While the entire Twilight saga was a box office phenomenon, the sequel that outdid the rest of the series is the last one that viewers might expect to see succeed. The Twilight movies arrived at the perfect time to capitalize on the popularity of author Stephenie Meyers’ bestselling novel saga of the same name. While a vetoed Paramount adaptation had been in the works as early as 2005, it was not until 2008 that director Catherine Hardwicke brought Twilight to the big screen.
A massive global success, Twilight’s movie adaptation made overnight stars of its cast and earned over $400 million at the box office. However, the financial fortunes of the series only improved from then on. Although Twilight’s rewrites hurt the critical standing of the series, which never won over critics, the sequels continually outdid each other at the box office. It was the final Twilight movie that managed to be the most financially successful entry into the series, with 2012’s Breaking Dawn Part 2 earning over $800 million despite bad reviews. Surprisingly, this was also the movie adaptation that proved most divisive among even established Twilight fans.
The Twilight Saga’s Box Office Broke Records
At $3.3 billion for the saga, the Twilight movies were at the time (and remain as of 2023) the best-performing vampire franchise in cinema history. The series had its production struggles, with Hardwicke being replaced by Chris Weitz for the first sequel and Weitz in turn being replaced by David Slade (who was then replaced by Bill Condon for the two-part ending, making Condon the only director to work on two Twilight movies). Twilight’s recasting also held up production but, evidently, this didn’t hurt the box-office performance of the series. While New Moon made $700 million and Eclipse earned $698 million, Breaking Dawn Part 1 raked in $712 million.
Why Breaking Dawn Part 2 Was The Biggest Twilight Movie
Although conventional wisdom typically states that sequels rarely outdo their predecessors at the box office, this has not always proven true in Hollywood history. However, what is rare is for a movie series to earn more money with each release the longer it goes on. While the Twilight movies are not alone in this (recently, Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible movies) managed the same feat, the fact that Breaking Dawn Part 2 made more money than Breaking Dawn Part 1 is still surprising. This could be because the sequel wrapped up the saga, but is a shock since the target demographic was aging out of interest in the series by its release and most of its knock-offs flopped.
That said, the stars of the series were only gaining popularity as the Twilight franchise wrapped up, and their combined appeal could have made up for a lack of interest in the source material. Furthermore, the fact that the series had a definitive ending with no possible spinoffs in sight could have made Breaking Dawn Part 2 appealing to viewers, which ironically made the movie’s fake-out finale all the more controversial. While Breaking Dawn Part 2 didn’t fix every Twilight plot hole (like Bella’s betrayal of Charlie), the movie did effectively tie up the saga despite its flaws, and the divisive ending didn’t stop Twilight fans from flocking to see the movie in cinemas.