'Twilight' Does It Again: A Record-Breaking Final Bow
CNBC Media and Entertainment Reporter
Those glitter-skinned vampires are at it again: "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2" is breaking more records.
The fifth and final film in the franchise grossed an estimated $30.4 million from Thursday night and midnight shows in North America.
That's the third biggest opening ever, according to Hollywood.com, a hair ahead of the prior "Twilight" last year. It means that four "Twilight" films are in the top six biggest openings ever. And it puts the film on track to pull in as much as $150 million at the U.S. box office this weekend.
Overseas the film is off to an even bigger start—setting records in Italy and France for the biggest one day gross of the year. On Wednesday, when it was open in just a half dozen countries, it grossed some $14 million.
The big winner is Lionsgate, which bought the producer of the films, Summit, for $412.5 million in cash and stock in January. After the massive success of "Hunger Games" this spring, this firmly solidifies the studio's stranglehold on this highly profitable genre: movies based on hit young adult fiction. (Read More: 'Twilight' for Lionsgate? Nope, Says Adami.)
Needless to say, we can assume that somewhere in the first few weeks of the release of "Breaking Dawn Part 2," the Summit acquisition will start to boost Lionsgate's bottom line. A strong box office always indicates higher DVD and home entertainment revenue. And the more people who see a movie, the more merchandise is likely to sell.
Lionsgate isn't the only company cashing in on the "Twilight phenomenon." The publisher of the books—Little, Brown—is owned by Hachette Group. A new movie always reinvigorates interest in the book series. (Read More: Is the Movie Business Killing the Movies?)
There is also an eclectic group of licensing partners.
Jamba Juice is offering a limited edition Breaking Dawn "Berry Bitten" smoothie. This is part of a promotional campaign which includes Jamba Juice and "Breaking Dawn"-branded slap bracelets, and Twitter-based sweepstakes that awarded 1,000 winners tickets to advance screenings.
Yahoo Movies did an online showing of the red carpet premiere, looking to draw fans to its site.
Time Warner Cable offered its customers a chance to attend the Hollywood premiere with a sweepstakes.
And there's a limited edition makeup collection from European cosmetics line, essence.
The better the movie does, the more valuable these tie-ins are to the partner companies.
—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin
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