Chris Weitz

New Moon has found its new director in American Pie producer Chris Weitz.

Less than a week after confirming Catherine Hardwicke will not return to helm the Twilight sequel next year, Summit Entertainment announced over the weekend that Weitz has been handed the keys to the vampire franchise, Variety reports.

"The extraordinary world that Stephenie [Meyer] has created has millions of fans, and it will be my duty to protect on their behalf the characters, themes and story they love," Weitz said in a statement.

In addition to Pie, Weitz has also produced In Good Company, wrote the Hugh Grant-starrer About a Boy, and wrote and directed the fantasy flick The Golden Compass.

Hardwicke, who set a box-office record for biggest opening weekend for a female director, departed the series last Monday after failing to negotiate a new deal. There have been conflicting reports on the reason for her exit, as Hardwicke attributes it to scheduling conflicts, while other sources claim Hardwicke and Summit disagreed over how to adapt New Moon for the screen. Summit's objective is to prominently feature more of newly christened heartthrob, Robert Pattinson, whose character Edward Cullen is not in most of the text.

Twilight scribe Melissa Rosenberg is penning the script. Production is set to begin soon with a target release date at the end of 2009 or early 2010.

What do you think of the Weitz hire? Can he pick up where Hardwicke left off?