'Twilight: Breaking Dawn' Headed North of $710 Mil, A Franchise Best

11:08 AM PST 01/22/2012 by Pamela McClintock
Andrew Cooper/SMPSP/Summit Entertainment LLC

Lionsgate and Summit trumpet the victory in their first joint release since announcing the merger; through Sunday, the fourth outing in the blockbuster vampire series has earned $701.3 worldwide.

Summit Entertainment and its new parent compnay Lionsgate announced Sunday that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn--Part 1 will soon overtake the $709.8 million earned by The Twilight Saga: New Moon to become the top grossing title in the franchise.

The news went out on Lionsgate letterhead, and marks the first official Lionsgate-Summit release.

Through Sunday, Breaking Dawn has earned $701.3 million globally. It has yet to open in Japan and China.

Domestically, the pic has grossed $280.3 million, putting it behind threequel The Twilight Saga: Eclipse ($300.5 million) and sequel New Moon ($296.6 million).

Conversely, Breaking Dawn is already the franchise's top earner overseas, where its running cume is $421 million. The previous best was the $413.2 million earned by New Moon.

Newly annointed Lionsgate motion picture group co-chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger--who run Summit--said the milestone is important on several fronts, and illustrates the "vitality of the franchise on a global sclae even after four films."

"[Author] Stephenie Meyer's story and characters were brought to the screen this time via the talented hands of Bill Condon along with the cast and crew that has been with the film franchise since its inception," the duo said.

The final film in the series, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2, opens Nov. 16, 2012.

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