Twilight's record-breaking opening gross was downgraded to a measly $69.6 million on Monday, which nevertheless failed to deter Summit Entertainment from officially nudging the sequel, New Moon, into the pre-production queue. That was the easy part, though; paying its young stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart a reported $12 million apiece for the second film (and possibly a third) — and locking in director Catherine Hardwicke for millions more — is where the mess might arise.Twilight's budget was only $37 million (plus at least that much in marketing), which should have Summit well in the black by the middle of next month. Stewart and Pattinson came cheap, earning about $2 million each for their roles as vampire Edward Cullen and his dewy teen love interest Bella Swan. Alas, those days are over: Looking ahead, one rumor has the studio adapting New Moon and Eclipse — the second and third novels in Stephenie Meyer's wholesome, bestselling bloodsucker franchise — simultaneously, probably at a combined budget pushing $160 million. Anything to improve the FX, we suppose (there are werewolves in the next one), and anything to make reading New Moon worth it for poor Stewart. Their pricey return all but assured, Summit will move on to Hardwicke, who wasted little time and leverage last weekend pulling Favreau-ish media stunts about her doing Twilight's follow-ups right:

it's not confirmed that director Catherine Hardwicke will be back behind the camera. The director told the AP Sunday, ''I want to be sure that [the second film is] going to be done right. I don't want to rush into it. It's not like Friday the 13th or Halloween, you can't just do it super fast and knock another one out.'' Hardwicke indicated she wanted to be sure she and the film's producers were on the same page going forward.

Right, yes, the "same page." Just send it to her posse at CAA, would you, Summit? They'll take it from here.