Photo: Summit PicturesThe "Twilight" franchise has come to an end ... but it will certainly not go quietly into the, er, dawn.
"Breaking Dawn - Part 2," the final installment in the astonishingly successful fantasy series, officially opened in theaters at 10 p.m. on Thursday night. Not surprisingly, the pre-Friday screenings set the stage for what will no doubt be a wildly lucrative weekend for Summit Entertainment.
[Related: See showtimes for 'Breaking Dawn - Part 2']
According to Fandango.com, "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" represented 92 percent of Thursday's ticket sales, making for thousands of sold-out late-night screenings across the country. The fourth and final "Twilight" movie has dominated the site since tickets first went on sale on October 1.
According to Summit (via Deadline), "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" earned $30.4 million from 10 p.m. and midnight screenings on Thursday. This figure is on par with the midnight box office tally of this past summer's "The Dark Knight Rises" ($30.6 million) but a far cry from that of Summer 2011's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" ($43.5 million).
Don't think that the vampires and werewolves still won't be giving the wizards and witches a run for their money, though.
The "Twilight" series has been a franchise to be reckoned with from the start, proving that Stephenie Meyer's vampire romance saga had a fan base that could rival that of "Harry Potter." According to Box Office Mojo, the first "Twilight" (2008) took in $69.6 million its opening weekend and went on to earn $192.8 million total.
Just one year later, "New Moon" (2009) more than doubled its predecessor's opening weekend box office tally, raking in $142.8 million and closing at $296.6 million. The third (and darkest) installment, "Eclipse" (2010), is to date the series' highest grosser at $300.5 million, a total that last year's "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" fell just short of with $281.3 million.
The weekend opening of "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" is currently estimated at over $150 million. That figure will easily make the final "Twilight" film a franchise-best ... and it could possibly overtake the $169.5 million opening of "Deathly Hallows - Part 2."
The "Dawn" is certainly rising overseas as well, as the film has already brought in over $13.8 million from international markets after opening on Wednesday in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and French and Italian-speaking Switzerland, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Well, at least we know Bella and Edward will be able to afford a nice house somewhere ... or, like, a few dozen.
The cast of 'Breaking Dawn 2' talks to Yahoo! Movies:
'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 2' Insider Access: Edward and Jacob