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Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 09-27-11


 
Scene from “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1”

Scene from “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1”

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1”

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1”

Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1”

Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1”

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1” – In theaters November 18th

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1” – In theaters November 18th

“Twilight” tickets: The boxoffice weather report that movie marketers pay attention to gives them daily awareness and interest scores for upcoming releases.

Awareness in tracking studies typically increases as studios spend more advertising money to get their message out to moviegoers. Interest, on the other hand, is harder to boost. If a movie’s about something people just aren’t interested in, there’s not much you can do to make them more interested.

But when you combine high awareness with strong interest, as is the case with Summit Entertainment’s blockbuster “Twilight Saga” franchise, the result is a perfect storm at the boxoffice.

“Twilight’s” interest and awareness stems from the series’ first three films grossing nearly $790 million in domestic theatres and establishing a huge fan base that”s hungry for more. It’s one of Hollywood’s biggest franchises ever and its success made Summit a studio powerhouse.

More of that same boxoffice lifeblood is what movie theatres are gearing up for right now with “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1” on the horizon. Although the new installment, directed by Bill Condon (“Gods and Monsters”) and re-teaming Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, doesn’t open until Nov. 18, tickets go on sale starting Saturday, Oct. 1, on www.MovieTickets.com

The early start for “Dawn” ticketing reflects previous experience with moviegoers wanting to make sure they’re among the very first to see the latest “Twilight.” Because “Dawn” is part one of the series’ two-part conclusion, it’s an even stronger must-see.

“This is one of those films that just generates incredible demand,” MovieTickets.com CEO Joel Cohen told me. “Summit has done a really great job of orchestrating tickets to go on sale well in advance, giving everybody the ability to secure their tickets at the time and place they want to and start to build additional anticipation for the movie’s opening in mid-November.”

MovieTickets.com, the leading global provider of advance movie ticketing, had great success with its pre-sales for “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” which went on to gross $300.5 million domestically plus another $398 million in international theatres.

In making the most of the franchise’s enormous popularity, Cohen explained, Summit’s marketing has always had “something going on and some level of interest they can bring to their fan base that has kept it relevant. So advance ticketing is another piece within the ‘Twilight’ timeline that really fits perfectly well.”

It also helps, he added, that Summit has been “a great partner” to work with and understands that moviegoers like having access to advance ticketing.

“They’ve done a fantastic job with ‘Twilight.’ There are a lot of other films that really could follow this same path in terms of building anticipation and putting tickets on sale as early as possible. With advance ticketing becoming more and more relevant and more and more popular, there definitely are opportunities.”

Last summer MovieTickets.com set online advance ticketing records with its pre-sales for Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” The concluding episode in the “Potter” franchise sold at least twice as many tickets as any other 2011 release and is the biggest pre-sale movie in MovieTickets.com's 11 year history.

Four “Harry Potters” and all three “Twilights” are on MovieTickets.com’s Top Ten advance ticketing sales list. Other hefty pre-sellers include: 20th Century Fox’s “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” New Line Cinema’s “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” and Warner Bros.’s “The Dark Knight.”

The sizzling pre-sales for the final “Harry Potter” and the anticipation that’s already building for the new “Twilight” are strong indications that moviegoing remains highly popular entertainment for millions of people.

“We had a tremendous summer,” Cohen noted. “We’re on record to sell more tickets this year than any other prior year. From an advance ticketing standpoint we’ve seen a lot of organic growth and a lot of additional people that have captured the benefits and convenience of purchasing tickets in advance. These are the kind of movies that really work well with what we do. That’s exciting for us and we’ve got a number of those films as we head into the end of the year.”

Bottom line: “Twilight” advance tickets go on sale starting Saturday, Oct. 1 on www.MovieTickets.com. If you don’t see tickets available for your favorite theatre immediately, Cohen suggested, don’t be discouraged and do make a point of checking back often. If showtimes haven’t been loaded yet for your theatre, chances are they’ll be available the next time you look.