Well, there you have it: “Twilight” pulled in $70.6 million over the weekend, stomping both Disney’s “Bolt” and the Bond movie to declare itself a proper phenomenon.
As a result, Summit greenlit a sequel — oh, yippee — and we are now stuck with Catherine Hardwicke, Voice of Today’s Youth.
One thing I haven’t really seen in any of the frothing media coverage of the New! Hot! Thing! is an acknowledgment of the brilliant way Summit orchestrated the marketing campaign on what’s essentially a niche picture: Though Stephenie Meyers’ books are virtually unknown to anyone above the age of 17, Summit’s been percolating interest among the faithful all year, dribbling out stills and clips and posters with a steady stream of targeted media releases. I was sick of seeing the “New Twilight Image!” subject line in my inbox by, oh, April. Can’t say it didn’t pay off at the box-office, though.
Serious-minded media analysts are going to make a face, but “Twilight” is essentially following the same model as “The Passion of the Christ” — a small, independent production of a beloved text, marketed directly to the rabid fan base with little or no regard for people who aren’t part of the culture, explodes onto the scene with startling force. It’s all about getting the fundamentalists to the theater.
I also find it interesting the quality of the product is ultimately irrelevant. The people who want to see their favorite story told on a big screen get exactly what they want; it doesn’t matter if the execution is dull or hackneyed. (This is the lesson Hardwicke learned on “The Nativity Story”: Directorial incompetence doesn’t matter if you’re working with material people already cherish.)
So, yeah, “Twilight” is a tedious slog through teen-movie cliches with laughable performances and a ridiculous abstinence metaphor — hey, girls, chastity is teh awesome, but it has to be your boyfriend’s choice! — but it doesn’t matter. Edward + Bella 4-ever, right there on the screen!
Just wait until they get a little older and discover “Buffy” …