They say all good things come to an end, well next Friday “the Twilight Saga” will prove that all bad things do as well. It’s strange to think that just a few years ago, back in 2008 that this “phenomenon” didn’t even exist. And, yet in five years the franchise has exploded and made household names out of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and pretty much everyone else involved. I knew that the franchise had a polarizing power when after seeing the first movie, my friend Dana ran out to buy the book series. I myself am an avid reader, and had given the books a shot. But, I had never seen Dana read a book, never mind four. Before long she was obsessed and became a full-fledged Twihard. In the years since Dana was first bitten, I have been to five of Robert’s “Today” appearances, three midnight screenings, weathered two casting dramas and one Robsten break up. While I have made no secret of the fact that I am not a fan of the series, being along for the ride with Dana and my other friends has been fun. But, this past week as the cast and the fans geared up for the final stretch before the film’s release I was surprised to see how calm the ride was.
My “Twilight” week started Wednesday morning, as Dana and I walked up to the “Today Show” plaza. Kristen Stewart was slated to make an appearance and I was prepared for the anarchy I have come to expect. Camping out, barricades being tested, chasing cars – it’s all fair game in this fandom. So when Dana and I walked down W48th street I was shocked to see 18 people lined up for Bella Swan herself. Now, last year I waited overnight to get Dana a spot so she could see Rob. And similar measures had to be taken in years before, not by me, but by others. So to show up at 6 AM and find less than 20 people on line was shocking. As things worked out, we didn’t get to meet Kristen Stewart. She was brought over to us and told us yes to our various requests. However, these girls could not get their camera sorted out and cost us facetime with KStew. We fared better with Nikki Reed who was also on the show that morning. She is sweet, gracious and so beautiful. I will never understand why she is not seen in a more favorable light by the fans. The next morning, Rob Pattinson was the star on the plaza and just over 25 people showed up to see him. Now, you’ll say “Brian, it had snowed.” And yes that’s true it had. But, his fans did chase him all around the five boroughs while he filmed “Remember Me” in sweltering summer heat. I thought his fans were weather proof. I will admit, the plaza did fill up slightly more after showtime. But, still we are talking about a fanbase that camps in the street for weeks before movie premieres. This kind of turn out was unheard of. It worked to our advantage because we did get to meet Robert. He was incredible, he came outside in the freezing cold and took photos with pretty much everyone. That is amazingly kind of him and I thank him.Now while I have come to expect anarchy and chaos wherever Kristen and Rob go. I have come to expect the opposite where Taylor Lautner goes. In the film he plays proverbial third wheel Jacob Black. And just like Jacob is a better fit for Bella, Taylor is a better fit for the fans. He is nicer and much more patient and comfortable with his fame. In years past, the crowd he has drawn has been significantly smaller than his co-stars. This year? The line was over 50 people when we arrived and doubled to 100 before we were let in. It was so crowded in fact, that Taylor didn’t have time to get to everyone and we left empty handed. We of course had some back-up plans in place and got to meet Taylor later but still it was surprising. Now, all of this begs the bigger question. Where are the Twihards? How is it that a movie franchise that has made over a billion dollars and has created a level of fame that hinders Pattinson’s ability to leave his house is not drawing a bigger crowd as it draws to a close. I mean over the course of the eight Harry Potter films there were times the films were not huge in terms of press and attention. But, when the eighth and final film was released it was a firestorm.
When we walked out of the theater last November, I turned to my friends and said one more and we’re done. As I said that I imagined the media blitz Summit was planning. A primetime special about the film’s success, a look-back with former cast members and the inescapable presence of the film’s three stars with a massive crowd of people following their every move. Instead the film seems poised to go out with a whimper, not a bang. The three stars of the film are pretty much done with their television invasion. Robert’s on-screen siblings Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene have a few things coming up but nothing like the cast’s omnipresence of years past. Even Dana’s annual midnight release is drawing less people with many of our friends choosing to see it down the line. A peak at the box office receipts for the series shows they have been on a decline since “New Moon” so I wonder how this last go will fare. I guess I knew that regardless of what Edward told Bella, nothing could last forever. However, I did think that things could at least last until they ended.