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The Twilight Saga’s Final Chapter, Breaking Dawn, Still in Limbo

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The Twilight Saga's Final Chapter, Breaking Dawn, Still in LimboNow that The Twilight Saga: New Moon has debuted to record-setting box office numbers and its follow-up, Eclipse, is being readied for a June 20, 2010, release, all eyes are turning to Summit Entertainment and what the execs there are planning for the final chapter in the Saga: Breaking Dawn. Will it be one movie or two? And whom will the studio tap to direct?

Variety‘s Mike Fleming posits that Summit is going to have to cut checks larger than most indie companies ever do if they move ahead with a plan to break Stephenie Meyer’s finale into two pictures. Sources said Summit has so far only gone as far as setting scribe Melissa Rosenberg – who wrote the first three films – to finish the series, but Summit has to clear several hurdles before telling Rosenberg if she should write one script or two.

Among those hurdles is figuring out whether ‘New Moon’ director Chris Weitz will respond favorably to overtures from the film company and the cast to return and shoot two more films, back to back. Summit execs would not comment, but multiple sources said that the film company wants to go the two-film route, which means re-opening negotiations and getting approval from the author. It also means making new deals with a principal cast that is only locked up for four films. If ‘Breaking Dawn’ becomes two pictures, all of the key cast members will get fat raises, and the three principals – Rob Pattinson, Kristin Stewart, and Taylor Lautner – could land eight-figure paydays.

It’s pretty much a no-brainer that Pattinson, Stewart, and Lautner will all sign on for a fifth film (especially considering the type of payday they’ll garner), but Weitz’s return is a lot more problematic as he seems determined to next direct The Gardner, a relatively small film that he was in discussions with Summit to finance. As Fleming asks, “Could he possibly resist the chance to finish a global franchise he helped build, even though it will mean more time away from his family for a long shoot?

Only time will tell, but another question vexing the studio is how closely the film version of Breaking Dawn will follow the literary version (review here) since the events of the book are much darker than the previous installments and would more than likely require an R rating if they are portrayed accurately. Fans are clamoring for a proper adaptation of course, but we all know the allure of PG-13. I suspect odds are good we’ll see one rating in theatres and another on DVD.

Keep it here for more as it comes.

Debi Moore

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