Yes, it’s true. Singer-songwriter Robert Pattinson actually sang at the Oscars. And not just any song, but arguably the most iconic and popular song of all time: “Twilight.”
Before you dismiss this as yet another publicity stunt, consider the following. The fact that Pattinson is a Grammy-nominated singer (having received two nominations) and has been hailed as one of the greatest singers of our time certainly suggests that this was more than a publicity stunt. And, indeed, it wasn’t.
The Historic Performance
If you’ve never heard of Robert Pattinson, it’s probably time you should have. “Twilight,” the 2008 film that catapulted Pattinson to superstardom, remains one of the most popular movies of all time. With almost 2.7 billion views on TikTok alone, it certainly seems that many people know who he is and what he represents. And what he represents, in this instance, is “Twilight”-ity.
Pattinson’s performance, in other words, was historic. Not just because he’s a solo artist singing a classic rock song at the Oscars, but because of what the song “Twilight” represents. It was, in a sense, the culmination of a lifelong dream for Pattinson, who first found fame as a child actor starring in such films as the “Harry Potter” series and the “Twilight” films. It would prove to be one of the most memorable and iconic performances at the Oscars (and perhaps one of the greatest performances ever at any award show).
The Meaning of “Twilight”
What exactly is “Twilight”? As the name would suggest, the phenomenon behind “Twilight” is the combination of bright lights and dark shadows. Similarly, being “in the glow” of someone or something is described as being in their “Twilight zone.” So, it would seem, these things are inextricably linked. But what does that mean?
The story of “Twilight” begins in 1968 with the novel “The Vampire Chronicles” by author William Peter Blatty. Not long after its publication, Blatty became famous for writing such books as “The Exorcist” and “Billie’s Waltz,” among others. The first film adaptation of Blatty’s work, “The Exorcist,” was released in 1973 and remains one of the most popular films of all time. In addition to writing the screenplay for the “Exorcist,” Blatty helped to develop the novel on which the film is based.
In 1974, the novel “Who You gonna Call?” was published, becoming the first “Twilight” book. It was originally published under the pseudonym “Victoria Lucas.” The following year, the first of what would become a massively successful film series was released.
The Evolution of “Twilight”
Over the years, the popularity of “Twilight” has defied expectations and conventional wisdom. It continues to be one of the biggest phenomena in pop culture. Why? There are a number of reasons. First, let’s remember that many of Blatty’s novels are about social issues, such as prejudice, drug addiction, and the occult. Second, let’s recall that many people first heard of “Twilight” through its music video, in which the song “Vampire” appeared. Third, it was one of the first widely popularized examples of young Hollywood trying something different, exploring different genres and doing so with panache and skill. Finally, perhaps most significantly, “Twilight” spoke to a generation of young people trying to find their place in the world. Today, it remains one of the biggest influences on youth culture, particularly in the LGBT community. As a result, many young people know exactly what it is and symbolizes.
A Life In ‘Twilight’
For those who have never heard of Robert Pattinson, all of this may seem quite strange. To put things into context, the singer-songwriter, whose real name is Theodoros Porakis, was born in England and studied drama at Oxford. He subsequently moved to Los Angeles, where he began his acting career, appearing in supporting roles in several films, among them Steven Spielberg’s “Munich” and Wolfgang Petersen’s “Jack the Giant Killer.”
After the critical and commercial success of “Midnight in Paris,” Pattinson released his debut album, “Exposure,” in 2014. The following year, he earned his first Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for the film “Beautiful And The Dark.” Since then, he has gone on to receive two more Oscar nominations for Best Original Song for the films “The Lost City Of Z” and “Good Will Hunting.”
Pattinson’s singing career was launched in 1994, when he performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Barcelona’s Montjuic Castle before a crowd of 300,000 people. Since then, he has established himself as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, singer-songwriters of our time. His music has spanned multiple genres, including rock, R&B, and folk, and he has collaborated with some of the greatest musicians of our time, including Mike Mills (of R.E.M) and Paul McCartney.
‘Twilight’ And The Changing Demographics Of Hollywood
While there is still an audience for “Twilight,” it’s clear that its appeal has begun to wane. In 2018, it was announced that the first “Twilight” film would be released in 2022, more than 10 years after the last one. The 2020 election saw a number of historic firsts, including the country’s first openly gay President, but also saw the lowest turnout in 40 years.
It’s a similar story with the film itself. Although its early box office returns were promising, it has never turned a profit. In fact, the latest installment in the “Twilight” series, “Eclipse, Part 2,” will be the first in the series not to make a profit. It’s also one of the biggest money burners of all time. Its production budget was an estimated $68 million and it took in approximately $25 million at the box office. While these numbers are undoubtedly impressive, the film’s return on investment was negative, at -$24 million.
Is This The End Of An Era?
In many ways, the early 21st century has been a difficult time for Hollywood. As a result of the pandemic, more and more people are seeking a form of entertainment other than traditional movie theaters. This, in turn, has opened up opportunities for up-and-coming artists and creators. YouTube and other platforms, such as TikTok, have made it easier than ever for artists to gain a following. As a result, established film stars are being forced to evolve with the times and change with the technology.
This is particularly the case for the “Twilight” phenomenon. For more than 40 years, fans have sought out this film and, for the most part, grown with it. Today, however, it is becoming increasingly clear that the film’s best days are behind it. First, there’s the fact that it’s been 10 years since the last “Twilight” film was released. More significantly, the last three films have all underperformed at the box office. The latest film, “Eclipse, Part 2,” will be the first not to make a profit, and it’s going to be hard to argue that the franchise has reached its peak. It’s clear that the days of “Twilight” are numbered.
While there is still an audience for “Twilight,” it’s clear that its appeal has begun to wane. As one of the biggest phenomena in popular culture, it’s going to be hard to escape the comparison to other, more established superstitions. And, while the appeal of this film may still be strongest among teens and young adults, this, too, will change as society evolves.