There they are — squatting in Westwood outside Mann’s Village theater starting Sunday to have curbside views of the red carpet arrivals for the Twilight movie premiere on Monday. First about 25 people showed and then 50, mostly female, and growing in size. (It’s now around 300) One of their signs says, “Not Moving Til Twilight“. I’m assured that Summit Entertainment isn’t paying them to pull a publicity stunt. But hordes of teen fans of Stephenie Meyer’s four vampire books also camped out in downtown Toronto in the rain and cold on Friday to see the Twilight actors at MuchMusic’s studios on Saturday (photo below). The weekend before, 3,000 showed up at a similar event in San Francisco and created chaos when organizers had wristbands for only 1,000. And outside Chicago last week, chaos ensued when Twilight star Robert Pattinson appeared for a meet and greet at a mall where 500 fans waited outside — some overnight — to ask him for a “bite”. The fans first made their ardor known this past summer at Comic-Con when thousands camped out the night before to see the cast and crew present new footage.
Right now, Hollywood doesn’t quite know what to make of this frenzy in terms of estimating box office grosses for this low-cost blockbuster’s November 21st opening. My box office gurus are all over the place right now, with estimates ranging from $35M and maybe $40M all the way up to $60M. (“Well that would be something, especially for a one, to one and a half, quadrant movie. I guess after this weekend anything is possible but that seems very aggressive,” one major studio bigwig told me.) I’ve already reported that even two weeks before its opening, Twilight already sold out nearly 100 show times, and now that number is 200 a week before the November 21st release date across the nation. On Monday, Summit has arranged with the major theater circuits for Thursday midnight or Friday morning shows. On Monday, Summit has arranged with the major theater circuits for Thursday midnight or Friday morning shows in 3,386 theaters playing Twilight. With only a $37 million negative cost, this low-budget blockbuster just doesn’t happen often in the film biz. So if the movie lives up to the advance hype, Summit will be sitting on a big new franchise. As I’ve reported, the start-up studio is already prepping the sequel.
Meanwhile, the studio’s flacks keep having to update its brag sheet daily. The official film website has received over 11MM views since October. The trailers have garnered over 12MM views on MySpace, which is a record. The debut of the final trailer in the Twilight widget and on MySpace Trailer Park generated over 3.5 million views in the first 48 hours. It’s the 3rd most searched movie on IMDb Pro’s MOVIEMeter (others above it are already in theaters). Robert Pattinson is #2 on their STARMeter, ranking higher than Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, while Kristen Stewart is #4 on the list, higher than Angelina Jolie. There was so much response to the Twilight casting photos when they were initially posted that MTV.com’s server crashed. They did similar numbers to the Harry Potter and Spider-Man franchises.
In media, the Entertainment Weekly “Twilight Saga” cover was the best-seller of the year for the mag, surpassing the Dark Knight and Harry Potter covers. Because of this, EW is putting Twilight on another cover, which is rare for the mag to feature the same film like that twice. Vanity Fair features an entire cast spread in their December issue. When TV’s Extra aired a segment from Ashley Greene’s and Rachelle Lefevre’s H Magazine photo shoot, it was the second-highest rated show in primetime. Posted on the website, the segment generated 3x the traffic Extra got for the Jonas Brothers.
Overseas, ticket sales for the Rome International Film Festival sold out in a few hours, prompting festival organizers to add another screening. In Spain, over 1,000 screaming fans tried to get into a presentation at the Sitges Film Festival, more than 3x the maximum occupancy.
As for music, the Twilight soundtrack is #1 ( on Top 200, Soundtrack and Alternative charts) after one week of release. It’s the first soundtrack to accomplish this feat in 6 years (since 8 Mile was released). Even when the soundtrack wasn’t even completed, it was already in the Top 5 Best-Selling Albums on Amazon based on pre-sales alone. Paramore’s single “Decode” is a huge hit.