Fans turn vampire movie into major event

Fangirls are intent on turning Summit Entertainment’s “Twilight” into the event of the season, with more than 500 Thursday midnight shows sold out, according to online ticketer Fandango.

Summit and exhibitors decided to add hundreds of midnight screenings in advance of Friday’s official opening based on demand.

The “Twilight” book series is a beloved brand among tween girls and teenage girls. More than 17 million copies of Stephenie Meyer’s books have sold nationwide, including 8.5 million copies in the U.S.

Observers don’t quite know how to gauge “Twilight’s” box office potential. Advance ticket sales are outpacing those for Disney’s “High School Musical 3: Senior Year,” which opened to $42 million.

In May, “Sex and the City” stunned Hollywood when debuting to $57 million, an unheard of opening gross for a chick pic.

Generally speaking, female-skewing titles have modest openings but strong playability.

But that tradition is changing. Like “Sex and the City,” Disney’s “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour” and “High School Musical 3” both saw boffo openings on the strength of girls.

According to, nearly 400 runs of “Twilight” are sold out for the weekend.

Of those responding to a Fandango online survey, 65% said it was the love story that appealed to them most, while 18% said it was the vampire aspect.

In Westwood on Monday, hundreds of “Twilight” fans camped out to get a glimpse of that night’s premiere.

How high “Twilight” opens depends on how many teenage boys as well as older women go to see the pic. There are reportedly 8,000 members of fan club “Twilight” Moms.

On the foreign front, Summit’s going day-and-date in four major markets with launches in Italy, Mexico, Russia and Sweden.

Pic will open in a staggered pattern, with most markets rolling out prior to Christmas. London will see a premiere on Dec. 3, ahead of its Dec. 19 launch.

(Dave McNary contributed to this report.)

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