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Summit Entertainment’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1 is on course to score the second-best opening of 2011, but it remains to be seen whether it can match the $142.8 million debut of The Twilight Saga: New Moon on the same weekend two years ago.
PHOTOS: ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part I’ Black Carpet Premiere
For Friday itself, Breaking Dawn is looking at a gross of $73.5 million, which would represent a franchise best. New Moon grossed $72.7 million on its first Friday.
The weekend’s other new entry, Warner Bros.’ Happy Feet Two, got off to a slower-than-expected start, grossing an estimated $6 million on Friday for a projected weekend gross of $22 million to $24 million. The 3D family toon hopes to make up ground during Thanksgiving week.
PHOTOS: ‘Twilight’ and the Top 15 Grossing Threequels of All Time
Breaking Dawn began playing in 3,251 theaters at 12:01 a.m. Friday, earning $30.3 million in midnight grosses before moving into a total of 4,061 locations by mid-morning.
Until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 came along this summer, the last two Twilight pics set records for best midnight performance. This summer, Deathly Hallows earned a massive $43.6 million in midnight grosses on its way to grossing north of $160 million in its first weekend. Breaking Dawn now stands at No. 2 in terms of all-time midnight best.
PHOTOS: New Images of ‘Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn’
Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, Breaking Dawn was directed by Bill Condon.
As of Thursday, Breaking Dawn had already earned $8.9 million from a handful of foreign markets.
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