Crazy numbers are coming in from Fandango, claiming that The Twilight Saga: New Moon is now the official record holder for most advanced tickets sold on the site, ever. You heard right: New Moon has sold more advanced tickets than The Dark Knight, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith or Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – and even more tickets than a little movie called Twilight, which hit theaters around this same time last year.
Now of course some of you hear that statistic and think to yourselves “So what? No big surprise there…” New Moon is the bigger, (seemingly) better chapter in a wildly popular franchise of books-cum-movies, and, like every other film in that advanced tickets listing above, is simply doing what it should: building on its own success.
Oh, but this is just the beginning, my friends; matter of fact, with New Moon busting into theaters this week, these record ticket sales aren’t even the beginning – they’re just a warning shot. New Moon is poised to be huge phenomenon, perhaps even outside of the previous borderlines of the of die-hard Twilight fan (aka teen girls and their mothers) demographics.
This begs the timely question: Is New Moon changing The Twilight Saga‘s image?
…AND TWILIGHT FOR ALL
So let’s be up front: The Twilight Saga isn’t really in need of a major PR makeover as it stands: the books sold like crazy and the last year’s movie adaptation earned over $350 million worldwide off a $37 million production budget, in spite of the fact that it was (at best) a B-Movie.
(Let’s just pause a sec, and give the Twilight fans a chance to rip me apart for calling the first film a B Movie…)
…OK, so, it’s pretty obvious that author Stephenie Meyer’s universe of vampire/virgin/werewolf coupling and conflict has grown legs of its own to stand on. No debate about that here. However, it’s also been clearly evident – throughout the dozens of posts we’ve dedicated to covering the cinematic development of The Twilight Saga here at Screen Rant – that beyond the initial (albeit HUGE) pool of tweens, teens, and mothers of tweens/teens who worship this series, The Twilight Saga has faced a challenge when it comes to appealing to those beyond the strictly designated boundaries of its genre (teen romance) and demographic (teen romantics).
If you think I’m off base when I say that, then you need to flashback to last year when Summit Entertainment tried HARD to market Twilight as an “action” film, repeatedly advertising that one vampire-on-vampire fight scene (which looked like a 3-year-old shot it) as some sort of validation for guys to see the film. And while our own Vic Holtreman tagged the film as (barely) “guy approved,” many other guys did not. Compared to say 30 Days of Night or True Blood, many of you said Twilight looked like little girl’s stuff.
“See, would a wimpy vampire do this?”
But does that opinion still hold true for New Moon? Because my movie barometer/Spidey-sense is telling me, Not Necessarily…
A GOOD FILM IS A GOOD FILM
When the first trailer for New Moon dropped, the reaction was certainly less divided than a year prior when audiences got their first look at Twilight. When the full, final trailer for New Moon was released shortly thereafter, that gap in opinion narrowed even further. Having been the one to post about that final trailer (and as a longtime anti-Twilight proponent) even I had to admit two things:
- New Moon director Chris Weitz has put together a movie that is much more polished and visually sophisticated than Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight adaptation.
- This second installment offers much more than just schmaltzy, awkward, shirtless, teen romance. There is actually a story at work here.
Now don’t get me wrong, New Moon certainly isn’t above criticism; fans and non-fans alike have already agreed that some of the werewolf visual effects we’ve seen look slightly cheesy, for instance. But on the whole, this film is already a few steps ahead of Twilight, for the simple fact that more people are judging it by the merits of what is and is not a good film. Twilight was pretty much seen as a cash-grab endeavor by Summit Entertainment – a small studio cranking out a hot dog-quality movie based on a super-hot franchise, with fat profits all but lining Summit’s shallow pockets before the film ever debuted.
And, regardless of the low-quality of the product, the money came pouring in as expected.
Despite the blink-and-you-missed it production schedule of New Moon, it certainly seems like Summit Entertainment is taking those fat profits and putting them toward a higher purpose: making a much better film the second time out – one that could possibly be loved by those who are NOT already screaming, sobbing, drooling fanatics of the books; the audience that DOESN’T simply love the movies for the fact that they exist. This time around, the filmmakers want to win over the haters and lovers alike.
Can New Moon convert the haters? No way to say for sure, but at the end of every lengthy argument between movie lovers, there is one time-honored phrase that (99% of the time) makes equals of us all: “A good movie, is a good movie.”
While it has yet to prove itself in full, New Moon certainly doesn’t look like total crap, as far as movies go. Combine that glimmer of potential with the already-guaranteed profits this sequel will make, add the fact that New Moon has much more to offer – action, savage werewolves, lethal vampire tribunals – to a wider demographic, and you begin to understand just how big this Twilight Saga phenomenon could actually become.
In fact, right now, as we speak, people are mobbing downtown LA, fighting for a spot in line for New Moon‘s red carpet premiere; those not in the streets are online forming chat groups and communities to get themselves psyched-up for the movie’s release this weekend, and in many spots around the world, girls are getting woozy at the thought of seeing Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson shirtless, sopping wet and/or glimmering in the sun. When did the world go this crazy for The Dark Knight?
A BRIGHT, DARK FUTURE
The great thing (or terrible thing, depending who you are) about this Twilight Saga mania is that it doesn’t have to end! Once New Moon is finally out of theaters – once the roving bands of teens and housewives have made the theaters showing New Moon their weekend resorts for about a month or so – once the fervor over Lautner’s abs has died down, we’ll already be that much closer to the June 30, 2010, release date for the next installment, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
Eclipse is already benefiting from having an even better director (IMHO) in the form of David Slade (30 Days of Night); an even bigger incentive for guys to care (an all-out war between werewolves and vampires); and a steamy Edward-Bella-Jacob love triangle that gets cooked to a boil on gorgeous green mountain backdrop. I’ll be surprised if some of the more fanatical Twilight fans DON’T burrow themselves into a theater seat and hibernate away the time between now and when June rolls around…
More to the point, IF New Moon does in fact succeed in transforming the series’ image into a flying-high flag of mass appeal, then come end of June, 2010, during the height of the Summer movie rush, Eclipse is going to SLAUGHTER the box office. The film could (going out on a limb here) even shatter so many records that the last holdouts who are still thumb-downing the idea of even stepping into a theater to see a Twilight Saga movie will have to either seriously consider turning to the dorkside, or consider divorcing themselves from their love of movies forever out of sheer grief.
You think I’m kidding, or that what I’m saying is pure hyperbole? Come June, we shall see…
David Slade will attempt to Eclipse the masses.
For now, what remains to be seen is if New Moon is indeed going to be that movie which does the near-impossible: makes The Twilight Saga cool enough for any and everybody to tell their friends (regardless of age or gender) that they saw it, and enjoyed it. Is the series already that cool? Well, notice that nowhere in this article did I mention whether I’ve seen it, read it, or plan to do either in the future… Perhaps we’ll have that conversation after New Moon is in theaters… :-)
Like I have to tell you: it’s all going down this Friday, November 20, 2009.