How Did Twilight Become a $2.5 Billion Dollar Empire?

 

A person is almost guaranteed that if they bring up Twilight that they will be met with polarizing opinions from others regarding the books and movies. I am sure as soon as you read the title of this blog post that you were either really excited or you groaned inwardly at the very mention of it. How did this particular series become so wildly popular? Is it the target audience? Maybe it’s the fact it has vampires? Or maybe those facts are only a small part of the equation? And what does Twilight have to do with Yoga and Love?

If we want to get specific, according to Statistic Brain the Twilight Franchise has made a total sum of $5,736,100,000. MSN Entertainment had even more staggering statistics to boast. The four top earning teen romance films are, in fact, four Twilight films. The entire Twilight film series represents the highest earning vampire films of all time, followed by Hotel Transylvania (2012) and Van Helsing (2004). More than 5,000 guys auditioned for the part of Edward. According to Summit Entertainment, in preparation for the release of Breaking Dawn – Part 2, 2,200 people from all over the world registered to camp out for five days in Los Angeles near the location of the world premiere of the film.  Love them or hate them, the Twilight franchise has made quite the impact on recent popular culture.

I sat down and had a conversation with Vish about the Twilight franchise, and naturally, he gave me some insight on the books and films I had not considered. “Twilight is about love that’s unattainable. It places two characters in a situation that makes it difficult for them to be together. It’s a total fantasy situation that makes it appealing.” Vish replied when I asked him why he thought Twilight has become so wildly popular.

But what about Twilight’s primary audience? Few film and book franchises have appealed to both tween girls and middle aged women. “Tween girls are new to romance,” Vish replied. “Twilight is a fantasy story which naturally appeals to young girls because they have yet to learn the hard relationship lessons. It’s still new and attractive to them. And as for middle aged women, Twilight gives them hope. If this couple can achieve unattainable love in an environment that is constantly working against them, then maybe they can do the same.”

With any franchise that achieves such staggering popularity, Twilight has also received substantial criticism for everything from its characters to the message it is sending to young readers. Some of the most controversial issues surrounding Twilight have been concerns that the romance between primary protagonists, Edward and Bella, may be romanticizing, or even outright promoting, abusive behavior in relationships.  According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, Edward and Bella’s relationship meets all 15 of their criteria for an abusive relationship.

“I don’t agree that Twilight is promoting abusive relationships,” Vish stated when I enquired his opinion on the issue. “First of all, Twilight is a fantasy story. It’s not real. There’s no Vampires running around on the streets and hanging out in high schools. It’s flawed logic to project onto a story that has no basis in reality.”

Vish also brought up another great point when I asked him if he had a daughter would he allow her to read the Twilight books and view the movies. “Absolutely!” Vish replied. “It’s a beautiful fantasy story. I would love for her to view it with an open mind, remembering it is a fantasy story, and use it as a springboard for future discussion about love and relationships. I didn’t care as much for the last few movies because I felt they had awkward pacing, but I really enjoyed the first movie and thought it was artistically well done.”

It was a point I had not considered when formulating my opinion on Twilight. Whether we are personally fans of the films and books, it does provide an excellent opportunity to discuss love and relationships with our peers, and especially our children who may be fans of Twilight. “One of the most positive messages in Twilight is it about undying love and being committed to one another even with the threat of death. We as a society can take a lesson that if you are willing to fight for love it can cross all obstacles.” Vish added.

“Another aspect I wanted to mention is the intuition of Stephenie Meyer.” Vish said before telling me a bit about Stephanie Meyer’s story and pointing me to her brief story featured on the author’s website. According to Stephenie Meyer, Twilight was inspired by a vivid dream she had back in 2003.

“I woke up (on that June 2nd) from a very vivid dream. In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire. They were discussing the difficulties inherent in the facts that A) they were falling in love with each other while B) the vampire was particularly attracted to the scent of her blood, and was having a difficult time restraining himself from killing her immediately. For what is essentially a transcript of my dream, please see Chapter 13 (“Confessions”) of the book.”

Meyer went on to explain how she began writing Twilight as a way to remember the dream. “Though I had a million things to do (i.e. making breakfast for hungry children, dressing and changing the diapers of said children, finding the swimsuits that no one ever puts away in the right place, etc.), I stayed in bed, thinking about the dream. I was so intrigued by the nameless couple’s story that I hated the idea of forgetting it; it was the kind of dream that makes you want to call your friend and bore her with a detailed description. (Also, the vampire was just so darned good-looking, that I didn’t want to lose the mental image.) Unwillingly, I eventually got up and did the immediate necessities, and then put everything that I possibly could on the back burner and sat down at the computer to write—something I hadn’t done in so long that I wondered why I was bothering. But I didn’t want to lose the dream, so I typed out as much as I could remember, calling the characters “he” and “she.”

From that time on Stephenie Meyer talks about how she continued to write every day and expanding upon the dream she experienced until it became a full novel. It was Meyer’s older sister, Emily who encouraged her to publish the novel. “My older sister, Emily, was the only one who really knew what I was up to. In June, I’d started sending her chapters as I finished them, and she soon became my cheerleading section. She was always checking in to see if I had something new for her. It was Emily who first suggested, after I’d finished, that I should try to get Twilight published. I was so stunned by the fact that I’d actually finished a whole, entire book, that I decided to look into it.”

After learning more about Stephenie Meyer’s story and how she became inspired to write Twilight and the process she went through from writing down the dream to getting published, I really started to understand Vish’s emphasis on her story. “We can take a lesson from Stephenie Meyer. She listened to her intuition and even though she didn’t think what she was writing would amount to much, it ended up being a huge multibillion dollar franchise. It’s a good lesson and inspiration to all of us, especially when it comes to discovering your life work.”

Yoga & Love Insight from Twilight

Regardless of how one may feel about the details of Twilight’s story, none can argue that it is a powerful love story that bridges generation gaps and individual backgrounds.  Twilight shows us that even in a fantasy story involving Vampires and Werewolves that love can transcend even what we may perceive to be impossible obstacles. In today’s world we have grown accustomed to putting so many conditions upon our relationships that we forget the importance of commitment even through difficult circumstances.

Twilight also offers a wonderful opportunity to talk to our peers or our children about love and relationships through the backdrop of a fantasy story. Stephenie Meyer’s story also teaches a valuable lesson about listening to your intuition. If you feel driven to do or create something you should follow your intuition and the signs it gives. You never know if that intuitive sense may one day lead to a multibillion dollar business.