Kevin Winter/ Getty Images
Are the 'Twilight' Kids Actually Movie Stars?
With November's release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, the sparkly vampire franchise has earned over $1 billion worldwide and turned its trio of actors -- Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner -- into massive global celebrities.
But are they actually movie stars?
Yes, there is a difference. Celebrities are the men and women whose personal lives, style and Just Like Us movements sell magazines. The Kardashians and Lohans of the world, if you will. Movie stars are the performers whose presence alone puts butts in theater seats. The Coopers and Clooneys of the world.
And based on their non-Twilight projects, I'm starting to think R. Patz, K. Stew and TayTay Lauts fall into the former. Each has tried -- and failed -- to headline a non-fantasy film in the wake of Twilight's success.
Taylor's 2011's attempt, Abduction, had lots of heat going for it, but got a very cool box office reception (it made only $28 million).
Kristen has mostly avoided big budget films up until now (2009's Adventureland, 2010's The Runaways and Welcome To The Rileys were low-budget endeavors that yielded even lower box office returns). 2012's Snow White and The Huntsman will be her first true blockbuster test, but even if that film is a massive hit, its success won't fall squarely on her shoulders since SWATH is based on a famous fable, features dazzling special effects and what looks to be a bravura performance from Charlize Theron as The Evil Queen.
Then there's Robert. He was first to test the non-Twilight waters with 2010's Remember Me -- a movie that cast him as a lovelorn but wayward soul. It should have been manna from heaven to the fanbase that tracks his every move and facial hair growth. No one cared. The film opened with $8 million and went on to gross a paltry $19 million.
So what does this all mean? Well, it should be noted that none of the aforementioned films has been an absolutely astounding piece of cinema. Kristen's indies have been the brightest of the bunch -- specifically the very underrated Adventureland -- but their collective cinematic contributions have been soundly slammed by critics, and truthfully, fans alike.
But even still, the assumption is that even the worst film should be buoyed by this massively dedicated and passionate Twilight fanbase. A theory each film's opening weekend pretty much invalidates. Even alongside former box office queen Reese Witherspoon, 2011's Water For Elephants was a financial disappointment.
The question becomes this; Outside of the Twilight franchise, does anyone care about their work? My guess is that they will, once Stephenie Meyer's cinematic saga comes to a conclusion. For the time being, each is locked into being their big screen doppelgangers. Fans don't want to see Edward romancing anyone but Bella, they don't want to see Bella acting like a wasted rock star and they don't want to see Jacob trying desperately to find his parents. We know who his father is. It's Billy Black.
But that won't (and really shouldn't) stop them from trying to forge their post-Twilight career paths. As I said, Kristen's upcoming Snow White film looks fabulous while Taylor and Robert have been spending time with auteurs like Gus Van Sant and David Cronenberg, making me think they've both decided to take a page out of Kristen's more desirable playbook.
Before we get Robert's Cronenberg collaboration, 2012's Cosmopolis, his Merchant Ivory-esque period drama Bel Ami will unfold on screens. The film casts him as a young man who rises to prominence in turn of the century Paris while splitting his time between beds belonging to Uma Thurman and Christina Ricci. Will Twilight fans trek out for this film? History has me leaning towards the negatory -- but check out the newly released trailer and decide for yourself!