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Rediff.com  » Movies » Breaking Dawn breaks box office records in US but leaves reviewers cold

Breaking Dawn breaks box office records in US but leaves reviewers cold

November 18, 2011 13:48 IST
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1A huge surge is expected in worldwide box office receipts with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, the first of two films based on the final book in the vampire-werewolf saga, expected to earn over $250 million in just three days.

Some $150 million of that is expected to come from North America alone. And that gross alone could help the film recoup its $100 million investment in just three days.
By the end of the second week, even with a big slump in its collections, it would have covered the $100 million marketing cost and become profitable. Only about five percent of Hollywood films in a year do so in such a short time.

Analyst Roy Subers points out that the film will also reach 54 markets this weekend, including most major ones with the exception of Germany, South Korea, Japan and China.

Expect some $100 million from this market as the franchise is equally popular worldwide, and the worldwide gross will easily outsmart Tarsem's Immortals, which last week earned $68 million worldwide and was the number one film in the world. It is yet to open in half-a-dozen key territories including Spain and France. Its takings are expected to come down by 50 percent from the previous week.

The family film Happy Feet Two, with the voices of Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Elijah Wood and Robin Williams, earned about $35 million in North America.

But all eyes will be on Breaking Dawn, which like many big Hollywood hits is review proof.

The Twilight franchise has earned $1.8 billion globally from the first three movies in the series. With one more film in the pipeline (the second part of Breaking Dawn) the franchise could easily end up earning more than $3 billion, Forbes reported.

The film is directed by Bill Condon who got high praise for his box-office hit Dreamgirls but here the reviews are mostly in the negative. The film is written by writer Melissa Rosenberg (who wrote the screenplays for the first three Twilight films).

In the new saga, Bella (Kristen Stewart) walks down the aisle to share vows with her beloved Edward (Robert Pattinson) and after prolonged wedding and honeymoon scenes comes the news that Bella is pregnant and we learn that the human-vampire is killing her from the inside.

ImmortalsIn the ensuing tension and conflict, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), a werewolf and Bella's best pal, has to make critical decisions.

'The movie's second half is given over to the drama over Bella's belly and the accompanying vampire/werewolf battle,' declared a review in Salt Lake Tribune. 'It's here where the movie stops dead in its tracks, with melodrama so overwrought it veers into comedy. (Who knew that when werewolves "imprint" on their future love, it looks just like a Calvin Klein perfume ad?)'

The review continues scathingly: 'In Breaking Dawn, Part 1, the swoony romantic silliness of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight franchise plays louder than ever.'

While the previous film in the series got some good reviews, it is hard to find even a single moderate review in the mainstream publications.

'It breaks my heart to tell you that Breaking Dawn is broken,' writes the reviewer for the Los Angeles Times. 'The film doesn't have nearly the bite -- ferocious or delicious -- that any self-respecting vampire movie really should. It's as if all the life has drained away.'

Going by the box-office response worldwide, audiences have reacted more positively. It won't be the first time that a film panned by major critics goes on to win the hearts of audiences across continents.

The reviews for Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon and Pirates of the Caribbean: OST were quite negative, though not as blistering as the ones for Breaking Down, and yet each of the films made more than a $1 billion worldwide. Breaking Dawn is expected to gross at least $700 million worldwide.
Arthur J Pais in New York
 

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