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In the wake of such news, fan favorite Michael Welch swung by the MTV studios Monday morning (November 23) to give us his first interview following the film’s massive success. With an extra bounce in his step and an ear-to-ear grin on his face, the actor who plays Mike Newton in the series was eager to talk about “Twilight” entering the ranks of the biggest franchises of all time.
“I’m feeling great,” he said. “I feel really good. The night the movie opened, Friday night, Melissa Rosenberg, the screenwriter, threw a big ‘Twilight’ party at some fancy place ion Hollywood. As soon as I went in, I was talking to one of my buddies from Summit, and he was like, ‘Just guess what we made from the midnight screening and the one day.’ I was like, ‘$35 million,’ being generous. My girlfriend said, ‘$50 million,’ and I looked at her like she was crazy. He goes, ‘$70 million!’ and I just started laughing uncontrollably. To get those kinds of numbers, it means that many people must have seen the film at least three times by the end of opening day!
“That is insane,” he added. “And I love it.”
With that in mind, we hit the actor fans affectionately refer to as “Mike/Mike” with a few of the “New Moon” record-setting feats of accomplishment and got his thoughts on what it means for the current state of “Twilight” Nation:
The Most Presold Tickets of Any Movie, Ever: “That says that the anticipation was obviously very high, and we knew going into it that the presales would be out of control. So we did anticipate a somewhat successful opening weekend, but that says it all to me. … ‘Lord of the Rings’ had a following for years and years before those movies came out [and didn’t do this]. There wasn’t that much of a gap between when [the ‘Twilight’] books were written and the movies came out. To generate that kind of excitement in that short a period of time is amazing. ”
The Highest-Grossing Midnight Screening Total of All Time ($26.3 million): “That’s amazing. That’s crazy. And it’s surprising, considering that so much of our fanbase are young kids out late on a Thursday night. I don’t know if kids were skipping school on Friday or what, but still, I’m glad to have them. I would never condone kids skipping school, but thank you. I do appreciate it.”
Best Single-Day Tally of All Time ($72.7 million on Friday): “[Previous record-holder] ‘The Dark Knight’ is incredible. I saw it three times, once in IMAX, so I helped contribute to that. It was a similar circumstance in that it was the sequel to a popular film. … I think a lot of people [discovered both franchises on DVD]. We maintain our original fanbase but have more and more people jumping on. I’m sure it will be even more for ‘Eclipse.’ It’s just a snowball at this point.”
Third-Biggest Opening Weekend Ever ($140.7 million): “Wow, cool. … I’m reaching for [all-time box-office champ] ‘Titanic.’ That’s my goal. It has a lot of the same elements, that romantic element that I think keeps people coming back, particularly the girls. ‘New Moon’ was written in direct homage to ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and follows many of the same themes and structure. … [Shooting the film,] I felt like I was a witness to history.”
More Than $118 Million in Foreign Territories: “This is the craziest thing about being in movies in general. You have no idea who is watching you across the world. … It blows my mind, people watching these movies that I’m lucky enough to be in. [The ‘Twilight’ films] have international appeal, because these are universal, human themes. And that’s what it’s about at the end of the day: telling stories that touch people and move the human spirit. That has no borders.”