Twilight Franchise Won’t Cuddle up Like Cocoon and Close up Shop

Producers of “Breaking Dawn Part 2” are treading the promotional line, especially when you see ads everywhere promoting next week’s release as “Twilight’s” final chapter.

Well, I’m suggesting that you cover your ears when you hear that nonsense. In fact, you might as well cover eyes two when you see the deception. No business, in today’s economy, that possesses a goldmine franchise like Twilight won’t cuddle up like a cocoon and close up shop. That’s just not how things work.

Certainly, you realize what the franchise has at stake. The question of whether producers of the series will continue through to the next installment is not a series question simply because it’s a matter of math.

I’m not asking you to take my word for it. If this has bugged you as much as it has troubled my intellect, the only way it can be settled once and for all is by taking a look at the math because ratings, just like numbers don’t lie.

Perhaps a better way of understanding what the numbers indicate is by simply reflecting upon the television ratings charted over the last 20 to 30 years. Television rating for any given series almost always produces two types of finales: a season finale, indicating the last episode in a given series season; and a series finale, which represents the final episode of the final season of the series. Now we can take the “Twilight” series’ finale installment, “Breaking Dawn Part 2” and analyze its projected value with a little common sense.

In comparison to the “Twilight” series, “Breaking Dawn Part 2” has been promoted as the last episode or installment of the series; implying that the film represents “Twilight’s” finale.

Historically speaking, series finales have over the years yielded some very impressive revenue returns compared to earlier installments. This is especially true for a series that enjoys above average popularity.

According to the Wikipedia website, the 1983 television series finale of M*A*S*H, drew significantly more viewers than any of its previous episodes.

The result of increased viewers translates into increased income. The math just doesn’t lie. Keep this in mind when we begin to look closely at the numbers surrounding “Twilight.”

The 1977 finale of the T.V. mini-series, “Roots” received a rating score so high that it took three years before it was surpassed.

In 1967, an ABC show called “The Fugitive” aired its final episode, and received twice as many viewers than any of its previous installments.

Perhaps you’re wondering if finales produce the same kind of audience increases in the 21st century as they enjoyed in the 20th. The answer to that question is a resounding yes. Numbers, no matter what time period under consideration, simply don’t lie.

In 2009, the NBC series finale of ER’s saw its highest ratings ever. “The Sopranos’” last episode enjoyed it highest ratings in their series finale, which aired in 2007.

Hannah Montana’s 2011 finale, which aired on the Disney Channel, still holds the ratings record for that network.

The CBS television series called “Dallas,” aired an episode in 1980, titled “Who Done It?” aka “Who shot J.R.?” The episode was neither a season finale nor was it a series finale; nevertheless it attracted one of the largest audiences in television history. The reason “Dallas’” “Who shot J.R.?” installment enjoy such epic success is because it appealed to its audience’s natural curiosity appetites. But there is one more element that the “Dallas” episode, “Who shot J.R.?” has in common with “Twilight’s” “Breaking Dawn Part 2.” It’s in the chatter, the conversation between movie goers that exponentially increases as anticipation is fueled.

The “Dallas” series aired before the age of social media websites, nevertheless, it managed to connect to people’s curiosity appetites. That’s what every franchise series attempts to do, because once you’re able to tap in on people’s curiosity, word of mouth, as you socially interact, will always find fertile ground on a social level.

“Breaking Dawn Part 2″ has, for more than a year, operated in the fertile territory of social media. With talk of next week’s final “Twilight” chapter, it’s not surprising for the number of people weighing in on the debate to increase, subsequently increasing movie goers anticipation.

“Breaking Dawn” contains all of the ingredients previously discussed to maximize audience turnout. First, it’s a popular series; Second, the war unfolding between the governing Volturi and the Collin clan, supplies the final installment with the fuel needed to stimulate curiosity and maximize its viral potential. Third, the franchise has stressed the idea that this is the finale, which can potentially send box office receipts through the roof. The combination of these elements practically guarantees the studio will enjoy much greater success than previous films; and it’s quite feasible “Breaking Dawn Part 2″ will supersede all expectations.

From this given analysis, it appears that “Breaking Dawn Part 2” is poised to go out with a boom; financial boom that is. I can see how calling it the final installment of the franchise series can enhance its revenue potential. However, with such a promising future, I believe that
there is no way franchise execs will allow “Breaking Dawn” to be its final “Twilight” film. So I’m going to go out on a lime and proclaim that this film is not Twilight’s Last Act. But you don’t have to believe me; just consider what the principle people involved with the project are saying in the following analysis.

On paper, the franchise is one of the most successful in history, grossing $2.5 billion with the release of the first four installments. “Breaking Dawn Part 2” is expected to gross at least $700 million, which will put the franchises gross revenues well above $3 billion. These numbers are solidly above the average of most “Block Buster” revenue receipts. Consequently, the “Twilight” franchise is extremely important to the financial health and growth of its parent company; Lionsgate/Summit However, the franchise has one very interesting problem. They’ve run out of books to adapt.

With $700 million on the line, and no book to adapt, “Twilight” producers own an extremely valuable product that presently lacks ongoing value.

There is no way anybody can tell me that will a franchise this valuable, its company execs are going to allow such a minor problem as not having a book to adapt prevent them from profits in the $100s of millions of dollars.

The whole scenario is a non-starter because a book and screenplays on caliber of “Breaking Dawn” would cost no more than approximately $50 million; at least that’s the price tag the franchise paid Stephanie Meyer, the story’s creator.

While we’re on the subject, Meyer recently went on the record at a press conference, telling a room full of reporter that she does indeed plan to write another book in the series; “I had planned out where it would go for a couple more books,” she said. “So I know exactly what would happen. … There are other characters that I think would have a lot of voice in those coming stories.”

Meyer’s comments came as recent as Friday, Nov. 2, 2012.

“Breaking Dawn Part 2” director Bill Condon says he hopes to continue the series, even if there are no books left to adapt. Condon told “tribune.com.pk” “We are contemplating about continuing the series even though there are no books to adapt to.”

Last month, moviecultists.com reported that Lionsgate/Summit has plans to keep milking that “Twilight” cash-cow long after the end-credits for “The Twilight Saga:” Breaking Dawn, Part 2”

With the final edition “Breaking Dawn Part 2,″ scheduled for released into the U.S. market on November 16, 2012, Condon predicts the movie is certain to break box office records. Billing it as the final edition of a five series saga will only accelerate box office sales, driving up the franchises value.

More than anything else, the January 13, 2012, Summit purchase by Lions Gate Entertainment Co. for 412.5 million in cash and stock united Hollywood’s largest independent studios and pretty much guaranteed that the Twilight Saga would quickly move forward with additional installments. The franchise unquestionably knew this last January, when National Post reported that Lions Gate’s chief executive, Jon Feltheimer said that the franchise will likely continue past the last book of the series. All Feltheimer was really admitting is that his company has a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits, and when you have a cash-cow like the “Twilight” franchise the responsible thing to do is to continue making money.

After all, statistics indicate that the saga enjoys a growing audience that spans across a large demographic network, which includes an unusually broad age demographic; that quality is rare among most franchises.

Moreover, a result of last summer controversy involving Kristen Stewart, producers will almost certainly write the 22-year-old actress out of any future scripts.

The decision to move on without Stewart might lead franchise producers and writers to build upon the so-called final installment and restructure the series around Edward and Bella’s daughter Renesmee. The logic here seems quite reasonable, especially since “Breaking Dawn Part 2″ is primarily about saving Renesmee from the wrath of Volturi, the ancient vampire council.

The finale installment comes down to a showdown between Edward’s family, with all the international vampires he can recruit, allied with Jacob’s pack of wolves, against the ruling vampire council.

No longer is the story about the love between Edward and Bella as it attempts to reflect; good against evil.

It’s an interesting turnabout from typical vampire movies, especially when vampires and werewolves are on the side of good.

Depending on how “Breaking Dawn Part 2” ends, I imagine that there are a number of directions for the next installment to improve upon. But make no mistake; there will be a next installment. And “Twilight” producers should have known that nobody’s buying their advertised announcement that this is the finale.

In fact, I’m not sure they even needed to use such a marketing blow to exponentially grow their audience base. Do they need somebody to tell them that everyone wants to see a growing Renesmee; and everyone wants to know how Jacob’s relationship with Renesmee is going to turn out? Will it be a romantic or platonic relationship?

And audiences are interested in the Collins war with the vampire council. Will the Volturi be completely destroyed? Will any of Jacob’s family in the wolf-pack be killed?

Good and evil are two timeless elements found in just about any movie or story you see. So as far as a lack of content material to fashion another “Twilight” movie, that argument can’t pass the smell test. Nevertheless, what really matters are the number, which for this movie the prediction are off the charts. If that’s the case, what producer in their right mind, would stand with a “pat hand” and refuse to produce a sure bet. Remember, it’s a good chance that the turnout for this movie will reach beyond all expectations, and if it does, you do the math.

So when it comes to the Twilight Franchise all I need to do is stick with the numbers, because believe it or not, the shop, where they make their movies at, is going to stay open.

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