The Stephenie Meyer Effect: Vampires in Cinema Post-“Twilight”

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In 2008, Catherine Hardwicke directed a vampire-love-story based on a young-adult novel by Stephenie Meyer. The story follows Bella Swan, a young girl who falls in love with a vampire. The film was shot in 48 days and had a 37 million dollar budget[1].

Neither the filmmakers nor the author could have expected the enormous success of the billion dollar franchise that is “The Twilight Saga.” Not only did the film launch the careers of actors Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, “Twilight” also had the biggest opening weekend gross ever for a film directed by a woman, and also for a film starring a woman. We do not like to admit it, but “Twilight” has changed the vampire-genre in cinema forever.

The film franchise consists out of five films, which are based on the saga by young-adult-author Stephenie Meyer. “Twilight”, the first entry in the series, received reasonable reviews, but was an explosive box-office hit. The film’s 37 dollar budget was multiplied ten times, which resulted in a worldwide gross of over 392 million dollar[2]. In the following four years, the production company of “Twilight”, Summit Entertainment, released four sequels. But neither of those films ever reached the same level as “Twilight”, critic-wise. “Constrained by the plot of the novel, the film (“The Twilight Saga: New Moon”) keeps the two lovers apart for quite a spell, robbing the project of the crazy-in-love energy that made “Twilight” such a guilty pleasure,” writes Kenneth Turan in Los Angeles Times. According to Noah Berlatsky fromChigago Reader: “This (“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”) is definitely the worst installment of the franchise to date”. Its follow-up, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I”, is also called “the worst “Twilight” movie to date” by Peter Travers from Rolling Stone. Conclusion: the “Twilight”-franchise went down-hill after “Twilight.”

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