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Is there life after you’ve been undead?
The opening box-office for Robert Pattinson’s new film “Water for Elephants,” a romantic drama that’s set amid a traveling circus during the 1930s, shows the young heartthrob may have reach beyond his blockbuster vampire franchise “Twilight.” Based on Sara Gruen’s bestselling novel of the same name, the film adaptation earned a better than expected $17.5 million, according to early estimates from distributor 20th Century Fox. Industry insiders believed the film would draw in the low-to-mid teens.
“It really over-performed,” said Fox distribution executive Bert Livingston, citing the film’s “old-time filmmaking” as one of the movie’s strongest assets, as well the popularity of the source material. “It’s a book that was on the bestseller list twice, so people had two chances to read it,” he said.
While reviews were decidedly mixed–it averaged a 54 out of 100 on review aggregation site Metacritic.com–the film scored a solid A- Cinemascore rating and strong positive word-of-mouth.
Based on the studio’s demographic exit polls, however, Pattinson’s “Twilight” fans were not big supporters of the movie: 70% of ticket-buyers were over 25.
“Pattinson batted in his wheelhouse, given the storyline and his character,” said Box Office Mojo president Brandon Gray. “Then again, Pattinson is still a relatively unproven draw, and this movie did co-star the more established Reese Witherspoon.”
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