 2" ahead of its direct predecessor, "Breaking Dawn - Part 1," which earned $138.1 million last year.

"Breaking Dawn - Part 2" is now ranked as the eighth best opening of all time and fourth for 2012, behind "The Avengers" ($207.4 million), "The Dark Knight Rises" ($160.8 million) and "The Hunger Games ($152.5 million). As HitFix points out, it's worth noting that neither "Breaking Dawn" nor "The Hunger Games" had the benefit of inflated 3D or IMAX ticket prices adding to their tally ("The Hunger Games" did have an IMAX release but only for one week later in its theatrical run).

Still, as respectable as the numbers are, it's something of a wonder as to why they weren't higher for the final "Twilight." As observed by Box Office Mojo, series finales (and especially those with extremely passionate fan bases) are usually known for having franchise-best openings, as demonstrated by "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" and "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" (although -- yeah, yeah -- technically that's no longer a "series finale"). Maybe some "Twilight" fans are still in denial that their favorite film series has come to a close and are resisting the inevitable (for now)?

However, "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" won't be disappearing into the night any time soon. According to Box Office Mojo, the film had a Friday-to-Saturday drop of only 42%, an improvement over the 44% of "Breaking Dawn - Part 1." It also earned an "A" CinemaScore ("A+" among those under 25), which means both word of mouth and repeat business should be considerable.

The question is, though: Can vampires and werewolves take on Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny when "Rise of the Guardians" opens on November 21? We'll have to see which ends up being the turkey of the upcoming holiday weekend.

Yahoo! Movies talks to the stars of 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2':