November is in their blood

So Summit execs stick to 'Twilight' release plan

November is for vampires.

That seems to be the thinking at Summit Entertainment, which Monday slotted the film "New Moon" — the sequel to vampire romance "Twilight" — for Friday, Nov. 20. "Twilight" opened with a huge $69.6 million in domestic boxoffice in the Nov. 21 frame this year, and distributors tend to return to the scene of such happy events with future franchise installments.

"Same time, same place," Summit distribution boss Richie Fay said. "If it's also the same gross, we'll be very pleased. Hopefully, we'll have even better results."

Execs at Summit — which announced plans for a sequel on just the second day of release for "Twilight" — recently confirmed that Chris Weitz ("The Golden Compass") will direct "New Moon." The mini-major recently parted ways on the project with Catherine Hardwicke, who helmed the original.

Both vampire pics are based on books in the teen literary series by Stephenie Meyer.

Three other films also are set to bow over the Nov. 20 frame, a particularly choice date because it precedes the Nov. 26 Thanksgiving holiday and thus affords strong openers an almost guaranteed solid second session. Those include Warner Bros.' Guy Ritchie-helmed "Sherlock Holmes," starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law; Sony's animated feature "Planet 51," featuring a voice cast topped by Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott and Jessica Beal; and MGM's untitled Three Stooges project, which the Farrelly brothers are directing.

However, with 11 months to go, there likely will be at least some jockeying for the pre-Turkey Day weekend and other key dates in the 2009 holiday season.

"Things are just heating up," a top industryite suggested. (partialdiff)
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