***UPDATE - Sept. 15, 2009: Details on "Twilight Saga: New Moon" premiere with stars Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, plus how to try for tickets.***
The dawn of a new "Twilight" will bring star power to Knoxville this November when "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," the sequel to the 2008 breakout film "Twilight," is premiered at Regal Cinemas' Pinnacle 18 at Turkey Creek in advance of its scheduled Nov. 20 release.
Although confirmation of the Knoxville premiere of the movie is set, several key details are yet to be determined, including ticket prices, just which star or stars of the movie will come to town, and even the date of the event.
"I'm hoping to have the details pinned down within 30 to 60 days," said Greg Dunn, chief operating officer of Regal Entertainment Group.
Since 2003, Regal has annually presented a major-film premiere in Knoxville to benefit Variety - The Children's Charity of Eastern Tennessee. In every case, the top-billed stars have come, including Brendan Fraser and Josh Hutcherson for 2008's "Journey to the Center of the Earth," Jessica Alba and Dane Cook for 2007's "Good Luck Chuck," Will Ferrell for 2006's "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," Jessica Simpson, Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott for 2005's "Dukes of Hazzard," Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson for 2004's "Walking Tall," and Cuba Gooding Jr. for 2003's "Radio."
No matter who ends up in Knoxville for the "Twilight" sequel, Dunn said this premiere is "probably the biggest fundraiser we've had to date."
Dena Pinsker, executive director of Variety, agreed. "I think (it) is just going to be extraordinary. ... All the ('Twilight') stars are fantastic crowd-pleasers," she said.
"Twilight," based on the popular novel series by Stephenie Meyer, is a love story about a teenager and a vampire. The film stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson and made nearly $400 million worldwide at the box office. Stewart and Pattinson return for the sequel, as does Taylor Lautner, whose secondary character in the original becomes substantially more important in "New Moon."
Pinsker said all three of the Knoxville premieres from 2005-2007 made more than $250,000 each in sponsorships and ticket sales, and last year's "Journey" premiere made more than $300,000. With "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," "We'll be looking for even better numbers," she said.
"This is a huge event for Knoxville."
Pinkser said that, as in the past, some tickets will be sold directly to the public while others will be distributed in "sponsorship packages." Variety aids numerous local and area children's charities.
For more information, call Variety at 865-925-9906.
Entertainment editor Chuck Campbell may be reached at 865-342-6443.
© 2009, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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