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November 16, 2008

GATHERING 'TWILIGHT'

Fans gearing up for saga's big-screen debut

How hot is "Twilight"?

How many films do you know that inspire a near riot?

Last Monday, 3,000 fans showed up at a San Francisco mall to see Robert Pattinson.

The virtually unknown 22-year-old British actor is starring in "Twilight," which opens Friday, as the steamy vampire Edward Cullen.

Pattinson was at the mall to sign T-shirts for the first 500 fans. But a shoving match at the mall — leading girls to get trampled and one to break her nose — led the event to be cancelled.

If you're not a teenage girl, you might not have heard about the "Twilight" saga. The New York Times best-selling romances by Stephenie Meyer have sold 17 million copies worldwide. That's far below the 400 million copies the seven "Harry Potter" books have sold, but still quite respectable.

Though its fans may not equal Potter-heads in numbers, they definitely equal fans of any series in terms of their devotion. And that passion extends to the Merrimack Valley as well.

Haverhill 13-year-old Rosemary Kann has followed every development about the film online, and has already purchased tickets to see "Twilight" later this week.

"Everyone I know has read the books and can't wait to see the movies," Rosemary said.

Many fans have already weighed in on the film based on the few trailers that have been released. While sentiment was originally mixed over the casting, most have warmed up to Pattinson and his costar and love interest Kristen Stewart, the actress last seen in "Into the Wild" who plays Bella.

"I think it's going to be amazing," said 18-year-old Gwendolynn Scott of Lawrence. "They are so into what the fans want."

Over the last few weeks, new Web sites and forums have exploded with interest, adding to the film's buzz even among those who haven't yet read the books, according to fan Amber Lucas of Newton, N.H.

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