Though many people find the Twilight movies polarizing, nobody can deny how incredibly successful the films were. Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn – Part 1, and Breaking Dawn – Part 2 made up a global film franchise that raked in billions of dollars. But even Summit, the production company that distributed the films, had no idea what a hit the movies would be. In fact, the studio’s expectations for the first movie were pretty low.
Twilight had been rejected by multiple production and distribution companies before Summit took a chance on it. Still, there was no expectation that Twilight would become a blockbuster film. The movie was assigned a budget solely based on its genre and it was up to Catherine Hardwicke (who directed the movie) to make the most of it. In a 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hardwicke revealed just how modest the expectations for Twilight were.
‘Twilight’ was only supposed to make $29 million at the box office
“No one thought it was going to be successful,” Hardwicke shared about the wildly popular movie. “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was a successful girls’ book turned into a movie, and it made $29 million, and I was told that Twilight would make about the same amount of money, making our budget really tight. But it was a perfect storm because Meyer kept releasing books as we were making the first movie. So that fan base really started building.”
Kristen Stewart Said Early Interviews Made It Seem Like She Was ‘Ashamed’ of the ‘Twilight’ Movies
Even the cast had no idea what Twilight would become when they signed on to the movie. Hardwicke revealed that Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were pretty blindsided by the success of the franchise and how it catapulted them into superstardom. Though the pair often struggled with the intensity of their abrupt and newfound fame, Hardwicke believes that the Twilight movies gave the actors the financial freedom to take complete agency over the direction of their careers.
The cast was shocked by the success of the movies
“Kristen and Rob were indie kids when we started, and they were like me: They didn’t realize how big the film was going to be,” Hardwick confessed. “And I remember one day where Kristen turned to me and said, ‘I think this is going to change my life.’ I could see this 18-year-old looking at a whole new world. Within a year, they were both making $30 million. But they still are indie kids, they’re still doing individual projects, and I think Twilight gave them the means to now be a part of any project they want to do.”
Stewart and Pattinson certainly did use their success from the Twilight movies to help make films that otherwise may not have seen the light of day. But just how successful was Twilight in the box office when it was all said and done? Hardwicke revealed that the movie blew any and all expectations out of the water. “We made $69 million opening weekend and $400 million overall,” the director shared. Clearly, Summit grossly underestimated Twilight, but they were sure not to make the same mistake with any of its sequels.