FRANKLYWNOW - Aliaa First Story - Optimus 3 A

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Aliaa First Story - Optimus 3 A assigned as Breaking News

Twi-hards turned out in force late Thursday night, propelling "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" to a $30.2 million midnight opening. 

The first installment in the mega-grossing franchise's two-part finale screened in 3,521 theaters. 

Also read: 'Twilight' Money: How Summit Plans to Make $1.2B Off 'Breaking Dawn'

It's a bloody good number for the vampire romance, but it falls short of the record set last summer by  "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2."  The boy wizard sequel banked $43.5 million during midnight showings in 3,800 locations.

However, "Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" was screening in fewer theaters and did not have the benefit of a higher 3D surcharge. 

It is a franchise-best mark for late-night screenings, which was previously held by 2010's "Eclipse" with $30.1 million. 

Estimates for "Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" range from $125 to $140 million for the weekend. The movie expands to 4,061 theaters across North America on Friday. 

Filmed for $110 million after rebates, the sequel, which boasts a demon spawn and a sexy wedding night scene, also opens in 50 foreign markets. 

Summit splits the box-

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