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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

With a yearlong gap between films, 'Breaking Dawn' waits until dusk

August 3, 2010 |  1:25 pm

After releasing the first three movies in "The Twilight Saga" in a span of just 19 months, Summit will take its time with the franchise’s final two films. Plenty of time.

The studio announced this morning that the second installment of "Breaking Dawn" will follow the first one by a full year, coming out on Nov. 16, 2012. This despite the fact that Bill Condon is shooting the movies back-to-back beginning this fall, which would mean the second film would certainly be ready by the summer of 2012.

Breaking We were already a little perplexed that the first "Breaking Dawn" was being held for November 2011, putting nearly a 1-1/2 years between installments. With this announcement it's clear what Summit is thinking: Stick with the autumn and avoid the summer.

It may not be the worst move from a seasonal standpoint. Despite bringing out "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" in an expectation-laden summer, Summit has been able to gin up only marginally more business for the David Slade film than it did for the November release of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon." (Domestic grosses at a comparable point in the release cycle sit at $288 million, compared to $277 million for "New Moon.)

But in taking its time between the movies, Summit is increasing the risk that that fans will get distracted or lose some enthusiasm.

Warner Bros.' Harry Potter franchise was able to wait longer stretches between a few of its installments -- for much of the film series, a stream of new books kept the property front-of-mind. "Twilight" doesn't have that. It has to hope interest carries over between films all on its own, and that filmgoers don't outgrow it or move on to a new phenomenon in between.

The yearlong wait between the two "Breaking Dawn" films is even more striking because the two movies come from source material that was initially conceived as a whole. No matter where Condon and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg choose to split the book (spoiler alert: Bella's traumatic childbirth is a logical option), for filmgoers it will mean waiting a full year for what’s essentially the same story to pick up again.

With its bang-bang release of the first three “Twilight” films, Summit was initially perhaps a little too worried fans would age up or lose interest over time. With the more languid pacing for the final two, it's possible they may not be concerned enough.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: 'Breaking Dawn' book jacket. Credit: Little, Brown

Breaking Dawn will be broken up (and feature a very large cast)

Twilight won't dawn again until November 2011. Can fans handle the long layoff?

Bill Condon to Twihard Nation: I want you to want me

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Are the MTV Movie Awards self-defeating?

June 7, 2010 |  9:51 am

Last year we wondered whether the predictable populism of the MTV Movie Awards signaled a dark future for the Oscars, what with the latter show feeling the ratings heat and doubling its best-picture nominees. It hasn't (so far), but after Tivo-ing our way through this year's Summit-sponsored "Twilight" commercial -- er, MTV Movie Awards -- we can't help wondering something else: if the show fails even on its own blatantly commercial terms.

Sure, there will always be a YouTube-able moment or two, and the frequent swearing and requisite same-sex kisses (Jonah Hill and Russell Brand, Scarlett Johansson and Sandra Bullock), will keep the Parents Television Council busy for a while. And the revival of Les Grossman, as out of left field as it is, probably will achieve its not-so-hidden goal of unleavening Tom Cruise's image just as he gets set to release a big summer action comedy.

Yet at a certain point it's worth asking what all the shameless plugs and "Twilight" self-congratulation really achieves. We ask this not from a cultural standpont -- though, given how MTV once defined youth culture instead of merely holding up a mirror to it, there's a question to be asked there too -- but in regard to the show's own goals.

The more craven bits, far from selling the films, often just drew attention to how creatively bankrupt they really are. Is someone actually more likely to see "Grown-Ups" after watching Sandler, Spade et al. trot out their lukewarm shtick? (If they are, it's only because an hour later they saw Will Ferrell's "Other Guys" shtick and realized it could be worse.)

Last year, the show flogged such summer hopefuls as "Bruno" and "Land of the Lost," and we saw how much that helped. For all the unabashed marketing, the MTV Movie Awards doesn't seem to get many people to talk about movies. It's probably not an accident that the biggest conversation piece from last night wasn't about a film but about the frequent swearing.

When they weren't failing movies that may be doomed anyway, the plugs were redundant. There's probably no person whopping and hollering at the relentless "Twilight" nods and teases who wouldn't have seen "Eclipse" anyway. (And if MTV and/or studios are trying to show that the next generation is ready for their awards-show moment, they may want to try something else, unless you go for Kristen Stewart acceptance-speech gems like this one: "I guess I agree with you. Twilight is awesome. Woo.")

The few films that could benefit from a boost are the ones least likely to get it. You can almost sense Steve Carell's and Paul Rudd's reluctance at having to turn up to present so younger people will pay attention to "Dinner for Schmucks." They did put on their best game face, but a teen stampede to the box-office we will probably not see as a result of their appearance.

The Academy has long resisted turning it into a plug-fest for movies currently in theaters, for reasons of artistic integrity. But they may be doing those movies a favor. Even typical awards-show sentimentality -- like when Ken Jeong mentioned from the podium that his wife had survived breast cancer -- came off awkwardly.

The one moment that felt uncontrived and in the spirit of MTV's leading-not-following roots was when Rain won the Biggest Bad [Guy] award for "Ninja Assassin" over MTV perennials like Sam Worthington and Angelina Jolie. It passed quickly and unremarkably.

There's no ethical issue in making an awards show a celebration of commerce instead of art. (The Golden Globes does it pretty much every year.) But once you've decided you're going to turn a kudos program into a commercial bazaar, you may want to do a better job selling.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards. Credit: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

L.A. Film Festival to premiere 'Twilight: Eclipse' and open with 'The Kids Are All Right'

May 4, 2010 |  9:55 am

6a00d8341c630a53ef0133ece73c42970b-300wi Next month, the Los Angeles Film Festival will probably welcome a new contingent: throngs of screaming girls.

The annual event announced its lineup Tuesday morning, which will feature an invitation-only screening of “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” the long-awaited next installment in the popular vampire franchise.

The Los Angeles Times-sponsored festival -- which offers both specialty cinema and popcorn programming -- runs June 17-27, when more than 200 films, music videos and shorts from over 40 countries will screen (including 28 world, North American and U.S. premieres). This year, the event will move from its old stomping grounds in Westwood to downtown L.A., where many screenings will take place at L.A. Live.

Hot off of its buzz worthy Sundance run, Lisa Cholodenko’s quirky family comedy “The Kids Are All Right” will kick off the festival, which will close with Universal’s 3-D CGI film “Despicable Me.” Instead of a centerpiece film, the 16th annual festival will this year host a number of galas screenings that will include Sony Pictures Classics’ “Animal Kingdom”; Fox Searchlight’s “Cyrus,” starring Jonah Hill and John C. Reilly; “Mahler on the Couch”; and “Revolucion,” a series of short films by the likes of Gael Garcia Bernal and Rodrigo Garcia.

Check out the full line-up below the jump.

Continue reading »

Preview Review: 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' gives us ... more of the same

March 11, 2010 | 11:29 am

Eclipse_teaseronesheet A mere 24 hours ago, eager Twi-hards were given a scant 10 second look at the upcoming installment of the popular franchise, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse." This morning, Summit released the full trailer for the movie, which poses the serious question: Should Bella (played of course by Kristen Stewart) make the ultimate sacrifice and become a vampire for her one true love, Edward (Robert Pattinson)?

One of our main issues with the trailer is that if you're not already a big fan of the franchise, it's really hard to decipher what's going on. (You'd pretty much have to Google the back story to understand what all the tortured conflict is about.) So, we're not sure whether the trailer will be successful in luring non-"Twilight" fans into theaters -- not that they're needed to turn this into a mega-hit.

But on to the trailer. The footage begins with a sweeping view of the forests of Washington state, where Edward and Bella are embracing in a flower-filled field.

"I promise to love you every moment of forever," Edward tells Bella slowly, deliberately, earnestly.

But the lovers can't get too comfortable: The law-enforcing Volturi vampires, walking in slow-motion and donning hooded capes, are right on their tail. "She's still human," says pack leader Jane (Dakota Fanning) of Bella. "The Volturi don't give second chances," she goes on to tell a frightened looking Bella and Edward (the latter of whom has especially creepy-green vampire eyes).

Lying in bed, Bella asks Edward why he's "so against" her becoming a vampire. "I know the consequences of the choice you're making," he replies. Those repercussions include the death of her mother and father, whom Bella is shown embracing as Edward's voice-over says that "after a few decades, everyone you know will be dead." Bella's going to let her parents die to be with Edward? Seriously??!?

To add just a bit more dramatic tension to the whole affair, here comes Jacob (Taylor Lautner), wearing a tight black muscle tee, who tells Bella while holding her hands sincerely that unlike with Edward, she wouldn't have to change for him.

"I'm in love with you, and I want you to pick me instead of him," he says, as the orchestral score ramps up. (Has this guy really been anointed the next great actor by Hollywood development executives? All of his dialogue is delivered with such serious undertones, spoken at a turtle's pace and interspersed with breathy pauses.)

Next, a woman suddenly comes flying through the forest. It's Rachelle Lefevre -- we mean Bryce Dallas Howard -- playing evil vampire Victoria.

"Edward," Bella says, "she found us."

Don't worry, Bella, Edward will protect you. No! Matter! What! And Jacob is going to fight for her until "her heart stops beating." These guys obviously have a thing for pouty chicks -- even if we continue to be mystified, as we were with the first two films, as to why filmgoers see this as anything less than ridiculously cheesy.

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: The poster for the upcoming "Twilight" film. Credit: Summit Entertainment.

Preview review: 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' teaser

March 10, 2010 |  2:13 pm

Twilight We know the "Twilight" craze is huge, but somehow we were still shocked Wednesday when the Internet began buzzing about a new trailer for the highly anticipated upcoming installment in the "Twilight" series: "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse." We logged on to YouTube to see what all the fuss was about, and discovered a mere 10 coveted seconds from the film, out in June.

In the film, Bella (played, of course, by Kristen Stewart) must again choose between the love she has for hunky vampire Edward (Rob Pattinson) or her friendship for the newly buffed-up werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner).

The tiny clip emphasizes this eternal struggle well, beginning with Edward and Bella embracing in a flower-filled field. Cut to the embattled lovers lying face to face, as Edward tells Bella: "I know the consequences of the choice you're making." 

I know tweens love this stuff, but for anyone else, the dialogue comes across as painfully cheesy.

Then there's Jacob standing on the rocky cliffs above a forest, and he's -- gasp! -- shirtless. "I'm gonna fight for you, until your heart stops beating," he tells Bella, who speaks no words throughout the entire clip though conveys a world of emotion through the tortured angst resonating on her face.

It's a look similar to the one we saw on stage at the Oscars this past weekend, as Stewart presented a montage of horror films alongside Lauter, looking herself quite horrified.

Our real question is: Twi-hards, was this teaser really enough to hold you until the film comes out in June, or are you anxious for more? Vote in our poll.

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse." Credit: Summit Entertainment


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