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LOS ANGELES — A year ago at this time, people were finally comprehending the scope of “Twilight” mania. Rob and Kristen were treated like rock stars, thousands of fans were eager to share their “little secret” with the world, and a tiny Taylor Lautnerenthusiastically posed with fans, simply hoping they’d want him back for more.
On Monday evening (November 16), “New Moon” mania took over at the film’s red-carpet premiere. And like Taylor’s presence in the sequel, it’s bigger, better and far more muscular.
“It’s amazing,” marveled the 17-year-old Lautner, who was famously nearly replaced as Jacob Black last winter but packed on 30 pounds of muscle to keep the role. “We all know the premiere for ‘Twilight’ was insane, but this is multiplied by 10. I did not expect this at all!”
With thousands of Twilighters — many of whom began lining up last week — packing the sidewalks, the shrieks roared like airplanes buzzing the Los Angeles neighborhood of Westwood. Everyone from 50 Cent to Kevin Smith to Death Cab for Cutie and Emma Roberts came out to get an early glimpse at one of the year’s most anticipated films. Also crowding the carpet was an epic cast now containing several dozen regulars when you factor in all the Cullens, Volturi, wolf pack, humans and other factions. But in the eyes of Kristen Stewart, the evening was really a celebration of the actor fans affectionately call “Taycob.”
“I’m so proud of that kid,” Stewart said of Lautner. “Everybody thinks we have a sister/ little brother dynamic going on, and I definitely fought for him. I was totally on his side the entire time. But he’s taught me more than I’ve ever been able to bestow on him. I think he’s the most centered of everybody here. And I think the only reason he was able to put on that weight is because he had the confidence to know what he was doing. But it wasn’t about the weight; it was about knowing we had the right guy.”
As fans leaned over barricades wearing “Nutz for Lutz” T-shirts and waving “Bite Me, Edward” signs, there was little doubt that in the eyes of these fans, all the actors are just right — particularly Mr. Robert Pattinson, who once again received a reception like all the Beatles rolled into one wild-haired British heartthrob.
“It’s gotten bigger,” he grinned, looking around at the fans. “I think so. Especially as we travel all over the entire world. We had 20,000 people in Munich yesterday. It’s kind of incredible, to have done all these cities in a week, and it’s still just as intense everywhere.”
On Monday, the actors were able to walk the carpet (alongside Stephenie Meyer herself, making a rare public appearance) and see their intensity in the movies matched once again by the fans. And for them, the cheers were as sweet as blood on the tip of a vampire’s tongue.
“This year is probably double in size,” observed Kellan Lutz, comparing the premiere to the one from a year ago. “For us, as actors, [seeing this] is a weight off our shoulders. It’s a lot of fun, and this year I’m not so nervous.”
“My goodness, I just pulled up, and I got so nervous again,” Ashley Greene laughed. “People always ask if I’m used to it, but there’s no way to get used to it, because they just keep getting more and more exciting. [The fans] are very passionate, and it keeps getting bigger. It’s incredible.”
As they waved goodbye to the fans and headed inside to watch Bella and Jacob get close on the big screen, Kristen and Taylor were similarly in awe.
“I really think Bella is awesome, and I get to play her,” smiled Stewart, counting herself lucky. “And I get to share that with everyone here. And I’ll never get that experience again, no matter what kind of movies I want to make.”
“We put a lot of hard work into this film,” Lautner said of “New Moon.” “I’m dying for it to come out.”
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LOS ANGELES — Once upon a time, a little film called “Twilight” was scheduled to come out within a few weeks of a “Harry Potter” movie, and Hollywood prognosticators found it absurd to suggest that the vampire series posed any sort of box-office threat. Months after that, buzz on the red carpet at the “Twilight” premiere was that the film could open with a weekend between $40 or $50 million — it ended up with $69.6 million.
Now, it’s a year later and “New Moon” has become the biggest advance-ticket seller in Fandango history. So, we took the obvious question to the film’s stars at Monday’s (November 16) red-carpet premiere: How big will this weekend’s “New Moon” opening be?
“We have a bet about that,” revealed Chaske Spencer, who plays wolf pack member Sam Uley in the sequel, divulging that the shirtless stars have a friendly wager going on. “There’s a guy — a member of the wolf pack, I can’t tell you who — but we have a bet, and the loser buys dinner. I think it’s going to gross triple [what the first film made]. And I think somebody’s going to be buying me some dinner.”
“It’ll be bigger than [‘Twilight’],” Ashley Greene insisted. “I just got an e-mail saying we broke the presale record. I’m going to say $79 million.”
“I hope it makes $69 million,” grinned Nikki Reed, not wanting the sequel to outweigh Catherine Hardwicke’s first flick. “I just hope that the fans are pleased. I don’t know what you define success by, but that would be a success.”
“My estimate is a bit more moderate than most, but it’s still lofty,” Edi Gathegi explained. “I’m going to go with $92 million — the series has returned in all the right ways, and this is a fantastic film. The fans are going to carry over, and more guys are going to come because of all the action.”
“$72 million,” Kellan Lutz said, adding that there’s only one criteria guiding his prediction. “I can read the future.”
“$88 million,” guessed Daniel Cudmore, who gets to kick Robert Pattinson’s ass in “New Moon” as the Volturi Felix. “I just like that number. I’d be happy with that.”
How much do you think “New Moon” will pull in this weekend, Twilighters? Weigh in below with your best guess, and we’ll keep track of which fan (and star) comes closest. But please, try to be more specific than Mr. Taylor Lautner.
“Larry, come on,” he shot back at me, looking around at all the fans on the red carpet. “Did you actually get anyone [to guess]? We’ll have to wait and see. But the good news is, we’ll see very soon.”