Breaking Dawn – Part 2,' starring (left to right) Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, is scheduled to hit theaters Nov. 16.
Sink your teeth into it all you want, but the end is nigh for the “Twilight” series.
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2,” scheduled to release Friday, is the fifth and final film of the fantasy series about an awkward teenager and her shimmery vampire boyfriend.
Hollywood kept the saga alive by turning Stephenie Meyer’s four-book series into a five-movie franchise, which seemed to satisfy diehard fans (or Twi-Hards) and the film industry alike.
According to Box Office Mojo, the blockbuster movies have grossed more than $1 billion in the U.S. and $2.5 billion internationally, spawning a global phenomenon with a loyal, rabid fanbase.
Daniel Collins, an Ohio State associate professor of Slavic linguistics who teaches a course titled “Vampires, Monstrosity, and Evil: From Slavic Myth to ‘Twilight,'” credits the success of the “Twilight” franchise to its focus on a specific target audience.
“I think it holds a real niche. The ‘Twilight’ series represents the needs of a very strong market group of young women … and deals with the transition from becoming a girl to a young woman and then to a mother. So it matches the needs of its clientele,” Collins said.
Tanya Erzen, a former professor in the Department of Comparative Studies at OSU and the author of “Fanpire: The ‘Twilight’ Saga and the Women Who Love It,” agreed that the series is appealing on multiple levels.
“The fanbase is so diverse – it has older women, college-aged women, teenagers, tweens. It’s a story that appeals to a lot of people,” Erzen said. “It started off as something very small that got passed on and kind of burgeoned into this massive phenomenon that’s global and multi-generational.”
Erzen said she expects the void left behind by “Twilight’s” end to be filled by similar vampire-themed stories.
“I think what’s left of ‘Twilight’ is paranormal young adult and romance fiction,” Erzen said, pointing to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” a book series that originated as a “Twilight” fan fiction story.
“You have this huge demographic of people who have buying power and want these kinds of stories.”
“Twilight’s” influence has already stretched into television, paving the way for shows such as the CW’s “Vampire Diaries” and HBO’s “True Blood.” Collins said he expects these kind of productions will continue to be made to quench fans’ thirsts.
“I think people will be looking for something to replace (‘Twilight’). It goes in cycles, where the given message gets tired and then it becomes the subject of parody,” Collins said, mentioning as an example the 2010 film “Vampires Suck,” a parody of “Twilight.”
“But the failure of the parody of ‘Twilight’ suggests the message is still strong,” Collins said. “So I think we’ll see other film and book adaptations for a while that have the glamour of vampires.”
Some in the film industry certainly hope this is the case, as many have been able to cash in on the saga’s success. Gateway Film Center, for example, will screen all five “Twilight” films consecutively Thursday, starting at noon and leading up to the premiere of “Breaking Dawn – Part 2.” Tickets for the 12-hour marathon cost $25 in advance and $35 at the door.
“Historically, it’s been a continually successful franchise,” said Patrick Locy, sales and marketing manager at Gateway. “We’re expecting a pretty big crowd and we’re excited for a big premiere.”
Kathryn Krulc, a third-year in special education, said she plans on seeing “Breaking Dawn – Part 2,” but she wants to wait until after opening weekend to avoid the crowds.
“As much as I love ‘Twilight,’ I’d rather go when it’s a little less crowded so I can actually enjoy the movie instead of hearing the screaming girls – who may be a little too obsessed – behind me talking about how hot Taylor Lautner is or fighting over whether they are Team Edward or Team Jacob,” Krulc said.
Although Twi-Hards have garnered a reputation for being fiercely loyal fans, Erzen said an important aspect of the “Twilight” phenomenon is the way it has created community. It has spawned a number of different ways for fans to connect with each other, including online fan fiction, “Twilight” conventions and visits to Forks, Wash., where the story is set.
With the series winding down, though, Erzen said the “Twilight” community is fading as well.
“Over time, it’s become more commercialized and more focused on the movies. Because of that, it will die down and you can already see that in the conventions, which have scaled back, and the businesses that have closed in Forks because there are fewer people coming through there,” Erzen said.
But fans shouldn’t ditch their fake vampire teeth or werewolf mask just yet. Collins said he thinks “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” might not necessarily be the last we see of Bella and the Cullen clan.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Stephenie Meyer comes back. There’s room for prequels for stories that could be developed,” Collins said. “This series has a great deal of vitality.”