Currently rolling out worldwide, will the final instalment of the Twilight Saga manage to stake a bigger claim on the global market than previous films in the series? Ian Sandwell reports
The Twilight series has to date been remarkably consistent at the global box office. New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn - Part 1 ended up within $14m of each other, with the latter providing the series high of $712.2m worldwide.
Given the behemoth it has become, it is easy to forget that Twilight had somewhat humble beginnings. The first instalment achieved a respectable $393.6m worldwide in 2008/9 and that may appear low, especially in light of The Hunger Games’ $686.5m haul earlier this year; yet Twilight had arguably a more limited audience appeal than The Hunger Games and was at the time headed by unknowns in the form of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.
A worldwide opening of $340.5m, 38% higher internationally than Part 1, for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 shows promise it can match Part 1’s series-topping haul. Both were directed by Bill Condon.
The film opened in the US and 61 international territories on November 16. As with Part 1, it is receiving a more concentrated international release, compared with the steady roll-outs of Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse, over a couple of weeks before opening in the likes of Hong Kong and Japan in December.
The UK led the way with $25.1m to achieve the series’ best-ever debut, while the Spanish result of $12m is the highest three-day weekend of all time in the territory, and the two million admissions recorded in France is the biggest opening there in 2012. There were also strong returns in Latin America with $42.6m, and the CIS provided the second-highest international opening for Breaking Dawn - Part 2 with $22m.
A worldwide opening of $340.5m for Part 2 shows promise it can match Part 1’s series-topping haul
It is clear Part 2 can rely on certain territories for a consistent return. The UK, for example, has been top of the overseas pile for the previous three films with grosses of more than $45m for each; Germany was champion for the original Twilight with $24.8m and while returns have dipped from New Moon’s $36.8m, both Eclipse and Breaking Dawn - Part 1 took a $33m bite of the local box office.
If Breaking Dawn - Part 2 is to match its predecessor’s series record, its success might lie in its forays into Brazil and the CIS. Alongside the UK, these two territories are the only ones in the top 10 international Twilight territories that have seen consistent growth throughout the series.
From a $6.7m overall gross for Twilight, the series has boomed in Brazil up to $27.3m for New Moon through $30.2m for Eclipse and climaxing with $37.7m for Breaking Dawn - Part 1. It is a similar story in the CIS, where $3.5m for Twilight from a release of 251 prints rocketed to $32.2m for Breaking Dawn - Part 1 from an 800-print release.
And while Asia might not provide the biggest numbers, the consistency is strong. The Philippines provided one of the top 10 returns for the original Twilight at $4.6m and has continuously added around $6m to the overall bounty for each film since. Also, even if grosses may have dipped slightly for Breaking Dawn - Part 1, South Korea is among the top 10 territories across the series.
The latter was one of the first Twilight films to receive a significant release in China (New Moon went straight to video) in October 2012 with around $5m and, as with many other imports this year in the territory, if Breaking Dawn - Part 2 can avoid going up against a fellow big-hitter, it could prosper from China’s box-office boom. Part 2 will be distributed by ESA in the territory, with a release date to be confirmed.
However, the franchise is not all upward curves and consistency internationally. Overall, Italy has provided $87.2m, yet grosses have dropped from $27.6m for New Moon to $21.1m for Breaking Dawn - Part 1; France fell from $37.8m for New Moon to $29.7m for the latest instalment.
Even domestically, Breaking Dawn - Part 1 marked the lowest return for a Twilight film since the original. Part 1’s $281.3m might have been 2011’s third-biggest grosser, yet it failed to match the $300.5m achievement of Eclipse and was even behind New Moon’s $296.6m.
On the whole, these declines are the exception rather than the rule, meaning that Part 2 shouldn’t have any problem with potential audience fatigue as a result of splitting Stephenie Meyer’s final book into two films.
Indeed, with early reviews suggesting a cinematic high point for the franchise - albeit often in back-handed compliments, such as with Screen’s Brent Simon stating it is “one of the better entries of a middling series” - The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 is well set to sink its fangs into the global box office to the tune of $700m for a final time.