Well, colour us surprised. No sooner had news broke that the vampire romance Twilight had brought home a $35 million opening day, on its way to a $70 million opening weekend, than Summit Entertainment had given the green light to the sequel, New Moon. The green light was virtually a foregone conclusion, though, with Catherine Hardwicke, the director, and her cast already signed on and ready to return. Expect this one to go before the cameras as soon as possible in order to maintain momentum.

Anyway, to the plot. The second in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series (the fourth and for the moment final chronological instalment, Breaking Dawn, came out recently), it sees – spoiler warning! – the human Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and her vampire lover, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson and his big hair) separated by cruel circumstance and his continuing self-loathing. Cue much moping, crossed wires and the introduction of… werewolves*?

What will be interesting, though, is to see how faithful Hardwicke remains to the source material – some small changes were made to Twilight, after all. And, given that Bella and Edward spend much of the novel apart, that may have to be addressed for the silver screen.

Either way, it looks like maybe, just maybe, we have a fantasy franchise that can fill Harry Potter’s shoes when he waltzes off into the sunset in the next couple of years. Twilight’s opening was comparable with the first few Potter films, and if the sequel can build on its audience, then Summit has a very nice franchise at the ready.

*Technically shapeshifters who can turn into wolves – they don’t need a full moon to do it, as it happens. But werewolves sounds cooler.”

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