Love them or hate them, it’s impossible to deny that the Twilight movies were wildly successful. Based on the popular book series by Stephenie Meyer, the movies tell the story of a human girl, Isabella “Bella” Swan and a “vegetarian” vampire, Edward Cullen as they navigate the trials and tribulations of falling in love. The five films: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn – Part 1, and Breaking Dawn – Part 2 make up one of the highest-grossing film franchises of all time. But just how much money did the movies make at the box office?
Though Twilight turned out to be highly-successful, the first film was never slated to be a blockbuster hit. In fact, when the movie was first being shopped around to production and distribution companies, it was turned down again and again. In a 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the first movie, revealed that many studios rejected the film before Summit Entertainment finally decided to take a chance on it.
Nobody expected ‘Twilight’ to be as successful as it was
“And it got turned away from every studio,” Hardwicke revealed aboutthe movie. “Paramount turned it down, the producers shopped around and went to Fox, it got turned down again. No one thought it was going to be successful.” Even with the built-in audience that came from readers, Summit wasn’t convinced that those readers would translate into ticket sales. In fact, they based their projection for Twilight’s ticket sales solely on another Young Adult novel turned film.
“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,” Hardwicke shared. Summit was very serious about keeping Hardwicke on a strict budget. In fact, they presented her with an ultimatum prior to filming beginning. They informed her that if she didn’t find a way to cut $4 million dollars out of the budget, they were scrapping the movie altogether.
How much did the movies make altogether?
Fortunately, Hardwicke found a way to make the film and reduce the budget. “When the film finally released, projections for how much Twilight would make were shattered within the very first weekend. 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. We made $69 million opening weekend. People were not expecting it.”
After the shocking success of Twilight, Summit Entertainment quickly purchased the rights to make the next four films. Naturally, these films were given the blockbuster treatment with much larger budgets and tons of promotion. This decision certainly paid off for the studio. The Twilight Saga movies managed to gross an astounding $3.3 billion worldwide making it the eighteenth highest-grossing film franchise of all time. While that’s still not enough money to rival the Cullen’s net worth, it’s more than enough money to impress mere mortals.