With a yearlong gap between films, 'Breaking Dawn' waits until dusk
The studio announced this morning that the second installment of "Breaking Dawn" will follow the first one by a full year, coming out on Nov. 16, 2012. This despite the fact that Bill Condon is shooting the movies back-to-back beginning this fall, which would mean the second film would certainly be ready by the summer of 2012.
We were already a little perplexed that the first "Breaking Dawn" was being held for November 2011, putting nearly a 1-1/2 years between installments. With this announcement it's clear what Summit is thinking: Stick with the autumn and avoid the summer.It may not be the worst move from a seasonal standpoint. Despite bringing out "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" in an expectation-laden summer, Summit has been able to gin up only marginally more business for the David Slade film than it did for the November release of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon." (Domestic grosses at a comparable point in the release cycle sit at $288 million, compared to $277 million for "New Moon.)
But in taking its time between the movies, Summit is increasing the risk that that fans will get distracted or lose some enthusiasm.
Warner Bros.' Harry Potter franchise was able to wait longer stretches between a few of its installments -- for much of the film series, a stream of new books kept the property front-of-mind. "Twilight" doesn't have that. It has to hope interest carries over between films all on its own, and that filmgoers don't outgrow it or move on to a new phenomenon in between.The yearlong wait between the two "Breaking Dawn" films is even more striking because the two movies come from source material that was initially conceived as a whole. No matter where Condon and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg choose to split the book (spoiler alert: Bella's traumatic childbirth is a logical option), for filmgoers it will mean waiting a full year for what’s essentially the same story to pick up again.
With its bang-bang release of the first three “Twilight” films, Summit was initially perhaps a little too worried fans would age up or lose interest over time. With the more languid pacing for the final two, it's possible they may not be concerned enough.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: 'Breaking Dawn' book jacket. Credit: Little, Brown
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