Summit Entertainment's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1 is on course to score the second-best opening of 2011 with a projected weekend gross of $135 million to $150 million.
For Friday itself, Breaking Dawn is looking at grosses of $65 million to $75 million, including $30.3 million in midnight earnings. So far, the film is performing relatively in line with the last two films in the franchise.
The best comparison is The Twilight Saga: New Moon, since it opened on the same weekend in 2009. On its first day, New Moon took in $72.7 million, including $26.8 million in midnight grosses. New Moon pulled in weekend grosses of $142.8 million.
In late June 2010, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opened on a Wednesday to $68.5 million on its way to grossing north of $157 million in its first five days. That film scored $30 million in midnight earnings.
Some box office observers are cautioning that Breaking Dawn was running slightly behind New Moon on Friday afternoon, but business picked up as evening shows began.
Breaking Dawn began playing in 3,251 theaters at 12:01 a.m. Friday, 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. Breaking Dawnnow stands at No. 2 in terms of all-time midnight best.
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.
Breaking Dawn is massive enough that it's taking business away from other films across the board, even new family toon Happy Feet Two, although the toon's fate will depend upon weekend traffic.