FANG FANDEMONIUM: 'Eclipse' Twi-Hards Crowding Theaters In U.S., Canada, Abroad; Biggest Ever Domestic Theatrical Release

4TH UPDATE, TUESDAY 11PM: I can report that theaters are mobbed by Twi-hards at Wednesday 12:01 AM screenings in Boston, NYC, Washington
DC, Paramus N.J., Detroit, Cleveland, Denver, Salt Lake City, Bellevue
WA, as well as in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Brazil, Mexico, Philippines,
Belgium, Netherlands, Poland, Africa, Hungary, and Finland.

Because unless you dwell underground or are a heterosexual male (just
kidding), then you know that theaters across the U.S. and Canada and
overseas are crowded with females of all ages for the opening of Eclipse.
They need their feature film fix of heroine Bella deciding between Team
Jacob vs Team Edward played by Kristin Stewart, Taylor Lautner,
and Robert Pattinson as novelized by Stephenie Meyer and scripted by
Melissa Rosenberg.

Around noon today I broke the news that Summit Entertainment is releasing the third movie in the Twilight Saga franchise into a record 4,416 theaters in North America. That's the biggest ever in
Hollywood history, surpassing Iron Man 2 which scored 4,380
venues. Amazingly, over 4,000 theaters in North America will be running
12:01 AM screenings Wednesday of the film including all 193 IMAX
locations. Several theater chains are also in the process of programming
3:00 AM screenings to meet fan demand, but at this point I can't get an
estimate on how many. IMAX is expected to have 120 of its theaters
running 3:00 AM shows. The movie currently accounts for 91% of
Fandango’s daily online ticket sales. From Fandango’s most recent survey
of more than 1,000 Eclipse ticket-buyers: Eclipse has
stronger date night appeal than New Moon or Twilight; its
action is a bigger draw than before; and more fans plan to show up at
theaters in costume.

At this point it is expected that additional theaters will be added for Friday, July 2nd. Just how many will be known in the next day or two.

Internationally the film will debut this week in 42 territories including Australia, Italy, Spain, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Belgium, Netherlands, Philippines, Turkey, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Greece,
Poland, Portugal, Hungary, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore,
among others.

The studio isn't playing the lowering expectations game this time around; Summit execs know Eclipse is going to be huge. The only question is whether it'll surpass the Twilight sequel New
which was the biggest yet. "New Moon set the bar so
high as a cultural phenomenon that Eclipse can only try to
reach that number," a Summit exec told me. A lot is going to depend on
whether Eclipse will attract more men because of its
high-octane vampires vs werewolves brawling directed by 30 Days Of
horror film helmer David Slade.

Going into Wednesday, 3 of the 4 major tracking services pegged Eclipse to New Moon numbers: an opening weekend of $142.8M domestic (and an eventual worldwide total of $710M). It's likely that
Eclipse's front-loaded 6-day opening could gross anywhere from $150M to
$179M. (Spider-Man 2 holds the July 4th holiday record with
$180M.) All on a budget of just $68M. That fact alone makes the major
studios green with envy.

The fandemonium has been frenzied for months: the TWILIGHT SAGA Facebook page now has 6.665 million fans. It's the largest of all the film pages, with more fans than Iron Man, Harry
, Transformers, and Toy Story Facebook
pages combined. So many
Twi-hards stood in line in advance of last week's Eclipse
premiere that Summit Entertainment had to set up two tent cities in
Downtown Los Angeles. Eclipse has been both Fandango's and's top advance ticket-seller of the year. This week, Entertainment
, the official magazine of receptionists, has a cover
line proclaiming Eclipse the "best of the Twilight
Saga so far".

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