"The lesson is that it's all about positioning a film at a time when it will face as little direct competition as possible," explained Phil
Contrino, editor of BoxOffice.com. "Summit was wise to stay away from summer 2012, because it's shaping up to be a record-breaking season."
"The Avengers," "Madagascar 3" and "Men in Black 3" are all set to drop that May, followed by "Star Trek 2" in June, and then new
installments of "Spider-Man" (which already occupies the Fourth of July
slot held this year by "Eclipse"), "Ice Age" and "Batman."
"Why compete with an amazing slate like that if you don't have to?" Contrino added. "I'm sure 'Breaking Dawn, Part 2' would still open
very well during a summer that crowded, but its audience would be
devoured very quickly."
The point, then, is not that summer is a poor time to release a "Twilight" film but that fall simply presents less competition, which is
not to say that there will be no box-office battle in autumn. "Breaking
Dawn, Part 1" is set to open against "Happy Feet 2" on November 18,
2011, while the second in the two-part finale will compete with
"Monsters Inc. 2" on November 16, 2012. But when you consider the more
jam-packed summer season and the fact that an entire year will have
passed between "Twilight" flicks — as opposed to the eight months
between "New Moon" and "Eclipse" — the fall 2012 release date makes
"There's a mood and spirit to these movies that make them play really well in the fall. They're darker, they're more emotional than
standard summer fare, and thematically, fall is a great fit," said John
Singh, a box-office analyst for Flixster.
"It also allows the audience to build even greater anticipation —
rather than seeing the follow-up just a few months later. This gives
them a full year to anticipate the final film in a series that has
generated hugely positive response from its fanbase."
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