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Box Office Preview: George Clooney's 'The Descendants' Lands in Theaters Wednesday

Courtesy of Fox Searchlight
"The Descendants"

The Alexander Payne-directed film is opening midweek in New York and Los Angeles to build word-of-mouth and get a jump on box office giant "The Twilight: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1," which could take away women.

No one is immune to Twilight mania -- not even George Clooney.

On Wednesday, Alexander Payne’s new Clooney movie, The Descendants, opens in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles in a bid to spark buzz and give it a two-day lead over The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1.

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Summit Entertainment’s Breaking Dawn opens nationwide Friday in thousands of theaters following a heavy midnight play Thursday. Because the Twilight franchise is such a mother-daughter draw, Descendants could have to compete with the threequel for for older women.

Still, Fox Searchlight’s critically acclaimed Descendants -- already an awards darling -- has a strong shot at nabbing one of the top debuts of the year for a limited release. On Friday, the film expands into an additional 11 markets and 29 theaters.

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Breaking Dawn is poised to be a box office behemoth, with hundreds of midnight shows already sold out. Conservative estimates show the film opening to $110 million to $125 million at the domestic box office, although final tracking is still coming in.

Two years ago, The Twilight Saga: New Moon opened on the same weekend to $142.8 million. Last year, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse grossed $157.6 million in its first five days when debuting June 30, a Wednesday.

This weekend marks the official start of the Thanksgiving box office. Also opening Friday is Warner Bros.’ family toon Happy Feet Two.

PHOTOS: 'Happy Feet Two' Blue Carpet Premiere Arrivals

On Nov. 23, a bevy of other family films open heading into the long holiday weekend, in addition to specialty awards titles including The Artist, My Week With Marilyn and A Dangerous Method.

Desendants will make its own major push Nov. 23 as it expands into more than 400 theaters Nov. 23.