It appears the summer release experiment for “The Twilight Saga” was not as successful as Summit Entertainment had hoped. The studio announced today that “Breaking Dawn, Pt. 2” will be released on Nov. 16, 2012. That’s a full year after the debut of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1” on Nov. 18, 2011.
After releasing both “Twilight” and “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” in November of 2008 and 2009, Summit made the seemingly smart move of moving “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” to a June 30, 2010 release date. This was because of both fervent interest from the franchise’s fanbase and the expectation that opening in the summer would allow for a larger gross due to the fact many teenagers would be out of school and able to see the film numerous times during the work week. Instead, “Eclipse” has grossed less than the previous chapter, “New Moon,” with only $288.1 million domestic and a total of $644.8 million worldwide so far. “New Moon” ended up with $296 million domestic and $709 million worldwide and it’s hard to see “Eclipse” matching that total as its grosses have slowed considerably. Considering “Eclipse” received universally better reviews than the previous two chapters and was the most action packed (i.e., male friendly) of the series this has to be something of a disappointment for Summit. Granted, there is no need to shed any tears as the studio and series creator Stephenie Meyer are still swimming in profits as the picture only cost $65 million.
In hindsight, however, the shouldn’t have come as that much of a shock even if it seems to go against conventional wisdom. The “Harry Potter” series has also released a number of chapters during the summer months and found mixed results. After the first two installments debuted in Nov. of 2001 and 2002 respectively, 2004’s “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” debuted in June and is actually the worst performing picture in the franchise with just $249.4 million. “The Order of the Phoenix” and “The Half-Blood Prince” have performed much better with their July releases, but some of that can be credited to increased ticket prices as well as IMAX ticket costs. It’s somewhat telling “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1” will open in Nov. of this year.
As for “Breaking Dawn,” production is expected to begin this Nov. with shooting split between Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Vancouver, British Colubmia. Oscar winner Bill Condon is at the helm and the entire cast will return including the trifecta of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner.