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Why’s it Forgotten? The Twilight Series

Remember when the Twilight movies were major events?  Neither does Kevthewriter.

For a new spin-off of Why’d it Bomb?, I’m looking at movies and other media that were hits in their time but nowadays hardly anyone talks about them and wonder what happened that made everyone forget about it. Considering it’s October, let’s take a look at something with vampires and werewolves in it.

In the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, Twilight was either everyone’s favorite book/film series or everyone’s favorite punching bag as it seemed to have an equal number of fans (or “twihards”) to haters. Twilight fandom and hate was so massive that, for the longest time, you couldn’t go anywhere without people either talking about whether Edward or Jacob was better or making fun of sparkly vampires. Even teenagers, the target audience of the series, were getting in on the hate. Nowadays, though, both the haters and the fans have quieted down and no one really talks about Twilight anymore. Even the sparkly vampire jokes have subsided. But what happened? Why are you unlikely to really see anyone talk/joke about Twilight anymore?

I think it’s due to one thing: The Hunger Games stole its thunder. From 2008-2012, Twilight was the big YA franchise and, due to it being so popular, a lot of people were talking about it. But then The Hunger Games came out and, unlike Twilight, the majority of people weren’t reading the books or watching the movies just to make fun of them but actually legitimately enjoying the series. And most can agree that at the very least the first two Hunger Games movies were good.

Due to the widespread popularity The Hunger Games received, everyone shifted their focus from Twilight to The Hunger Games and suddenly everyone stopped making fun of Twilight and started getting actually invested into The Hunger Games‘ plot. This even led many movie studios to stop trying to rip off Twilight (Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments, Beastly, etc.) and they started ripping off The Hunger Games (Divergent, The Maze Runner, etc.). It probably didn’t help Twilight that the first Hunger Games movie came out when the last Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Part 2, came out nor did it help that the subsequent Hunger Games films came out when they weren’t producing anymore Twilight films. That just gave Hunger Games even more time to pretty much steal Twilight‘s thunder.

Of course, while The Hunger Games is much better than Twilight, it did have a similar impact as, like Twilight, all of the attempts by other studios to create a big YA dystopian franchise didn’t go over so well. It did better as at least Divergent and Maze Runner were successful enough to produce sequels (while Beautiful Creatures and Mortal Instruments weren’t) but those sequels didn’t exactly do as well and, nowadays, there isn’t really a big YA franchise playing at the movies right now.

But, that all being said, the reason you don’t hear about Twilight much anymore is that, well, everyone turned their attention to The Hunger Games and, being a better series and all, it ended up having a more lasting impact.

Thankfully, everyone forgetting Twilight ended up being a pretty good deal for Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson because now they pretty much act in independent films but those films showed, unlike Twilight, that they can actually act and, while the general public might always see them as Edward and Bella, anyone who sees their more recent films will now know there’s more to them than that.

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Posted on October 21, 2017, in Why'd it bomb? and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Hmmm… I don’t think the whole Twilight phenomenon is so much forgotten, as it has just become a kind of time relic. It’s what usually happens with such overpowering teen phenomenons like this. The kids who used to go nuts over it eventually grow up, grow other supposedly more substantial interests/tastes and just shrug whatever it was they liked before. It happened with that whole turn-of-the-millennium wave of boy bands and pop princesses, for example.
    And I’m using this example precisely because that whole wave of music is now being looked at with fondness and re/discovered by new generations. It’s only natural: those who were teens then are now firmly in their 30’s, a good chunk of them have kids and have the disposable income to fully support any boy band currently on the road; which is why you hear about the Backstreet Boys doing the best business they have made in some time.
    The teens from the Twilight generation, on the other hand, are college-age kids at best. They’re still old enough to belong to popular culture’s main target, meaning they are still able to keep up with whatever’s going on, as lots of them aren’t yet totally settled in their lives, much less have kids to contend with. But they’ll eventually grow older, get settled, have kids and develop nostalgia. Once that happens, just watch Twilight</> get re/discovered!

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    • You’re right though I’m not sure something that was such a huge pop culture phenomenon can ever be TRULY forgotten, as people will always still remember it existed at one point or another. It’s just that unlike, say, Harry Potter, which is still referenced and talked about a fair amount, no one really talks about Twilight anymore. It’s like Avatar vs. Titanic really. People still remember Avatar being a thing but it’s only really remembered for being a phenomenon, not for anything that really happened in the movie, while you may still see people occasionally referencing Titanic.

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    • Deader Than Disco / Literature

      https://web.archive.org/web/20160831141345/http://tvtropes.org:80/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/DeaderThanDisco/Literature

      Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, as mentioned above. It was enormously popular among tween/teenage girls and older women when the first book came out in 2005, and as hard as it is to believe today, it actually received fairly positive notices from critics at the time (though there were dissenters even then), with many calling it a true-to-life depiction of teen angst and romance mixed with an Urban Fantasy setting. Once the sequels rolled out in the late ’00s, the series quickly became a pop culture sensation, sparking a boom in Young Adult Literature that’s still going strong, with its film adaptations becoming Critic-Proof smash hits that turned their stars into A-listers. Together, the books spent a collective 235 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, and are often (together with the Harry Potter books) credited, even by their hatedom, for restoring interest in reading among young people. However, it didn’t take long for audiences outside of its Fleeting Demographic — and even a number of former fans who had moved on — to rip it up for its perceived Unfortunate Implications, Narm, moralizing, and general lax quality, with Bella and Edward’s romance in particular frequently described as a textbook example of a mutually abusive, destructive relationship (a viewpoint that was notably shared by the actor who played Edward in the films). Hype Backlash also played a big part, especially once the film adaptations and the imitators started coming out.

      Now that the series is complete (both books and film), the books are only ever brought up to mock them and society in general for making them popular in the first place. People riffing on and insulting the books seem to vastly outnumber the people who unironically enjoy them, its depiction of vampires is a common target of Your Vampires Suck jokes in other medianote , and even hardcore fans were disappointed by how the final book ended. The finishing blow was arguably The Hunger Games, which was not only an even bigger smash success than Twilight was and seen as the true successor to Harry Potter that Twilight was originally touted as, but which many people saw as a direct response to the messages and themes of Meyer’s books (at the very least, it was often treated as such by Twilight’s critics and anti-fans). The first three Hunger Games films all made more money than any Twilight film ever did, and launched Jennifer Lawrence to a level of stardom that the three Twilight leads never even got halfway to. In fact, the series’ popularity plunge all but finished off all three of their careers due to their Type Casting, along with killing the young-adult Paranormal Romance genre. The tenth anniversary of the original book’s publication saw the release of a Rule 63 reimagining of the story called Life and Death that was met mostly with shrugs and snark, the YA fandom that had emerged and exploded around the series having long since turned against it and moved on to other books, seeing it as a symbol of everything wrong with the genre.

      The decline of the Twilight series also had this effect on Meyer. Her only non-Twilight work that had any success was The Host, and that faded from public consciousness in even shorter time (it didn’t help that The Film of the Book bombed). The books themselves and the behind-the-scenes details of them have created a perception of her as a lazy, misogynistic, one-note writer who panders to tweens and uses her books to preach conservative Mormon values (and most likely to vent out personal problems/cry for help), effectively making her a laughingstock.

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  2. I was never really a “Twilight” fan, and I was 13 when the first movie came out. I remember being annoyed at my friends for talking about it at school so much. (My sister was a fan, but I don’t really remember her being as obsessed as my friends were at the time.)

    How much press the stars got during those four years was never mentioned. I remember during the Summer of 2012 when Kristen Stewart’s cheating scandal emerged, and it was talked about on the entertainment shows CONSTANTLY. I remember this one particular night when a celebrity I liked passed away, and I watched an entertainment show to see if there was any additional coverage. That entertainment show annoyed me by talking about it for the millionth time before I finally had the nerve to switch over to Access Hollywood, where the celebrity’s passing was covered for a few good minutes. The “Twilight” phenomenon is not truly forgotten but just a distant memory.

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  3. This isn’t that uncommon really. The aforementioned Avatar is a good example.. It’s the highest grossing movie of all-time. But it hasn’t proven to have that much staying power. Compare it to Titanic which still has fans.

    Of the Twilight cast, the one member who was the most undone by the end of the series would likely be Taylor Lautner. Since his attempts at establishing a career outside of the series never got off the ground and he doesn’t have this to go back to, he’s pretty much done.

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    • Apparently, he’s gotten some acclaim for his role in Cuckoo so, while he’s definitely not the big star he once was, he at least has one good gig going for him

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  4. One of the things that contributes to the longevity of a fantasy, sci-fi or supernatural fiction series—be it books, movies, books adapted to movies, television series, or whatever—is good world building. Does the imaginary setting—whether an alternate version of this one or a completely imaginary one—have a solid, believable feel to it, or not? One reason the Harry Potter universe is still relevant is that J. K. Rowling, while she’s not in the same class with Tolkien, Gene Wolfe, Terry Pratchett, today’s birthday celebrant Ursula K. LeGuin, or other master world builders, is a pretty good one. Stephenie Meyer (or Suzanne Collins, for that matter), not so much.

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    • That’s true. Actually, now that I think about it, even The Hunger Games’ popularity seems to be receding a bit too because, while it does have some good social commentary, the dystopian future it’s set in is a little forgettable. In fact, at least when it comes to the movies, it’s biggest impact seems to be that it, along with Silver Linings Playbook and the X-Men films, helped make Jennifer Lawrence a household name.

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  5. If I had to honestly guess as to why the reasons Twilight isn’t talked about as much I could take a few more realistic guesses.

    Lack of book content. Breaking dawn was published August 2, 2008. Which means all 4 main books in the series came out even before the first Twilight movie on November 21, 2008. There was a short novella release about bree tanner pre film eclipse on June 5, 2011 but you can’t expect that to hold much of a flame to the entire universe. So even before the movies came out this author was done writing for the universe.
    No official fan fiction acknowledgement. Its hard to maintain a series in any sort of way when the publishers or author doesn’t allow any kind of fan fiction in the official sense. The best thing we ever got was a half written Midnight Sun script that never got finished. They could have gone the route of having other authors take over in the universe to continue to make Expanded Universe books or continued or prequel cannon series but that was another bust.
    All the fan sites lost any kind of momentum. They have nothing to talk about, the author doesn’t say anything about the series not like JK does on her twitter. There is no official online material like pottermore fans can consume. Twilight Lexicon has to struggle to post any kind of news when the past few years have been full of. Auction for this twilight prop and this actor or actress has this role or look at SM’s new book that has nothing to do with Twilight.
    Closed Shop. They sold all the props and most of the actors have moved on. Lions gate owns the movie rights and could do a reboot but It think what twilight fans really crave is expansion of the story in movie cannon or EU where we get to see more of the Dirty, Eclipse style this universe is dangerous lets explore what all kind of tales we can tell. SM tells us nothing, no updates and as far as she has portrayed she will continue to feed us nothing. You have to have a dedicated or at least excited author to continue the series and she won’t even write midnight sun for her mother who asks for it for every Christmas to read what makes you think SM cares enough about us who care about her world to get something new?

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