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BREAKING DAWN PART 2: Midnight Box-Office Record Within Reach?

Breaking Dawn Part 2 Bella Swan and Edward Cullen Kristen Stewart and Robert PattinsonBreaking Dawn Part 2: Can final Twilight movie break 2D midnight box office record?

Breaking Dawn Part 2, starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, opens tonight at 10 p.m. in a number North American locations, before expanding to hundreds of theaters at midnight. Is a midnight record within reach? (Photo: Breaking Dawn Part 2 Bella Swan-Cullen and Edward Cullen / Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.)

Well, at this stage Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2's $43.5 million midnight take in July 2011 seems unbeatable. Also, the 10 p.m. Breaking Dawn Part 2 screenings will dilute some of the box office power of the final Twilight movie's midnight showings.

Breaking Dawn Part 2: 2D midnight box office record likely

Even so, I'd be very surprised if the last installment in the Twilight movie franchise doesn't shatter the midnight box office record for 2D movies. After all, Breaking Dawn Part 2 is not only the fifth and final movie in the immensely popular Twilight franchise — one of the most successful (worldwide) in history — but it has also received mostly positive notices from a number of top critics, including those from the New York Times, Newsday, and Time magazine. Overall, Breaking Dawn Part 2 has a mediocre 56 percent approval rating and 5.5/10 average rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.

Ah, and let's not forget the Kristen Stewart "cheating scandal" this past summer, which highlighted Stewart's off-screen relationship with her Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson while strongly increasing awareness of the upcoming Breaking Dawn Part 2. As expected, Stewart and Pattinson were back together again in time to promote — and raise even more awareness for — what could possibly be their last movie together.

The current midnight box office record holder (not adjusted for inflation*) is Christopher Nolan / Christian Bale's The Dark Knight Rises, with $30.6 million last July. Of note, Breaking Dawn Part 2 is the first big-time midnight release since TDKR's, when headlines were made not by Batman movie franchise box office records but by the Colorado mass murder.

I should add that the three Twilight Saga sequels — all of them starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner — are among the top five domestic midnight grossers in North American moviegoing history, trailing only the final Harry Potter and Batman movies: Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 with $30.3 million, David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse with $30m (on a Tuesday), and Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon with $26.3m.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 cast

Directed by Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Dreamgirls) from a screenplay by Twilight movie franchise screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is based on the second half of Stephenie Meyer's novel Breaking Dawn.

Besides the aforementioned Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, the extensive Breaking Dawn Part 2 cast includes Mackenzie Foy (as Bella Swan-Cullen and Edward Cullen's fast-growing child Renesmee), Dakota Fanning, Michael Sheen, Elizabeth Reaser, Peter Facinelli, Ashley Greene, MyAnna Buring, Daniel Cudmore, Nikki Reed, Mia Maestro, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Billy Burke, Maggie Grace, and Christian Camargo.

In addition to the following, mostly as vampires or werewolves of various sorts and persuasions: Rami Malek, Maggie Grace, Omar Metwally, Christopher Heyerdahl, Cameron Bright, Booboo Stewart, Charlie Bewley, Jamie Campbell Bower, Julia Jones, Lee Pace, Casey LaBow, Bronson Pelletier, Noel Fisher, Andrea Gabriel, Alex Meraz, Angela Sarafyan, Masami Kosaka, Amadou Ly, Janelle Froehlich, Judith Shekoni, Lateef Crowder, and Kiowa Gordon.

And finally: Christie Burke, JD Pardo, Lisa Howard, Erik Odom, Marlane Barnes, Bill Tangradi, Guri Weinberg, Tracey Heggins, Billy Wagenseller, John Edward Lee, Patrick Brennan, Andrea Powell, Toni Trucks, Joe Anderson, Valorie Curry, and Chaske Spencer.

* Adjusted for inflation, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 may hold the 2D midnight box office record with about $30.7m. It's unclear because figures are too close, and annual movie-ticket-cost estimates vary throughout the year.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 Bella Swan-Cullen and Edward Cullen / Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson photo: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment.

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