‘Twilight’ Sequel Nabs Release Date
Rushing to capitalize on the success of Twilight, distributor Summit Entertainment staked out a release date for the sequel. New Moon, based on the second book of the four-novel series by Stephenie Meyer, is scheduled to be unleashed on Nov. 20, 2009. That's the same pre-Thanksgiving weekend timeframe that Twilight debuted on, and follows a pattern set forth by other fantastical fan favorites, such as the Harry Potter series.

The release date announcement comes after Twilight crossed the $150 million mark on Sunday, its 24th day of release. Produced for $37 million, the picture has been a rousing success, ranking as the highest-grossing vampire movie and teen romance on record (unadjusted). Over the weekend, Summit also announced that Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass) would direct New Moon, a personnel shift from Twilight's Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen).

Summit reported the following description for New Moon: "Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is devastated by the abrupt departure of her vampire love, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), but her spirit is rekindled by her growing friendship with the irresistible Jacob Black. Suddenly, she finds herself drawn into the world of the werewolves, ancestral enemies of the vampires, and finds her loyalties tested."

That means next November will see two werewolf movies face-off. Last week, Universal Pictures shifted the release of its horror remake, The Wolfman, featuring Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, from April 3 to Nov. 6.

Historically, werewolves have not been as popular as vampires at the box office. For instance, werewolf romance Blood and Chocolate made $3.5 million in its entire run, a number that vampire romance Twilight had surpassed within its first few hours of release. In recent years, the only successful werewolf movies have been Underworld and its sequel, though those were about a war between vampires and werewolves and the vampires had top billing. The third movie, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, opens Jan. 23, and emphasizes the werewolves based on its title and trailer.

Twilight shifted to the pre-Thanksgiving weekend to take advantage of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince's departure from that date. Now with New Moon, the Twilight franchise repeats the one-year gap of the first two Harry Potter movies, which opened on the same pre-Thanksgiving weekends in 2001 and 2002.

Currently, three other nationwide releases are scheduled for Nov. 20, 2009: sci-fi animation Planet 51, detective adventure Sherlock Holmes (with Robert Downey Jr., and Jude Law) and the Farelly Bros.' Untitled Three Stooges Project.

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