Summit and Lionsgate Hoping for Sixth Twilight Movie, Of Course
File under "Duh": Summit and new overlords Lionsgate say they'd totally be interested in making a sixth Twilight movie, y'know, if author Stephenie Meyer is into it. I get it! It's hard to pass up another shot at making hundreds of millions of dollars, not to mention fortunes in merchandising. And it's not like we didn't see this coming; with a first trailer for Breaking Dawn Part 2 set to be attached to Lionsgate's Hunger Games in theaters next month, the studio's pushing hard to make the most of its newfound YA synergy. How can it not try and keep the Twilight cash train rolling?
Well, for starters, there's a very good reason that a sixth, post-Breaking Dawn Pts. 1 & 2 sequel hasn't been developed yet: With the exception of a supplemental novella (The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner) written to coincide with events of the third film, Eclipse, Meyer moved on to other properties like The Host, which is also being made into a film. A fifth Twilight novel, Midnight Sun, was once set to retell Twilight from Edward's point of view, but Meyer herself spiked it when portions of her manuscript leaked online. (Meyer then posted it here.) Ever since then she's kind of seemed done with writing more Twilight, even if the door has never been closed completely.
And with Meyer so intrinsically linked to the film franchise, a sixth Twilight film would necessarily have to involve Meyer writing a fifth story (her fourth and final Twilight novel, Breaking Dawn, was split into a two-part film adaptation, the second of which hits screens this year). But even if Meyer agrees to a fifth book and sixth film, the motivation of continuing an otherwise concluded series might seem terribly transparent, and opportunistic, to a fanbase that adores the author as much for her vampire fantasy as for her openness with them over the years. Would Twilight fans eat up another chapter of Bella Swan's life? Without a doubt, especially given the events that conclude the series in Breaking Dawn. But would it somehow cheapen the billion dollar franchise and the dedicated fandom that drives it?
The question becomes less about the studios chasing sequels and more about how much Meyer is willing to risk signing off on, and how much her fans will care about the integrity of the franchise if it means they get another Twilight book and film. For many, I'm sure, the series could happily go on forever, manga-style, until the end of time. But as much as Lionsgate could conceivably milk Twilight for years and years to come, I'd like to think Twi-hards, who've had to defend themselves from global scrutiny for years and have been gleefully marketed to and squeezed of cash by savvy suits ever since 2008, would draw the line at some point.
It's a debate that J.K. Rowling faces, too, now that the Harry Potter saga has ended, on page and screen. But just as Daniel Radcliffe and Co. are moving on with their careers, so too do the Twilight kids seem ready to spread their wings. The end, it's seemed for a while, is welcome in many regards. Their time with the franchise has been good -- and has made stars of them all, considering that even previously unknown actors like Ashley Greene, for example, are now fronting their own films -- but you get the feeling even the actors might dread another go-round (not to mention the fact that some of them are aging past the point of believable onscreen immortality).
And so there are new franchises ready to follow the Twilight pattern of success, which brings us to The Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins only wrote three novels in her dystopian bestseller series, and yet, as confirmed last summer, Lionsgate plans on making four films from the series. Unlike Breaking Dawn, which contained a fairly obvious plot break at which the story could be divided, the third Hunger Games book, Mockingjay, seems less conducive to being split into two parts. I'd rather see it all go down in one part, personally, but here Lionsgate's thinking is more conspicuous.
Now that Summit has been slurped up by Lionsgate, I'll be even less surprised if that cash-grabbing thought process is applied to Twilight. (Incidentally, Breaking Dawn Part 1 hits DVD and Blu-ray tonight.) Let's just hope someone up there shows some restraint, sooner or later, whether it's the suits, the stars, or Stephenie Meyer herself.