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Twilight's Box Office Explodes as Its Licensing Partnerships Grow Up

Source: Summit Entertainment

Teenage girls just can't get enough vampire melodrama. The fourth and second to last movie in the 'Twilight' series opens Friday, and it's already getting throngs of obsessive "twi-hards" to open their wallets.

By early this week the film had sold out more than 2,500 screenings, many of those midnight screenings.

It'll be playing late tonight at 3,250 locations — screenings many fans plan to attend in attire befitting the wedding the characters 'Bella' and 'Edward' have in the film.

The question is whether the film can top the record for midnight screenings set by 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,' set this summer.

Twilight Hallmark Ornament Keepsakes
Source: hallmark.com
Twilight Hallmark Ornament Keepsakes

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1," has a very good chance of setting records.

It's projected to gross as much as $140 million in the US this weekend, making it only the second film this year to top $100 million in its first weekend.

At the high end, some estimates are as much as $155 million. With the film expanding to over 4,000 locations in the US and 54 countries worldwide, plus the potential to hang on over the Thanksgiving holiday-this could be the biggest Twilight yet. At very least it'll take Twilight's US gross above the $1 billion mark and its worldwide gross well above $2 billion.

Twilight dinner plates
Source: Amazon
Twilight dinner plates

The studio behind Twilight, Summit, is privately held, but the film's impact should boost movie theater companies like Regal, Cinemark and Carmike. The female-heavy audience is just the kind that buys lots of concessions, and returns for multiple viewings. Plus, there are the slew of licensing partners who stand to cash in on Twilight mania.

Twilight Wedding Invite
Source: hallmark.com
Twilight Wedding Invite

The list of Twilight-branded products is breathtakingly far-reaching, with far more diverse demographic appeal than any prior Twilight film.

Of course there's the usual movie merchandise — Barbies from Mattel, t-shirts from HotTopic , lunchboxes.

But what sets this licensing bonanza apart is the fact that the film features a wedding, and it seems marketers expect every fan-girl to shell out big cash to imagine walking down the aisle to Edward the sparkly-skinned vampire.

Consumers can buy in to every part of the Bella-Edward wedding, from an invite from Hallmark to the wedding dress itself.

Summit licensed the film's Caroline Herrera-designed dress to a mass-market bridal store.

So for $799 brides-to-be can snap up Bella's dress at 400 shops around the country.

For those determined to recreate Bella's signature waves, there's a branded Bella-branded curling iron.

Bella's Mushroom Ravioli
Source: bellaitaliapa.com
Bella's Mushroom Ravioli

Fans can literally eat, drink and sleep twilight — there's Bella's Mushroom Ravioliand Twilight plates.

Wildflower Linen has licensed Twilight's brand for home decor, linens and bedding inspired by the movie.

Fans can wear Twilight maternity shirts and yes, even dress their babies in Team Edward or Team Jacob baby bibs.

Summit was quite strategic when it decided to split the final book into two movies.

Not just another opportunity for a box office payday, the additional release is yet another opportunity to trot out yet another slew of licensed products.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.