No matter how you feel about Twilight — love it or hate it — the phenomenon has been one of the biggest stories to come out of the movie industry in the last five years. Now that the series is ending, Melissa Rosenberg, who penned all of the scripts for the Twilight franchise, talked to Women And Hollywood about the impact the blockbuster flicks have had on the industry. When asked if Twilight has changed how Hollywood thinks about girls — and women — Rosenberg replied:
I hope it has. I think the prevailing wisdom prior to Twilight was that you would have tent-pole movies all for 13 year old boys. And they were driving box office. I actually had producers in the past tell me, you can't do any kind of action movie or open a big tent pole movie with a woman because there are no women who open movies, except for maybe Angelina Jolie. I was appalled by that comment. So what Twilight does is show how women/girls can drive box office and they can support a tent pole movie. They're an extremely passionate fan base. This coincided with the 13 year old boys starting to stay home and play video games and work on their home media stuff. They're no longer going to theaters in droves. It's a sort of interesting confluence of events that all came together with women becoming an active audience.
Rosenberg also feels that there's a double standard, when it comes to fantasy films:
When you start to read the criticism of Twilight it's just vitriol, it's intense, the contempt. From critics both men and women. And it's interesting, you know, there's a Harvard professor, who wrote an article after the Breaking Dawn called "The Bigotry of Hating Twilight," and it was very interesting to me. We've seen more than our fair share of bad action movies, bad movies geared toward men or 13-year old boys. And you know, the reviews are like okay that was crappy, but a fun ride. But no one says "Oh my god. If you go to see this movie you're a complete fucking idiot." And that's the tone, that is the tone with which people attack Twilight.
She adds: "It's also because it's female it's worthy of contempt. Because it feels female, it is less than. And that is simply a reflection of our society. That's not relegated to just movies. That's just a reflection of why we have so few senators and why we haven't had a female president yet. It's reflected all over in board rooms."
Even if you wish the story had a better plot, a stronger female character, a less-creepy romantic lede, the fact remains that it's been a juggernaut, raking in cash from book sales, movie ticket sales and merchandise. If there's one thing that gets attention in Hollywood, it's money. Hopefully this means women will find better offerings at the multiplex in the years to come.
A Conversation with Melissa Rosenberg - Writer of the Twilight Series [Women And Hollywood]