SUNDAY 9 AM, 13TH UPDATE: If you went to your local multiplex this weekend, you know how crowded it was: overall moviegoing was an impressive $245M, or +14% from last year. The main reason is that it’s the Twilight Saga’s swan song (until the inevitable reboot). But the franchise’s $2.5 billion box office may even climb to $3B all in judging by this weekend’s big bite of global theatrical grosses. The frontloaded worldwide total for Summit Entertainment’s Breaking Dawn Part 2 is already $340.9M through through Sunday - or $141.3M domestic + $199.6M international. That’s a new Twilight Saga record for an overseas opening. Lionsgate as a studio also has achieved a first-ever milestone at the North American box office with help from Summit – crossing the $1 billion mark ($1.09B). This is the 1st time ever that a studio has opened two films – Breaking Dawn Part 2 and The Hunger Games – to over $125M in the same year. And it certainly explains why Lionsgate was so eager to acquire Summit.

Related: Lionsgate Passes $1B Domestic For First Time

Summit’s official numbers are $71.9M Friday (including $30.4M from Thursday 10 PM/Friday midnight shows), $41.8M Saturday, and an estimated $27.6M Sunday from 4,070 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. Friday’s take was the 6th highest opening day in history right behind the Twilight Saga’s Breaking Dawn Part One‘s $71.6M, and New Moon‘s $72.7M. Breaking Dawn Part 2 had the 8th largest weekend opening overall and the 2nd best opening weekend for the franchise, beating the $138.1M set by Part 1 in 2011. But not New Moon‘s franchise first-weekend record of $142.8M set in 2009. Summit reported that Breaking Dawn Part 2 opened in North America to long lines and sold-out screenings with $30.4M from Thursday 10 PM and Friday midnight late shows in over 3,000 theaters. This was a Twilight Saga best, earning slightly more than Breaking Dawn Part 1‘s $30.25M. (Eclipse made $30M, and New Moon $26.27M.) Needless to say, the Twi-Hards gave this final franchise installment an ‘A’ CinemaScore which may mean more fans go see it multiple times. This was the highst rated and recommended of all the Twilight Saga films with both genders and all ages. Exit polling showed that 50% of the audience was under age 25 and 50% over 25, while 79% were female and 21% male. That’s the highest percentage of males of any Twilight Saga franchise.

Related: ‘Breaking Dawn 2′ Record $199.6M Foreign Opening
Related: Man Arrested After Planning Twilight Theater Shooting

Overseas, Summit announced that, from the 37 international territories that opened as of Thursday, the overseas cumulative gross for Breaking Dawn Part 2 was a very impressive $38.8 million (not including the U.S. and Canada). I don’t expect an international update until Sunday AM. On Friday, 24 additional territories opened, bringing the total to 61 territories along with the U.S. and Canada. Nearly every market has opened at or above the Part 1.

In all, Summit made 5 films beginning in 2008 based on Stephenie Meyer’s series of 4 bestselling vampire romance novels with Melissa Rosenberg penning all the screenplays and Wyck Godfrey & Karen Rosenfelt producing all the films. Catherine Hardwicke directed the first Twilight, followed by Chris Weitz (2009′s New Moon), David Slade (2010′s Eclipse), and Bill Condon (both 2011′s Breaking Dawn Part 1 and 2012′s Part 2). Going into this weekend, the previous 4 films in the Twilight Saga have accounted for $2.5 billion in worldwide box office grosses – which is why Lionsgate purchased Summit. Of course, the lead roles in all the films were played by Kristen Stewart (Bella), Rob Pattinson (Edward), and Taylor Lautner (Jacob). Like the movies or not, there’s no arguing with the fact that this franchise’s phenomenal box office and fan base have been fantastic for the film business.

Related: Skyfall’s $669.2M Global Helps Sony Post Best Ever $4B

In 2nd place domestically, Eon Productions/MGM/Sony Pictures’ James Bond #23 actioner Skyfall looks down 53% from its big opening a week ago for a $41.5M second weekend. It took a bigger hit (-60%) on Friday than the studios

anticipated but bounced back Saturday to bring its North American cume to about $161.3M in just its first 10 days of release. Sony Pictures today announced its biggest movie year ever at the global box office, passing $4 billion for the first time in the studio’s history thanks in large part to Skyfall‘s worldwide cume of $669.2M. That’s bigger than the $599.2M worldwide total taken in by Casino Royale in 2006. This weekendm, Skyfall made $49.6M abroad for an overseas cume of $507.9M. All in worldwide, MGM/Sony expect the Sam Mendes-directed, John Logan-scripted, Daniel Craig-starring pic to make $800M as the biggest 007 movie ever (not adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices or IMAX premiums). Skyfall enjoyed an amazing hold on IMAX: $6M for the weekend, which is a -45% drop, and IMAX global cume to day of $39M. Studio execs felt that the reason for Skyfall‘s success (preventing the Bond franchise from jumping the shark after the dreadfall Quantum Of Solace) was because the characters were richer, deeper, and more flawed. Plus, the addition of Javier Bardem - who received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame timed to the film – made Skyfall less white bread so it was a better reflection of today’s world. After 4 years on hiatus, the studios had to win back hardcore 007 fans while expanding the franchise’s appeal to younger moviegoers through MTV, Comedy Central, and ABC Family and ethnic audiences through BET, Telemundo and Univision. The marketing campaign started early with big events, like the high profile Bond integration during the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics featuring Daniel Craig and the Queen. Most of all, the studios promoted Skyfall through the fact that 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of 007 on film – including a TV blitz of ads that aired in early October on the anniversary of the premiere of Dr. No.  Global James Bond Day was marked with the launch of Adele’s Skyfall theme song, which execs felt was a major draw – “massive and moody and sexy and perfect”. There also was a Bond-themed charity auction at Christie’s in London, a retrospective of all 22 previous Bond movies at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, a Music Of Bond night at the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles, a 50 Years Of Bond Style exhibit at the Toronto International Film Festival, and the premiere of the documentary Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story Of 007. On TV, Daniel Craig hosted SNL while the film was promoted on 60 Minutes. Overseas, the cast toured Moscow, London, Paris, Zurich, Madrid, Berlin, Rome, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Sydney, and Johannesburg, which produced big grosses overseas.

Related: Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ Marches Into Oscar Season

In 3rd place and also very strong is Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-buzzed Lincoln from DreamWorks Studios in association with Participant Media. Biopic expanded its run from 11 to 1,775 venues this second weekend in release. With an ‘A’ CinemaScore from audiences and 92% postive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes which will help word of mouth, it earned $21M this weekend for a $22.4M cume. The pic is distributed by Fox internationally and by Disney domestically but had to pay off Paramount first so the film’s budget is said to be $65M. Like most movies from Spielberg, who produced with Kathleen Kennedy, this one is receiving a ton of media attention. The bulk was weighted to this weekend’s expansion including Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln on the cover of Time including a 9-page spread featuring interviews with Day-Lewis, Spielberg, Sally Field, screenwriter Tony Kushner (after John Logan and Paul Webb turned in scripts), and Doris Kearns Goodwin whose non-fiction book Team of Rivals provided the basis for the film. The trailer launched September 13th during Google+ Hangout featuring Spielberg and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and broadcast on the ABC SuperSign in Times Square. Special conversations with Spielberg and Day-Lewis streamed live on Yahoo! Movies and were simulcast via satellite to theaters in 9 other cities. There also was a huge marketing presence throughout 2012′s election coverage starting with 2-minute exclusive trailer airing immediately after the first presidential debate on ABC, CNN, and CBS. Also let’s not forget the surprise screening at the New York Film Festival last month or the official premiere November 8th on closing night of AFI Fest. Spielberg and the cast are Oscar-touted, as are longtime Spielberg collaborators Janusz Kaminski and John Williams.

Related: Weinstein Finds ‘Silver Linings’ For Another Oscar Race

In other Oscar-touted openings this weekend, The Weinstein Company platformed producer/director David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook. The romantic comedy earned $120K Friday and $181K Saturday from just 16 theaters in 10 cities for a $458K weekend and per screen average of $26,652. Hollywood expressed surprise to me that the Bradley Cooper-Jennifer Lawrence starrer’s PSA wasn’t higher given its awards buzz. My understanding is that this Matthew Quick adaptation of his novel (which was 6 years in the making from the time the book was acquired to the film’s release) will expand into 55 markets for 400 runs this pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday. The hope is that it’ll hang on and get up to 600 plays by Xmas. The plan is to bump it up to 2,000 theaters in January once the various movie awards nominations begin and TWC starts spending on its Academy Award campaign. That wasn’t the release plan first drawn up. TWC intended to go wider with the pic right away, but I’ve learned that Harvey Weinstein felt the need to change course and go slower “because he thinks it’ll be taken more seriously by the Academy if it does more of a traditional roll out,” a source tells me. We’ll see how much gravitas this much lauded laugher can muster.

Related: Anna Karenina‘s Risky New Version

Focus Features also started its Oscar-buzzed Anna Karenina in 16 theaters earning just $88K Friday and $130K Saturday for a $314K weekend and $19,577 per screen average. This lush reteaming of Pride And Prejudice director Joe Wright with star Keira Knightley for Tolstoy’s iconic adultress did not adhere strictly to Academy Award winning screenwriter Tom Stoppard’s rather literal script. That’s causing some blowback among film critics even though the intent was to distinguish this adaptation from the dozen or so previous films. (The pic is so female-centric that Jude Law is barely shown or even recognizable in the TV ads…) Before Thanksgiving Day, Focus expands it into 27 markets and then windens still further November 30th.

You’ll notice that in 9th place is the Indian romance Jab Tak Hai Jaan directed by Yash Chopra who died on October 21st after 50 years of working in Bollywood. It’s written and produced by Aditya Chopra under their production banner Yash Raj Films. The film features Shahrukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma in lead roles. The background score and soundtrack is by AR Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire). The film released in India during the 6-day Diwali weekend November 13th. It’s extremely rare for Bollywood to make it into North America’s top films – so rare I can’t recall when it last happened.

Here’s the Top 10 based on weekend estimates:

1. Breaking Dawn Part 2 (Summit/Lionsgate) NEW [Runs 4,070] PG13
Friday $71.9M, Saturday $41.8M, Est Sunday $27.6M, Weekend $141.3M
International $199.6M, Worldwide $340.9M

2. Skyfall (Eon/MGM/Sony) Week 2 [Runs 3,505] PG13
Friday $12.3M, Saturday $17.7M, Weekend $41.5M (-53%), Cume $161.3M

3. Lincoln (DreamWorks/Fox/Disney) Week 2 [Runs 1,775] PG13
Friday $6.3M, Saturday $8.5M, Weekend $21.0M, Cume $22.4M

4. Wreck-It Ralph (Disney) Week 3 [Runs 3,622] PG
Friday $4.4M, Saturday $8.5M, Weekend $18.3M, Cume $121.4M

5. Flight (Paramount) Week 3 [Runs 2,612] R
Friday $2.5M, Saturday $3.9M, Weekend $8.6M, Cume $61.3M

6. Argo (Warner Bros) Week 6 [Runs 2,210] R
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $1.9M, Weekend $4.0M, Cume $92.0M

7. Taken 2 (Fox) Week 7 [Runs 2,063] PG13
Friday $650K, Saturday $955K, Weekend $2.1M, Cume $134.6M

8. Pitch Perfect (Universal) Week 8 [Runs 1,122] PG13
Friday $398K, Saturday $567K, Weekend $1.3M, Cume $61.6M

9. Jab Tak Hai Jaan (Yash Raj Films) NEW [Runs 161] NR
Friday $373K, Saturday $536K, Weekend $1.2M

10. Here Comes The Boom (Sony) Week 6 [Runs 1,350] PG
Friday $338K, Saturday $535K, Weekend $1.1M, Cume $41.0M Back to Breaking Dawn Part Two: the final installment in the epic vampire franchise opened in 4,070 theaters Friday and Twi-Hards are saying goodbye to Bella and Edward. Movie theaters around North America Thursday reported long lines and sold-out showtimes. Here are photos from Arizona, Michigan, and New York:

THURSDAY 9 AM: Giant online ticket-seller Fandango reports this morning that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 represents 92% of today’s sales. What’s more, thousands of showtimes are already sold out across the country before the final Twilight Saga installment releases at Friday midnight. Hollywood is expecting the epic conclusion to gross somewhere between a low of $130 million and as much as $150 million (a franchise record) this opening weekend in North America. According to a recent Fandango survey of more than 1,000 moviegoers, Breaking Dawn Part 2 is the most anticipated film of the fall, with 57% of fans planning to see it more than once on the big screen. It has been among the site’s Top 3 ticket-sellers each day in U.S./Canada since advance tickets first went on sale on October 1st. “It’s the most anticipated moviegoing event of the season,” said Paul Yanover, President of Fandango. Already, Breaking Dawn Part 2 is shattering franchise records internationally where it opened this week.

For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...

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