Deana Newcomb, Summit Entertainment
Utah's five Megaplex Theatres ranked in the top 10 nationally in ticket sales for "Twilight."

As expected, the movie version of LDS author Stephenie Meyer's best-selling vampire romance novel "Twilight" opened huge.

The movie made nearly $70 million in its first three days of business, and knocked off the James Bond thriller "Quantum of Solace" from its box-office perch after just one week.

But it's not a great film. In fact, I have serious misgivings about it. If I had the chance, I'd now give it two stars instead of the 2 1/2 stars I originally gave it.

That hasn't stopped the studio from going ahead with plans to make a sequel. Actually, there are discussions to shoot movie versions of Meyer's second and third novels in the series, "New Moon" and "Eclipse," back to back.

And besides, it's certainly not the worst film to make big money this year. That distinction belongs to "Hancock," currently No. 4 on the year's chart, with $228 million.

That's right, that film made more than Disney/Pixar's "WALL• E" (No. 5, $223 million), "Kung Fu Panda" (No. 6, $215 million) and "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!" (No. 7, $154 million). All of which are better — considerably better — than the Will Smith superhero vehicle.

In fact, having watched that movie again on DVD, I'd have to say it's one of my least-favorite movies released this year. "Hancock" is a mean-spirited, dour mess that wastes the talents of not only Smith but those of the usually dependable Jason Bateman.

By the way, other critically slammed duds that made a surprising amount of money — at least $50 million — include:

• "Step Brothers" ($100 million)

• "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" ($100 million)

• "10,000 B.C." ($94 million)

• "What Happens in Vegas" ($80 million)

• "Jumper" ($80 million)

• "27 Dresses" ($77 million)

• "Vantage Point" ($72 million)

• "Fool's Gold" ($70 million)

• "The Happening" ($64 million)

• "Step Up 2 the Streets" ($58 million)

• "Saw V" ($56 million)

• "The Strangers" ($52 million)

Sigh! Sometimes it feels as if no one's listening to critics these days.

UTAHNS LOVE THEIR VAMPIRE ROMANCES!

All five Megaplex Theatres ranked in the top 10 nationally in ticket sales for "Twilight." In fact, the Megaplex 20 at the District topped the box office for both opening-weekend grosses and for Thursday midnight sales.

The Megaplexes sold out all 69 midnight screenings — with an estimated 150,000 Utahns seeing the movie in its first public showings, in locations between Thanksgiving Point and Ogden.

Megaplex Theatres general manager Steve Tarbet called the opening weekend numbers "especially impressive," noting that movie ticket prices in Utah are considerably lower than those in New York and Los Angeles.


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