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Will audiences ever want to see the 'Twilight' stars do anything else?

March 22, 2010 |  7:08 pm

If there's one actress who could push a "Behind the Music-"style docudrama about a 1970s all-girl band to the top of the box-office charts, it's Kristen Stewart.

So why couldn't she do it?

"The Runaways," Floria Sigismondi's biopic that, of course, stars Stewart as femme-punk icon Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning as her bandmate-rival-lover Cherie Currie, earned an extremely modest $800,000 in its opening weekend. For most limited releases, that number wouldn't be horrible. But the film opened on 244 screens, meaning it averaged a paltry $3,300 per screen. Given the die-hards (or Twi-hards) you'd expect would turn out for a Kristen Stewart debut, those numbers aren't impressive; in fact, they're a lot more punk than glam.

Pundits on Monday had plenty of reasons for the disappointing performance. Certainly the movie's R-rating hurt; younger Stewart fans might have bought tickets had they not been restricted from doing so by the MPAA. (Bob Berney, the head of distributor Apparition, noted that the rating "possibly ke[pt] some of the younger audience away.")

But there may be a deeper lesson here about Stewart: For all her acting versatility, when she strays from her "Twilight" wheelhouse, the fans don't roll with her. That was, after all, also the message some experts gleaned from her first post-"Twilight" movie, "Adventureland," which grossed just $16 million domestically despite getting some marketing play as a Stewart vehicle (and not three months after "Twilight" blew off the box-office doors). It's a lesson that's especially pointed with "Runaways" because Stewart, in inhabiting the role of Joan Jett, is in many ways picking up where Bella Swan left off. She's playing the moody rebel in both, yet fans apparently only want to see her playing a certain kind of moody rebel.

A similar point could be inferred from Stewart's "Twilight' co-star Robert Pattinson, who just last week released his first mainstream movie in which he doesn't play a vampire. With the romantic drama "Remember Me," Pattinson was taking on a genre even more difficult than period music-themed biopics, but, like Stewart, was also echoing parts of his "Twilight" performance (the tortured-lover part).

That should have locked up a chunk of his fan base.  But the movie wound up grossing $14 million in its first two weeks -- a (slightly) more impressive number than "Runaways" until you realize it opened on more than 2,000 screens. Its per-screen opening of $3,600, it turns out, mirrors Stewart's own lackluster weekend.

Stewart's and Pattinson's careers are evolving, and both will probably take on a lot more roles by the time all is said and done. It's also worth pointing out that neither saw their recent releases get the full marketing press -- Apparition is an indie label, and Summit, despite some TV and outdoor spending, chose its spots carefully on the lower-budget drama.

Still, the conventional wisdom is that "Twilight" marks the kind of all-consuming phenomenon that can mint stars who, with their reputations solidified, then stalk off to other movies and take their audiences with them. But the last two weeks prove otherwise.

Which brings us to the third leg in the "Twilight" tripod: Taylor Lautner, arguably as hot now as Pattinson was after the first film (if not hotter), has over the past few months booked more movies than a groupie takes cellphone pictures; he's signed on for action-adventures such as Paramount's "Stretch Armstrong" and Lionsgate's "Bourne"-like "Abduction."

Those movies sit in a far more commercial realm, but if Lautner is equally ill-equipped to bring his "Twilight" fan base within him, the career damage could run deeper. It's one thing to take on a small romantic drama with Emilie de Ravin and go out meekly -- it's another to take on a big-budget franchise based on a Hasbro action figure. Suddenly splitting that last "Twilight" movie into two doesn't seem like such a bad career move.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: New Moon.'"Credit: Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment

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I've seen Remember me 3 times and have plans to go and see it more with friends. It's an incredible movie, but it is a dark drama, not a cheesy romance flick. What brought Rob, Pierce, Emile, and Chris to their roles is the script. It was something they loved and believed in, not something they thought was going to be a huge commercial success. It is an independent film, not one destined to be a big blockbuster.

I'm a 36 year old Twilight fan, but I'm also a Robert Pattinson fan and I will definatly check out any movie he is in. I may not agree with all his choices for roles, but I love that he takes chances and is more interested in making a good film and expanding his talent, than making films that are only marketed as blockbusters.

As to The Runaways it is not playing anywhere near me to April 9th, so I haven't had the opportunity to see it yet. Seems a bit premature to talk about a movie's box office before it has even had time to be everywhere. I'm looking forward to seeing this, I love the trailers. I also know alot of guys that are looking forward to seeing this as well! But lets face it, it's rated R and though a lot of the Twilight fanbase is older, there is a huge chunk who will not be able to see this film. And seriously should the media christen it a failure because of that, heck no. Kristen is a brilliant actor as well, and she is known for taking chances. She herself will tell you Twilight is the first film she's done where people actually saw it. Myself I'm happy she's still choosing roles that appeal to her, no matter the budget or expectations.

Who wants to see another cookie cutter movie, or see an actor portray a role that is the same kind each time? Rob and Kristen aren't afraid to take risks, and I applaud them for it!

I am a Twilight fan and a huge Kristen Stewart fan yet I am way beyond my tween years. I have enjoyed Kristen's movies. She portayed a rape victim with hearfelt emotion in Speak, she was amazing in The Cake Eaters and she was able to come across as wounded in Adventureland. The Runaways should have opened nationwide and can't understand why it didn't. I had been looking forward to seeing this movie with a number of friends because we all remember Joan Jett in the Runaways. From the clips, Kristen was amazing. So why can't everyone see the movie? It seems like the industry itself is attempting to keep Kristen down. It is evident that the media does not like this young actress because she can actually think for herself, stays true to herself and wants to keep her private life private. Perhaps what she needs is a good role with a great director and big name actors to break out of Twilight. She had a career before Twilight so let her move on past that.

I think it signals the Post-Star era. I'm a Twilight fan and I love everybody in the roles they play, but I'm more into the story itself. In fact, that's mainly why I like the movies. I'd probably be happy with anyone in those roles who would serve the story.

I pushed the critics 70% out of hundred type results out of the way and watched "Remember Me", it turned out to be an amazing film. The actors are phenomenal and I was lost in the story within minutes. It really humanizes a part of our history and to think I was only going to see Robert Pattinson in a hot sex scene? I do understand why both "Remember Me" and "The Runaways" are having such a hard time at the box office. They are indi-films competing with money making machines, for example, Alice In Wonderland. I have not been to see "The Runaways" yet, but I really encourage everyone to see "Remember Me" before it is out of theaters, it really is a fantastic film.

I saw "The Runaways" over the weekend and I thought it was well-made overall, but had potential to be a lot better with more character development and a greater focus on Joan Jett instead of Cherie Currie. I was surprised, however, when I went to my internship at an alternative rock radio station (where everyone is a music nerd) on Monday and I was the only one who saw the movie. When I told people that I saw "The Runaways" the first question most people asked was 'How was Kristen Stewart in it?' I told them I thought that she was actually pretty good in it and that the role was perfect for her. However, when I said this it surprised almost everyone I told (and these are college age to early forties people) because most of them don't regard Kristen Stewart as a good actress because of the "Twilight" series, regardless if they like Twilight or not. So unfortunately for Stewart, the people actually interested in seeing this movie are not drawn in by her name, and are possibly even deterred by it. Also, "The Runaways" as others have pointed out was an indie movie about a band almost no one has heard of, which does not give it a broad based commercial appeal. Overall, with the combination of these two factors, it doesn't surprise me that her name alone doesn't draw in big box office numbers.

I am a Twilight fan (31 yrs old). I have seen Remember Me twice and saw The Runaways over the weekend (and I wouldn't be opposed to seeing it again). However, most Twilight fans are teenagers and cannot see The Runaways because it's rated R. Also, many teens might not have any desire to see a movie about a 1970's all-girl band. In addition, both of these movies are independent films - not mass-produced, mass-marketed movies. The Runaways isn't even in wide-release until April. The bigger test will come when/if they do a major Hollywood picture. Perhaps Jackson Rathbone in The Last Airbender will be a better movie to judge this theory by, but then again, he is not one of the "big three" of the Twilight series. I'm not saying you don't have a point here, it's just not an across-the-board thing (I am the perfect example) and there are many extenuating circumstances.

I am a sucker for a good movie, especially when it has a storyline that is different and interesting. I have enjoyed all of Stewart's indie films. I loved the cake eaters, fierce people, into the wild, adventureland, speak...these are all fantastic movies, not blockbusters, but nonetheless brilliant. If she is in a movie, I can bet I will enjoy it. The runaways is not a new story...fame, music, drugs, etc. This story has been told before, yet I will see it because I know that if she is in it, it will be good...seriously, I haven't been disappointed as of yet. As a side, good actors do not always choose great roles...the WORST movie I have seen "must love dogs" has two of my favorite actors in it- John Cusack and Diane Lane...but I couldn't finish it and was so mad that I actually returned it to the movie rental place and requested and received a full refund (I have never returned a rented movie like that before!) If you go to box office mojo, they give you the earnings and production costs of any movie...this movie earned a respectable $5,131 on average per theater and everything about it SUCKED...the runaways, with it's limited release, is at $3,300. So, I won't be letting the popularity of the film decide whether or not I will seeing it. To Stewart I say, keep choosing to make fantastic films...some of us actually care about quality.

If I did not have to drive 120 miles to see The Runaways I would be the first one in line. I drove to 120 miles to see Remember Me and loved it. But I can't do that every day. I wish our threaters here had The Runaways and Remember Me , which I would see over and over again. I will be buying the DVD's also. Love them...

Frankly the Twilight movies were not that good.The script was poorly written and the actors are not good actors. Sad to say because the books were beautifully written.I've read all of them multiple times and was a huge fan way before there was such a thing as Twihards or whatever cute names they've come up with. Do believe Stephenie went a little to sci-fy in Breaking Dawn. Felt too much like her non twight light book. Some things are better left on the pages and not on the big screen.These movies and actors cannot do the books justice.

No need to shove Lautner in with the other two. You don't know that he's going to flop.

Taylor Lautner had kid fans before Twilight, I know because I took my kids to see him. Yeah! Plus I believe he has a lot of older fans....duh! I maybe the only honest parent in the world to admit it, who would buy their kids ticket to see him no matter what the ratings are, because well I just like him and because most of his fans are more diversed and don't read books. I like Kristen but I didn't see her movie because, no disrepect, who's Jett Jon? and I didn't see Rob's movie cause(smile) am Team Jacob of course.

It's unreasonable to expect limited release and/or adult oriented indie films (Remember Me & Runaways) to have the same kind of draw that a widely released children's fantasy film has (Twilight). Everyone knows that movies made for teens/kids do very well at the box office. It's like the critic has nothing else to say so he writes something justs to create conversation. Runaways is a fun movie; I bet TV commercials would be running every minute and the film would have had a wider release if its subject- matter wasn't so controversial to mainstream audiences --- Let's face it, America's still homophobic and struggling with Don't Ask Don't Tell!!! Pattison's movie, a heterosexual romance featuring a male lead is politically a safer movie to promote and/or see in the theater.

I have seen both Remember Me and The Runaways. Liked them both.
I have to say that The Runaways will do much better in box office than Remember Me. It is a much engaging movie and actually one that the total-non-Twilight (non-Pattinson, non-Stewart) movie goers are more likely to see because of its theme - Rock and Roll music, drugs/addiction recovery, etc. It is movie that movie goers with interest in Rock and Roll will see, period, no matter who the actors/actress are.

BUT REMEMBER ME was a good film and I liked it not because of the film, but because of Robert Pattinson and Emilie Ravin. Based on Pattinson's screen presence, I would agree that it would greatly sadden me to see his career end with just Twilight and a couple of films . . . he is simply magnetic on screen. I often laugh off people who say I went to see the movie two times. But in retrospect, now I know why. When I went to see Remember Me, I remember (LOL) that I was just watching Robert Pattinson, not the movie, and actually think that he pulled me along the story line. He was that magnetic on screen. Thus, I am looking forward to Robert Pattinson on Bel Ami and Water for Elephants, and any of his movies after that (nooo, not Twilight Saga, too teeny-bopper for me, saw Twilight on DVD though and that's where Robert Pattinson got my attention; always liked Kristen based on her earlier movies.)

Although Remember Me did not do well in box office earnings beyond what was expected, I am glad Pattinson made this movie because if it comes on DVD and then on TV where both Twi and non-Twi fans get to see him as non-Edward, they will realize how good of an actor he is and how fantastic he is on screen, his movies will potentially pick up more and more audience.

My husband is in his late fifties (I'm just a tad younger). My husband has a distaste for teen-aged, pop-culture hoopla (we have no teen-aged children or grand-children). We went to see Remember Me and my husband is now a Robert Pattinson fan. He said, "Hollywood needs more kids like that. Good for him." We plan on going to see his future films on opening week-ends. So, whatever anyone's gripes are, Robert Pattinson grew his fan base by, at least, two with Remember Me. And, by the way, also extended his demographics into middle-aged professionals. We also told all our like-minded (like-aged) friends that the movie was wonderfully done and Pattinson should be watched.

Having seen both movies, I believe that The Runaways will certainly runaway from Remember Me in box office earnings -- it will do much much better. Why? Dakota Fanning! Don't get me wrong, Kristen Stewart is fantastic in this film (and has always been fantastic in all her role), but Dakota Fanning is not getting her due respect for her portrayal of Cherie Currie. Her role is much mor challenging that than of Kristen's Joan Jett, if not as compelling. I think both men and women alike who are Twilight-aware or not-Twilight-aware will see this movie just because of what the movie is all about. Moreover, it got fantastic reviews.

Whereas, Remember Me was purely Robert Pattinson campaigned movie. Sure, he was trying very hard to sell the story, but unfortunately for him, the story is not that much something to be desired. Then the critics poured in bad reviews (no mercy almost, it was hilarious really because the movie was not bad, it was a good movie and an excellent Pattinson).
Granted the movie is making very modest money (which is in odds with his mob-ability and polularity), Robert Pattinson made good of himself in this movie, and I am quite impressed. He should persist on doing this type (he is only 24) until men and women alike get to recognize that he is more than gorgeous hair and vampire Edward.
I also think one of the reasons movie audiences stayed away from Remember Me is because of his image -- it is just not good. These photos of him being ushered around by bodyguards like he is drunken child was just bad, if I did not know any better (i.e. his interviews have substance and he is quite funny and does not act nor dress like he wants to be adored or worshipped), I would be turned off.
But, he is very watchable on screen, good actor in Remember Me, and Bel Ami is something to look forward to.

The Runaways is a badass movies about badass rock chicks living a seriously hardcore life. What's wrong with this? Not one single twilight fan is old enough to get into the theatre to watch The Runaways. Kristen and Dakota couldn't have strayed further from Twilight (unless they did a porno). A completely new fan base was needed for The Runaways and I think it will pay off in the end. Why? 1. The film was low budget, meaning that it can't help but make a substantial profit. 2. A whole new audience is being able to see Kristen without having to put up with Twilight and this ridiculous Robsten crap. 3. If Panic Room wasn't enough to convince you of her acting ability then her coke snorting, guitar-shredding, wasted, womanizing protrayal of Joan Jett will definitely turn you into a fan.

Get me a break---most of the stars in this series has already been in other films; to some of them the TS was a stepping stone but for someone like KS it is just another movie to make; I am totally for Team Bella!!!!

Robert and Kristen need to make themselves interesting to more than Twilight fans. I was in a screening of the Young Victoria, and the audience laughed when a Runaways preview came up. They associate Kristen Stewart too much with the crappily written Twilight movies their children are watching, and with whiny little Bella Swan. Kristen bumbling through interviews when she's asked about her private life, and racing down red carpets to avoid the press at premieres isn't cutting it. She needs to go out there and create a confident, independent persona.

Otherwise, Robert and Kristen need to do something other than artsy, indie movies, so that they continue to appeal to their Twilight base, many of whom are in middle school or high school. Maybe, Rob's movie should've happened on a high school, rather than a college campus, so that it would be relatable to your average fourteen year old girl. Maybe Kristen should've left edge out of the Runaways, and made it more of a commercial, girl-power with rock stars movie for teens with someone teens will remember. People who remember Joan Jett in her heyday would be in their forties or fifties by now, not their teens. I'm thirty-five and I was too young to remember Joan Jett at all.

Rob and Kristen seem like their professional hearts and energy lie in the indie film industry. They seem like indie lovers who just happened on an indie movie that became a phenomenon. In that case, they may disappear into art house obscurity when the Twilight saga finishes, but may be happier actors because they didn't sell out in order to remain famous. Also, Robert and Kristen like their privacy, so art house obscurity may make them personally happier because the paparazzi will leave them alone after Breaking Dawn hits $5 DVD bin at Wal-Mart.

I ended up fast forwarding through New Moon. YAWN! I didn't particularly care for Stewart's acting methods (biting her lip and nails constantly). It was well shot (beautiful!) and that has nothing to do with the acting.
No matter how hyped any of these "kids" are, I still see no acting potential/ future for any of them except for maybe Pattinson if he starts to step out of his wierd moody-emo roles.
And so far to date Pattison's film barely made over its budget. And Stewart's "Runaways" has gross around $3 M (with a $10M budget)= Flop, only DVD sales can save these actors!


Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart can't act, Taylor can. Kristen has had so many flops: Adventureland, The Yellow Hankerchief and The Runaways. Robert did not do well domestically with Remember Me and I think Bel Ami and Water for Elephants are going to flop as well! While Taylor keeps getting better movies and I'm not team Jacob, believe me I'm to old! I have noticed that Taylor is much better looking than Robert, he's in better shape and a much happier person!

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