The first half of the series’ two part conclusion, which sees Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart return as star-crossed soon-to-be lovers Edward and Bella, immediately jumps into the record books. It boasts the fifth-best opening weekend of all time, the third-best single day tally for its $72 million Friday opening, and scored the second-best midnight opening numbers as well.

Throw in to the mix the fact that the US box office has been in a slump the last four months, the territory that Breaking Dawn – Part 1 cleaned up in, and the fact that franchise newbie director Bill Condon has garnered some of the worst critical reviews thrown the franchise’s way, and this feat is nothing short of remarkable.

The opening weekend success will come as a relief for franchise studio E One Films, who lavished the film with the largest budget ($110 million) of the series thus far.

Breaking Dawn – Part 1 tells the story of Bella (Stewart) and Edward’s (Pattinson) marriage and blossoming relationship, which leads to Bella becoming pregnant with a half-vampire baby. Jacob, needless to say, is less than thrilled.

Taking its cues from Harry Potter’s double-whammy crescendo, the final book in Stephenie Meyer’s supernatural series has been broken into two films, with Breaking Dawn – Part 2 set to hit cinemas in November 2012.