By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Two-quadrant New Moon also has shown that when female audiences support a film, it can absolutely dominate box office. New Moon was selling more than 10 online tickets per second before its opening and became No. 1 on the list of the Top 10 Advance Ticket Sellers of All Time, unseating the Batman, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings franchises.
Here’s how: Although Summit switched up directors from Catherine Hardwicke to Chris Weitz, it kept screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg and, of course, the principal cast — the permanently depressed heartthrobs Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart. And, always, the filmmakers pandered to the fans between the time that Twilight left theaters and New Moon began filming. When the New Moon trailer was released online, it scored 5.8 million views in the first 24 hours, demonstrating the fans’ pent-up demand. Right before the sequel was released, Summit marketed New Moon with a 15-city cast tour in shopping malls and NYC’s Times Square.
On opening night, anecdotal reports were streaming in to me about gargantuan lines at U.S. and Canada theaters crowded with female tweens, teens, their mothers and generally women over the age of 25. The Twi-Hards were playing Twilight trivia games, wearing Twilight T-shirts, reading Twilight saga novels, and even doing homework while on line in their Team Edward or Team Jacob sweatshirts and movie costumes.
Speaking of Team Jacob, Taylor Lautner is about to become Paramount’s next big action star. Incapable of original thought, the studio has hired the eight-pack-abs teenager for the lead in Max Steel. In fact, the Summit Entertainment folks predicted to me a year ago that the 17-year-old would end up in demand for this kind of role after he bulked up for New Moon. Based on the hugely successful Mattel property, which is an international best-seller, the movie will be a four-quadrant popcorn movie about a 19-year-old extreme-sports junkie recruited by a secret agency after an accident leaves his body with superhuman powers.
This is yet another big, young action star for the studio under Paramount Film Group president Adam Goodman, similar to the recent announcement that Chris Pine is attached to the Jack Ryan franchise by author Tom Clancy. Then there’s Shia LeBeouf, whom Goodman, as a DreamWorks exec, put in Disturbia, and Paramount cast in the Transformers franchise. Smart to start the youth movement — Sony Pics did that with Tobey Maguire and Spider-Man — not just because the young-uns can play the part for years, but even better, they won’t break a hip doing it.
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