One of the biggest series to hit the Silver Screen in the past decade is the "Twilight" series. These mega blockbuster films are based on the hit book series by Stephanie Meyer and have reached phenomenal ranks at the box office. The series includes the original "Twilight" (2008), "New Moon" (2009), "Eclipse" (2010), "Breaking Dawn Part 1" (2011), and "Breaking Dawn Part 2" (2012). The series is a big hit with the teen and young-adult crowd, with each subsequent release in the series coming complete with a legion of diehard fans who are willing to brave rain, snow, sleet, or any other obstacle that stands in their way to be one of the first to watch it in theaters or to buy the DVD upon its initial release. The "Twilight" series has changed a few things in the movie world, that's for sure.
From a purely statistical standpoint, it is worth pointing out that the "Twilight" series set all sorts of box office records, both domestically and on an international scale. "Twilight," the first film in the series, grossed $408.9 million worldwide, with an additional $201 million from DVD sales for a total of $609.9 million. With fans' appetites whetted by the original film, the series second stab, "New Moon," went on to break several records, including being Fandango's biggest-ever advanced ticket seller and holding the biggest-ever midnight opening in the history of the US and Canadian box office with $2.3 million raked in from midnight showings. The third film in the series, "Eclipse," would eclipse that record by grossing $72.7 million on its opening day in the US and scoring $709 million worldwide. It was also the biggest-ever single-day opening in US history and had the eighth-highest opening-weekend ever.
The "Twilight" series seems to have revived the paranormal genre, especially when it comes to vampires and has left Hollywood thirsting for more. At no time in history has the vampire been so beloved; it's now cool to label yourself as a vampire, or at least, it's accepted in some areas of society. The vampire phenomenon has been fanned by a sort of cultural commercialism that spurred tons of merchandise and two parody films, including "Vampires Suck" (2010) and "Breaking Wind" (2012).
Essentially, vampires are now the in thing in Tinsel Town. Hollywood has really played up to the vampire hype since the initial success of "Twilight" in 2008, including the release of "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" (2009), "Thirst" (2009), "Daybreakers" (2010), "Priest" (2011), "Fright Night" (2011), "Dark Shadows" (2012), and "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" (2012). If anything, the popularity of "Twilight" and subsequent films allowed the lore of the vampire to go mainstream, and it was suddenly okay to have an interest in fantasy and paranormal films. There are also several hit television shows in the vamp genre, including "True Blood," which is also based on a best-selling book series, and "The Vampire Diaries."
One thing that was rarely seen prior to the "Twilight" series is a serious level of fandom. Fans of the series even have their own name—Twihards. While the series has fans of both the male and female persuasion, it finally gave female fans a franchise that could be followed with devotion. Just as "Batman," "Spider-Man," and "Iron Man" are geared toward a decidedly male audience (these franchises also have a lot of female fans, too), "Twilight" is predominantly beloved by women and features a storyline a female audience can really get into, and that's still "girly" at heart—almost like a chick flick on steroids.
What "Twilight" has done as a franchise is take a classic angle that appeals to a huge audience—the love story—and turn it into something that appeals to a wide range of women and some men. Although the younger set is the main audience for these films, there are a surprising number of women in their thirties and beyond who found a lot to love about the series.
It is also worth noting that "Twilight" brought a new audience to the movie world—the reader—reinforcing and building on the trend that began in earnest with J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" and J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series before it. Many fans of the "Twilight" franchise were first literary fans before they became fans of the movies. The opposite is also true. Popular movies such as those in the "Twilight" series have an awe-inspiring effect on encouraging reading among today's youth.