So far, Summit Entertainment's Twilight: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2 is pacing somewhat behind last year's penultimate installment at the North American box office.
Early Friday returns suggest the movie will gross in the $135 million range for the weekend, unless it plays differently and surges on Saturday. While certainly a strong number for a female-fueled tentpole, most thought it would do more.
Heading into the weekend, bullish box office observers predicted that Breaking Dawn 2 -- which concludes the blockbuster vampire series -- could open between $145 million and $150 million, a franchise best.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1 debuted to $138.1 million on the same weekend a year ago. In November 2009, The Twilight Saga: New Moon opened to $142.8 million.
Directed by Bill Condon, Breaking Dawn 2 returns Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner in the title roles.
Breaking Dawn 2 is projected to gross $65 million on Friday, including $30.4 million in Thursday night and midnight runs.
Overseas, the movie is well outpacing previous Twilight films, grossing $38.8 million from 37 territories where it opened on Wednesday and Thursday. Breaking Dawn 2 opens in another 24 foreign markets on Friday, bringing its total foreign count to 61 territories.
Elsewhere at the domestic box office, James Bond pic Skyfall is in the No. 2 position and should gross in the $40 million range in its second weekend.
Steven Spielberg's awards contender Lincoln is doing pleasing business as it expands nationwide after opening last weekend in only 15 theaters in select cities. Friday, the DreamWorks and Disney film expanded into more than 1,700 theaters.
Preliminary numbers show Lincoln grossing in the $20 million range for the weekend, a win considering the movie's modest screen count.