Chris Weitz, Twilight

Junko Kimura/Getty Images ; Deana Newcomb / Summit Entertainment

There's a new dawn for Twilight.

Days after Catherine Hardwicke was ousted, despite having directed the vampire romance satisfactorily enough to pull in $140 million worth of business from fanggirls and average moviegoers alike, The Golden Compass director Chris Weitz is close to signing on for the blockbuster's sequel.

Following up on some recent Deadline Hollywood scoop, reports that Weitz has been tapped by Summit Entertainment to helm New Moon, based on the second book in Stephenie Meyer's phenomenon-inducing franchise.

"He's the quality-of-life-choice," a source said, perhaps referring to buzz that Hardwicke, while ultratalented, is rough to work with, while Weitz, who also codirected American Pie and scored an Oscar nod for copenning About a Boy, is known to be a pretty genial chap.

Summit says that no deal has been signed yet, but the official announcement could be coming as soon as this weekend.

The studio wants New Moon in theaters and Edward-loving butts in the seats in 2010, but has said it will not rush production before the script (the initial draft of which Hardwicke supposedly had problems with) is the best it can be.

"This is not a rush job," Summit CEO Rob Friedman told the Los Angeles Times' Big Picture blog. "The movie only gets released when it's finished. I'd like it to be next year, but we're not going to put out a bad movie to hit a release date."

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