It has been 5 years since Twilight came out in theaters in 2008, and while the saga is over and it faced all kinds of backlash and criticism, Forbes.com acknowledges that the franchise left behind an enormous, one-of-a-kind legacy behind.
You’d think that Hollywood would have noticed the $1.8 billion success of James Cameron’s epic romance Titanic back in 1997 which was partially fueled by younger women seeing the film countless times in theaters. But instead of crafting big-budget entries centered around females, studios merely spent the next decade increasing the arbitrary young-love quotient in male-centric films like Armageddon and The Patriot. Even animation, once a place for female-centric narratives like Pocahontas or Anastasia became a proverbial boy’s club in the wake of Shrek and Pixar’s rise to the degree that Brave was considered a “big deal” in 2012. By the time Twilight rolled around, the conventional wisdom was that female-centric films were tantamount of box office poison due to the whole “girls will see boy films but boys won’t see girl films” cliche.
Female-centric hits like Deep Impact, Charlie’s Angels, Sex & the City: The Movie, or Mama Mia! were written off as flukes and not to be used as a template for success, while female-centric flops like Electra or Catwoman was held up as proof that female-driven superheroes were box office poison. But Twilight kick-started its franchise five years ago with a stunning $69 million opening weekend and eventually earned $392m worldwide on a $38m budget. Unlike the quick-kill sequels which generally opened over/under $140m and ended up over/under $290m domestic, it didn’t collapse after opening weekend, earning $192m off that $69m debut weekend, a solid 2.76x multiplier. Its fan base peaked at New Moon, but it along with the Harry Potter sequels, helped prove that you didn’t need to expand your fan base if that fan base was big enough.
Twilight and its respective sequels finally and indisputably proved that there was a real and potent market for blockbuster franchises explicitly aimed at, and unquestionably about, women. When The Twilight Saga: New Moon shocked the industry by opening with $142 million four years ago this weekend, the most interesting statistic was that the audience was 80% women. Aside from a missed marketing opportunity for Ninja Assassin (“So, your girlfriend dragged you to New Moon, now it’s YOUR turn to pick the movie!”), the stat showed that even if not a single ticket buyer for New Moon had been male, the film still would have snagged the biggest opening weekend of 2009. This was hard proof that a film entirely targeted at females, centered around a female, and concerning the narrative journey of a female, could attract genuine blockbuster dollars without the male audience.
You can read the rest of the article here at Forbes.com. I think it’s important to point out, once all is said and done, that Twilight did a lot of good for women in the film industry, for female audiences in general, and that there is not a single new franchise out there that doesn’t aspire to duplicate its success as much as possible. If Twilight’s success is still helping female centric projects being made at all, I think we can all agree that Twilight did more that anybody ever hoped for.
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