Twilight has long been called “those vampire books” or “that vampire movie” by me—or sometimes described as “the worst thing that ever happened to me” (or something similar) by Robert Pattinson—but the series has an incredibly loyal following, as demonstrated by just how much friggin’ money the first movie made.
The film’s director, Catherine Hardwicke, underscored this fact this year at Comic Con.
“It was a modest budget because everybody thought, hey, a movie for women is only going to make like what ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ made—$29 million,” Hardwicke said.
But the first Twilight movie would make more twice that domestically its opening weekend, and go on to gross $400 million worldwide, according to Variety. Haters: proven immediately and repeatedly wrong.
Twilight arguably helped pave the way for more women-fronted teen-centric franchises, like The Hunger Games and Divergent, says Hardwicke. Per Variety:
“I think that changed the landscape,” Hardwicke said. “People could see that women want to see movies about women.” [...] Hardwicke also credited the film with helping create the foundation for future female-led franchises including “Divergent” and “The Hunger Games.” Ed Gathegi, who played Laurent in the “Twilight” series, echoed Hardwicke’s sentiment, praising the film’s positive effect on popular culture.
The lesson here: Bet big on the high school vampire dramas. Bet big on dystopian YA fiction. Follow the teenage girls, and you follow the money. Hats off to you, Hardwicke.