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The Twilight Saga (film series)

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Background Information

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The Twilight Saga film series

The special edition two disc Twilight DVD cover
Directed by Twilight:
Catherine Hardwicke
New Moon:
Chris Weitz
David Slade
Breaking Dawn:
Bill Condon
Produced by Wyck Godfrey
Greg Mooradian
Twilight, New Moon &

Mark Morgan
Eclipse & Breaking Dawn:
Karen Rosenfelt
Breaking Dawn:
Stephenie Meyer
Written by Screenplays:
Melissa Rosenberg
Stephenie Meyer
Starring Kristen Stewart
Robert Pattinson
Taylor Lautner
Peter Facinelli
Elizabeth Reaser
Ashley Greene
Kellan Lutz
Nikki Reed
Jackson Rathbone
Music by Twilight:
Carter Burwell
New Moon:
Alexandre Desplat
Howard Shore
Distributed by Summit Entertainment
Release date(s) Twilight:
November 21, 2008 (2008-11-21)
New Moon:
November 20, 2009 (2009-11-20)
June 30, 2010 (2010-06-30)
Breaking Dawn: Part 1:
November 18, 2011 (2011-11-18)
Breaking Dawn: Part 2:
November 16, 2012 (2012-11-16)
Running time Total (3 films):
375 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget Total (3 films):
Box office Total (3 films):

The Twilight Saga is a series of supernatural romance fantasy films from Summit Entertainment based on the four Twilight series novels by the American author Stephenie Meyer. The films star Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. The series has grossed over $1.7 billion in worldwide receipts and consists, to date, of three motion pictures. The first installment Twilight was released on November 21, 2008. The second installment, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, followed on November 20, 2009, breaking box office records as the biggest midnight screening and opening day in history, grossing an estimated $72.7 million. The third installment, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, was released on June 30, 2010, and is the first Twilight film to be released in IMAX.

The series was in development since 2004 at Paramount Pictures, during which time a screen adaptation of Twilight that differed significantly from the novel was written. Three years later, Summit Entertainment acquired the rights to the film. After Twilight grossed $35.7 million on its opening day, Summit Entertainment announced they would begin production on New Moon; they had acquired the rights to the remaining novels earlier that same month. A two-part adaptation of Breaking Dawn began shooting in November 2010 with November 18, 2011, and November 16, 2012, release dates.


Twilight was in development for approximately three years at Paramount Pictures's MTV Films, during which time a screen adaptation that differed significantly from the novel was written. For example, the script transformed Bella into a star athlete. Stephenie Meyer stated that there was some debate in allowing the movie to be made because of the negative or positive outcome of the movie compared to the book, '"They could have put that [earlier] movie out, called it something else, and no one would have known it was Twilight!" The idea of seeing a scene converted correctly, specifically the meadow scene, convinced Meyer to sell the rights. In seeing the script, she was frightened that she had made the wrong decision. When Summit Entertainment reinvented itself as a full-service studio in April 2007, it successfully acquired the rights to the novel. Erik Feig, President of Production at Summit Entertainment, guaranteed a close adaptation to the book. The company perceived the film as an opportunity to launch a franchise based on the success of Meyer's book and its sequels. Meyer felt that Summit was open to letting her be a part of the film. Catherine Hardwicke was hired to direct the film, and soon afterward, Melissa Rosenberg was selected to be the film's structural base as the writer of the film.

Rosenberg developed an outline by the end of August and collaborated with Hardwicke on writing the screenplay during the following month. "[She] was a great sounding board and had all sorts of brilliant ideas.... I'd finish off scenes and send them to her, and get back her notes." Because of the impending WGA strike, Rosenberg worked full time to finish the screenplay before October 31. In adapting the novel for the screen, she "had to condense a great deal." Some characters were left out, and others were combined. "[O]ur intent all along was to stay true to the book," Rosenberg explained, "and it has to do less with adapting it word for word and more with making sure the characters' arcs and emotional journeys are the same." Hardwicke suggested the use of voice over to convey the protagonist's internal dialogue, since the novel is told from Bella's point of view; and she sketched some of the storyboards during pre-production.

Meyer, the author, and Harwicke, the director, had a close relationship while developing Twilight. Hardwicke wanted to embrace the experience and make the characters in the books come to life. She would call Meyer after changing a scene slightly, which surprised the author because, "I've heard the stories...I know it's not normally like that when you adapt a book." Meyer, a natural pessimist, was waiting for the worst but, instead, called her experience in the book's film adaptation "the best I could have hoped for."

Originally scheduled for release in December 2008, Twilight moved to a worldwide release of November 21, 2008 after Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince moved from a November 2008 release to being released in July 2009.

Casting the roles of The Twilight Saga

Kristen Stewart was on the set of Adventureland when Hardwicke visited her for an informal screen test, which "captivated" the director. Hardwicke did not initially choose Robert Pattinson for the role of Edward Cullen; but, after an audition at her home with Stewart, he was selected. Meyer allowed Pattinson to view a manuscript of the unfinished Midnight Sun, which chronicles the events in Twilight from Edward's point of view. Meyer was "excited" and "ecstatic" in response to the casting of the two main characters. She had expressed interest in having Emily Browning and Henry Cavill cast as Bella and Edward, respectively, prior to pre-production.

(Left to right) Director Chris Weitz, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson attending the photocall for New Moon on November 10, 2009 in Paris, France

Peter Facinelli was not originally cast as Carlisle Cullen: "[Hardwicke] liked [him], but there was another actor that the studio was pushing for." For unknown reasons, that actor was not able to play the part, and Facinelli was selected in his place. The choice of Ashley Greene to portray Alice Cullen was the subject of fan criticism to some extent because Greene is 7 inches (18 cm) taller than her character as described in the novel. Meyer had also stated that Rachael Leigh Cook resembled her vision of Alice. Nikki Reed had previously worked with Hardwicke on thirteen, which they wrote together, and Lords of Dogtown. Kellan Lutz was in Africa, shooting the HBO miniseries Generation Kill, when the auditions for the character of Emmett Cullen were conducted. The role had already been cast by the time that production ended in December 2007, but the actor who had been selected "fell through". Lutz subsequently auditioned and was flown to Oregon, where Hardwicke personally chose him. Rachelle Lefèvre was interested in pursuing a role in the film because Hardwicke was attached to the project as director; there was also "the potential to explore a character, hopefully, over three films"; and she wanted to portray a vampire. "[She] thought that vampires were basically the best metaphor for human anxiety and questions about being alive." Christian Serratos initially auditioned for Jessica Stanley, but she "fell totally in love with Angela" after reading the books and took advantage of a later opportunity to audition for Angela Weber. The role of Jessica Stanley went to Anna Kendrick, who got the part after two mix-and-match auditions with various actors.

Because of major physical changes that occur in the character of Jacob Black between Twilight and New Moon, director Chris Weitz considered replacing Taylor Lautner in the sequel with an actor who could more accurately portray "the new, larger Jacob Black." In an attempt to keep the role, Lautner worked out extensively and put on 30 lbs. In January 2009, Weitz and Summit Entertainment announced that Lautner would continue to play the role of Jacob in The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

When they told me Rob was probably the one, I looked him up and thought, "Yeah, he can do a version of Edward. He's definitely got that vampire thing going on." And then, when I was on set and I got to watch him go from being Rob to shifting into being Edward and he actually looked like the Edward in my head, it was a really bizarre experience. [...] He really had it nailed.

Twilight author Stephenie Meyer

In late March 2009, Summit Entertainment released a list of the actors who would be portraying the "wolf pack" alongside Lautner. The casting for the rest of the Quileute tribe was headed by casting director Rene Haynes, who has worked on films with large American Indian casts, such as Dances with Wolves and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

In mid-2009, it was announced that Bryce Dallas Howard would be replacing Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria for the third Twilight film, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Summit Entertainment attributed the change to scheduling conflicts, and Lefevre responded that she was "stunned" and "greatly saddened" by the decision. Jodelle Ferland was cast as the newly turned vampire, Bree. Other new cast members for the third film include Xavier Samuel as Riley, Jack Huston as Royce King II, Catalina Sandino Moreno as Maria, Julia Jones as Leah Clearwater, and BooBoo Stewart as Seth Clearwater.


Principal photography for Twilight took 44 days, after more than a week of rehearsals, and completed on May 2, 2008. Similar to her directorial debut thirteen, Hardwicke opted for an extensive use of hand-held cinematography to make the film "feel real". Meyer visited the production set three times, and was consulted on different aspects of the story; she also has a brief cameo in the film. To make their bodily movements more elegant, and to get used to their characters' fighting styles, the cast playing vampires participated in rehearsals with a dance choreographer and observed the physicality of different panthera. Instead of shooting at Forks High School itself, scenes taking place at the school were filmed at Kalama High School and Madison High School. Other scenes were also filmed in St. Helens, Oregon, and Hardwicke conducted some reshooting in Pasadena, California, in August.

In early November 2008, Summit announced that they had obtained the rights to the remaining books in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series: New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. On November 22, 2008, one day after the theatrical release of Twilight, Summit confirmed that they would begin working on New Moon. Melissa Rosenberg had been working on adapting the novel prior to Twilight's release and handed in the draft for New Moon during Twilight's opening weekend in November 2008.

In early December 2008, it was announced that Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke would not be returning to direct the sequel. Hardwicke cited time restrictions as the reason behind her leaving the project. Instead, Chris Weitz, director of The Golden Compass and co-director of American Pie, was hired to direct The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Filming for New Moon began in Vancouver in late March 2009, and in Montepulciano, Italy, in late May 2009.

In early 2009, before the release of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Summit confirmed that they would begin production on The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Since Weitz would be in post-production for New Moon when The Twilight Saga: Eclipse began shooting, he would not be directing the third film. Instead, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was helmed by director David Slade, with Melissa Rosenberg returning as screenwriter. Filming began on August 17, 2009 at Vancouver Film Studios and finished in late October, with post-production beginning early the following month. In April 2010, it was revealed that re-shoots of the film were needed. Slade, who previously said he would not be around for them, was seen, along with Stephenie Meyer, on set. The three main stars were also present.

Wyck Godfrey, producer of the previous films in the series, stated in mid-2009 that they had every intention to make the film version of Breaking Dawn. Following months of speculation and cast rumors, it was officially announced on April 28, 2010, that Academy Award winner Bill Condon, who directed Gods and Monsters and Dreamgirls, would direct Breaking Dawn; producing the film will be Wyck Godfrey, Karen Rosenfelt, and author Stephenie Meyer. "I'm very excited to get the chance to bring the climax of this saga to life on-screen. As fans of the series know, this is a one-of-a-kind book – and we're hoping to create an equally unique cinematic experience," said Bill Condon. A November 18, 2011 release date has been set for the first part, while the second is scheduled for release on November 16, 2012. Following that announcement, Summit officially confirmed that a two-part adaption of the fourth book would start production in the fall on June 11, 2010. With this announcement, it was made clear that all major actors, including the three lead roles, the Cullen family, and Charlie Swan, would return for both parts. Bill Condon was also confirmed to direct both parts.

In order to keep the budget on both parts of Breaking Dawn reasonable, which would be substantially greater than the previous intallments in the series, filming in Louisiana is also being negotiated. Shooting in Louisiana would provide larger tax credits, which a studio as low-profile as Summit Entertainment would benefit from.


Twilight (2008)

Twilight was directed by Catherine Hardwicke and written by Melissa Rosenberg. It focuses on the development of a personal relationship between human teenager Bella Swan ( Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward Cullen ( Robert Pattinson), and the subsequent efforts of Edward and his family to keep Bella safe from a separate group of hostile vampires.

The film was released theatrically starting on November 21, 2008. It grossed $35.7 million on its opening day, and has come to gross US$408.9 million worldwide. The DVD was released on March 21, 2009 and grossed an additional $181 million from sales.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)

The Twilight Saga: New Moon was directed by Chris Weitz and written by Melissa Rosenberg. The film follows Bella Swan's fall into a deep depression until she develops a strong friendship with werewolf Jacob Black. Jacob and his tribe must protect Bella from Victoria, a vampire seeking to avenge the death of her mate by killing Bella. A misunderstanding occurs, and Edward Cullen believes Bella is dead. Edward decides to commit suicide in Volterra, Italy; but he is stopped by Bella, who is accompanied by Edward's sister, Alice. They meet with the Volturi, a powerful coven of vampires, and are released on the condition that Bella be turned into a vampire in the near future. Bella and Edward are reunited, and she and the Cullens return to Forks.

The film was released theatrically starting on November 20, 2009, and set numerous records. It is currently the biggest advance-ticket seller on Fandango and held the biggest midnight opening in domestic (United States and Canada) box office history, grossing an estimated $26.3 million. Its sequel, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, broke that record in June 2010, grossing $72.7 million on its opening day domestically,$709 Million Worldiwide and becoming the biggest single-day opening in domestic history. It is the third highest opening weekend in domestic history with $142,839,137.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was directed by David Slade and written by Melissa Rosenberg. The film follows Bella Swan as she develops awareness of the complications of marrying Edward Cullen. As Victoria draws nearer with a group of new born vampires, Jacob Black and the rest of the werewolves form a temporary alliance to destroy her, in turn, to keep Bella safe. While Bella tries to decide who she is, a fight brews and the consequences are paid once Jacob gets hurt. Intent on keeping a compromise with Edward, she vows to keep true to her engagement and marry him.

The film was released theatrically starting on June 30, 2010, and is the first Twilight film to be released in IMAX. It set a new record for biggest midnight opening in domestic (United States and Canada) in box office history, grossing an estimated $30 million in over 4,000 theaters. The previous record holder was the previous film in the series, The Twilight Saga: New Moon with $26.3 million in 3,514 theaters. The film then scored the biggest Wednesday opening in domestic history with $68,533,840 beating Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen's $62 million. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse has also become the film with the widest independent release, playing in over 4,416 theaters, surpassing its predecessor, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which held the record since November 2009.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (2011/2012)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn will be directed by Bill Condon, and author Stephenie Meyer will co-produce the film along with Karen Rosenfelt and Wyck Godfrey; Melissa Rosenberg will pen the script. The book's plot will be split into two films, the first of which is tentatively scheduled for release on November 18, 2011. The second will be released the following year, on November 16, 2012. The filming of Breaking Dawn began in November 2010.



The Twilight Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was chosen by music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas. The album was released on November 4, 2008 by Patsavas' Chop Shop label, in conjunction with Atlantic Records. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, having sold about 165,000 copies in its first week of release, 29% of which were digital downloads. Twilight is the best-selling theatrical movie soundtrack in the United States since Chicago.

Twilight: The Score was composed and orchestrated by Carter Burwell over a 9–10 week period, and was recorded and mixed in about 2 weeks in late September 2008. Burwell began the score with a "Love Theme" for Bella and Edward's relationship, a variation of which became "Bella's Lullaby" that Robert Pattinson plays in the film, and that is included on the Twilight Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. The original theme is featured throughout the film, and serves to "play the romance that drives the story". Another theme Burwell composed was a "Predator Theme", which opens the film, and is intended to play Edward's vampire nature. Other themes include a bass-line, drum beat and distorted guitar sound for the nomadic vampires, and a melody for the Cullen family. Twilight: The Score was released digitally on November 25, 2008 and in stores on December 9.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

The score for The Twilight Saga: New Moon was composed by Alexandre Desplat while Alexandra Patsavas returned as music supervisor for the rest of the soundtrack. Weitz has a working relationship with Desplat, who scored one of his previous films, The Golden Compass. The The Twilight Saga: New Moon: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album was released on October 16, 2009 by Patsavas' Chop Shop label, in conjunction with Atlantic Records. The Twilight Saga: New Moon: The Score was released on November 24, 2009.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

The score for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was composed by Howard Shore, who composed the scores for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The film's soundtrack was released on June 8, 2010 by Atlantic Records in conjunction with music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas' Chop Shop label. The lead single from the soundtrack is " Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)", performed by the British band Muse.


Twilight grossed over $7 million in ticket sales from midnight showings alone on November 21, 2008. It grossed $35.7 million on its opening day. For its opening weekend in the United States and Canada, Twilight accumulated $69.6 million from 3,419 theaters at an average of $20,368 per theatre. The film has made $192.7 million in the United States and Canada, and a further $192.2 million in international territories for a total of $384.9 worldwide.

The film was released on DVD in North America on March 21, 2009 through midnight release parties, and sold over 3 million units in its first day. It has continued to sell units, totaling 9,967,919 as of January 2010, making $181,028,196.

New York Press critic Armond White called Twilight, "a genuine pop classic", and praised Hardwicke for turning " Meyer's book series into a Brontë-esque vision." USA Today gave the film two out of four stars and Claudia Puig wrote, "Meyer is said to have been involved in the production of Twilight, but her novel was substantially more absorbing than the unintentionally funny and quickly forgettable film".

The Twilight Saga: New Moon set records for advance ticket sales, causing some theaters to add additional showings. It is currently the biggest advanced ticket seller on Fandango, surpassing Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The film set records as the biggest midnight opening in domestic (United States and Canada) box office history, grossing an estimated $26.3 million in 3,514 theatres, before expanding to 4,024 theaters. The record was previously held by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which grossed $22.2 million domestically during its midnight premiere. The film grossed $72.7 million on its opening day domestically, becoming the biggest single-day opening in domestic history, beating The Dark Knight's $67.2 million. This opening strongly contributed to another record: the first time that the top ten films at the domestic box office had a combined gross of over $100 million in a single day.

The opening weekend of The Twilight Saga: New Moon is the third highest opening weekend in domestic history with $142,839,137. The film also has the sixth highest worldwide opening weekend with $274.9 million total.

Robert Ignizio of the Cleveland Scene described The Twilight Saga: New Moon as an "entertaining fantasy", and noted that it "has a stronger visual look [than Twilight] and does a better job with its action scenes while still keeping the focus on the central love triangle." Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post gave the film two and half stars out of four, praised Kristen Stewart's performance in the film and wrote, "Despite melodrama that, at times, is enough to induce diabetes, there's enough wolf whistle in this sexy, scary romp to please anyone." The Seattle Post-Intelligencer gave the film a "B" grading and said, "the movie looks tremendous, the dialogue works, there are numerous well placed jokes, the acting is on point." Mick Lasalle from the San Francisco Chronicle responded with a more mixed review, stating, "[E]xpect this film to satisfy its fans. Everybody else, get ready for a bizarre soap opera/pageant, consisting of a succession of static scenes with characters loping into the frame to announce exactly what they're thinking." Roger Ebert gave the film 1 star out of 4 and said that it "takes the tepid achievement of Twilight, guts it, and leaves it for undead." The release of the movie has also inspired feminist criticism, with Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly making light of the claim that Edward Cullen is little better than a stalker. In any case, the influx of female viewers into the theaters indicates the increasing importance of the female demographic in dictating Hollywood's tastes.

The Hollywood Reporter posted a positive review of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, saying the film "nails it". Variety reports that the film "finally feels more like the blockbuster this top-earning franchise deserves". One review stated the film was the best in The Twilight Saga so far, acknowledging that, "The person who should be worried is Bill Condon, the director tapped for the two-part finale, Breaking Dawn. He's got a real challenge to make movies as good as Eclipse. The New York Times praised David Slade's ability to make an entertaining film, calling it funny and better than its predecessors, but pointed out the acting hasn't improved much.

A more negative review said that while "Eclipse restores some of the energy New Moon zapped out of the franchise and has enough quality performances to keep it involving", the film "isn't quite the adrenaline-charged game-changer for love story haters that its marketing might lead you to believe. The majority of the 'action' remains protracted and not especially scintillating should-we-or-shouldn't-we conversations between the central triangle." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film a more positive review than for the first two films in the saga, but still felt the movie was a constant, unclever conversation between the three main characters. He criticized the "gazes" both Edward and Jacob give Bella throughout the movie, and noted that the mountain range that appears in the film looks "like landscapes painted by that guy on TV who shows you how to paint stuff like that." He also predicted that a lack of understanding for the film series in general would not bode well with the audience, stating, "I doubt anyone not intimately familiar with the earlier installments could make head or tails of the opening scenes." He gave the film 2 stars out of 4.

Box office performance

List indicator(s)

  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).
Film Release date Revenue Ranks Budget Reference
United States Non-USA countries Worldwide All time USA All time worldwide
Twilight November 21, 2008 $192,769,854 $199,793,011 $392,562,865 #112 #119 $37,000,000
The Twilight Saga: New Moon November 20, 2009 $296,623,634 $413,087,374 $709,711,008 #37
#38 $50,000,000
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse June 30, 2010 $300,522,000 $389,505,368 $690,027,368 #36
#44 $68,000,000
Total $789,915,488 $1,002,385,753 $1,792,300,241 $155,000,000

Critical reception

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Yahoo! Movies
Overall Cream of the Crop
Twilight 50% (196 reviews) 56% (36 reviews) 56 (37 reviews) C+ (15 reviews)
The Twilight Saga: New Moon 27% (209 reviews) 38% (39 reviews) 44 (32 reviews) C (13 reviews)
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse 50% (218 reviews) 63% (35 reviews) 58 (38 reviews) C+ (14 reviews)
Average Ratings 43% 52% 53 C
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