Is it really been a year since we’ve all been waiting so patiently for the next installment in the Twilight saga? It feels like forever, doesn’t it?
Well, we’ve been waiting a year for a lot of reasons. For one thing, the premiere of the third movie was pushed back a couple of times. For another, we had to endure a huge amount of hype surrounding the filming of the movie. But one of the biggest reasons is that we wanted to see how Stephenie Meyer’s epic novel would hold up as a movie trilogy. And as you’ll soon find out, it totally holds up!
The first two Twilight movies are still popular, and they’re still making a lot of money for 20th Century Fox. In fact, the first movie is now available to stream on Netflix, and it was recently reported that it became the service’s top-streamed show, not long after its premiere.
The first installment was released in 2010, and it quickly became one of the biggest grossing movies of that year. The following year, it was confirmed that it had broken several records, becoming the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time, not accounting for inflation.
While the first two movies mainly focused on Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) journey from being a teenage girl to a confident, independent woman, the third and final film is more of a reunion movie and provides a good balance between funny and sweet moments.
It is heavily implied that Bella and her vampire-slaying friends will be appearing in some form or another in the final installment. And in fact, one of the most iconic photos from the premiere shows Bella alongside Kristen, Dakota, and Lauren. (It also hints at the fact that the quartet will be working together on a screenplay for the eventual sequel to The Twilight Saga.)
The final installment will reportedly be released in 2020, which should give us plenty of time to decompress from this year of waiting. But even if it doesn’t feel like it, time is never truly standing still, is it?
The Unfiltered Truth
There’s no doubt that fans of The Twilight Saga will have plenty to shout about in the upcoming sequels. Especially now that we know so much about the characters and the world Meyer created. (And for those of you wondering: yes, there will be more than one. Just you wait and see.)
One of the most intriguing aspects of this year’s Twilight anniversary is the opportunity to see how much the series has evolved over the past twelve months. And it’s not just limited to the writing and the characters. The scope of the films has expanded as well.
This isn’t just about vampires and werewolves anymore. We’re getting into the realm of fantasy and science fiction now, with the occasional dash of horror. And for those of you hoping for a slasher movie, well, your wishes may be coming true. For the most part, though, this is a fantasy universe that we’re exploring, and it’s certainly worth seeing how the different threads play out.
Pushed Back For A Reason
The first Twilight movie debuted in theaters almost exactly a year ago now. And even though it wasn’t officially released until September 6, 2018, it went into theaters back in March 2018.
This was done to give the filmmakers more time to edit the film. And it almost certainly paid off. Despite the hype that surrounded its premiere (and the fact that it was packed at the time of screening), the film ended up being a box office disappointment, grossing just $25.4 million in its first four days in theaters.
If not for the success of the Hunger Games series, it’s unlikely we’d be getting a fourth Twilight movie. The success of the dystopian YA novels and their movie adaptations paved the way for a new generation of YA dystopian lit. And it seems like Hollywood is taking note, with recent blockbusters such as Thirteen and Riot Games’ (the latter of which is currently in theaters) Shadow of a Doubt featuring many references and similarities to The Hunger Games.
Twilight was also delayed a couple of times this year, most notably in October. This was done so that Robert Pattinson, who plays the vampire Edward Cullen, could undergo some plastic surgery so that he could look more like the younger version of himself. (It was also done so that he could lose a couple of pounds. The actor admits that he was quite overweight during the filming of Twilight, and he wanted to change that for the role.)
This was done to give the film more time to be edited. And it paid off. With Hollywood recouping some of the budget spent on the failed Night Train film, the sequel was shot almost entirely on digital video, which allowed for some significant post-production changes. (In fact, this is the case for all of the Twilight films. They were all shot digitally, and although the lenses were changed out for the 3D versions, the lighting, sets, and costumes remained the same.)
One of the reasons behind the delay in the release of Twilight was to save money. This was done primarily because of the ambitious scope of the film and the extensive visual effects (VFX) required to bring Meyer’s story to life. (Some of the effects were so complex, in fact, that they were only practical enough to be used in the film once or twice.)
The VFX in Twilight were certainly impressive for their time. And they still look phenomenal, almost a year later. (Some effects, such as the lightshow in Bella’s bedroom, still hold up fairly well. Even Stephenie Meyer admits that she was “blown away” by the various special effects in the film. In fact, the original cut of Twilight was four hours and forty-five minutes. This was later trimmed down to three hours and forty-five minutes for theatrical release.)
So while we were all patiently waiting for the arrival of the next Twilight movie, we did get some exciting news. StudioCanal, who distributes several of the popular French film series, has bought the US distribution rights to the first three films. This means that those of you in the US looking to see a French film will soon have an easier time doing so. (The films are set to be released through the studio’s usual home entertainment company, Distriblite, starting in October.)
Expanding The Audience
Just as the writing and the scope of the films have evolved over the past year, so too has the audience that has been exposed to the saga. (Although we have to keep in mind that these are still primarily female audiences. At least based on the demographics that have been driving the box office since the first film. It’s a safe assumption to make that women make up the vast majority of fans of The Twilight Saga.)
The first movie is still the most popular of the series based on premiere weekend audiences. But that may be because of the films’ relatively low budget and independent nature. It was also originally released in the spring and had the smallest release window of the three films. (The other Twilight movies were released in the fall.)
Based on the feedback we’ve gotten both before and since the premiere of Twilight, it’s evident that the films continue to expand the audience beyond just the YA dystopian lit fan base. Many female and male fans have reported that the dialogue was more believable, the storytelling more sophisticated, and the performances more compelling than in the first film. (And that’s coming from people who have never read the books!)
In fact, it seems that every year since the first film, the conversation surrounding The Twilight Saga has moved forward, and that’s truly something to celebrate. (It also means that this year’s movie will be even more special. We’ll finally get to see how everything ties together. And who knows? Maybe we’ll even learn a thing or two about vampires and werewolves along the way!)
More Than Meets The Eye
If you’re a fan of The Twilight Saga, there’s more than enough to shout about this year. Not only are we getting a fourth film, but we’re also getting a prequel novella (short story collection) to the epic saga. (The prequel will be released on March 12, and the novelizations of the first three films will be available on July 10.)
As for the fourth film, it will conclude the saga. But that doesn’t mean that it will be the end. (Just as with the last two films, the producers are already looking toward the eventual sequel.)