“Breaking Dawn Part 2” Finale Not Twilight’s Last Act

There are plenty of studios that would trade half of their inventory to get their hands a franchises as promising as Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight. That’s why it was so difficult, at first, for me to understand their decision to make “Breaking Dawn Part 2” the franchise’s final installment.

Certainly, there are some obvious reasons to publicly announce the final installment of a popular film series. I imagine that it’s fairly similar to a University’s announcement of the last year in which a popular class will be taught. Most academic institutions will tell you that enrollment into that class was exponentially higher than previous years.

Perhaps a better example supporting this argument is reflected in television ratings. T.V. series’ typically produce 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. For example, Jersey shore is in its sixth and final season of the series. MTV will no longer film new episodes of the popular cable series, therefore, once the sixth season is over, viewer can only expect to see reruns from seasons one through six. 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 increases compared to their 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 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.

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 the “twilight’s” “Breaking Dawn Part 2.” It’s the chatter, the conversation between movie goers that exponentially increases while fueling anticipation. The “Dallas” series was before we had social media websites, nevertheless, it displayed viral like characteristics because it was able 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 social interaction will always find fertile ground on a social level. “Breaking Dawn Part 2” has, for more than a year, operated in the fertile ground of social media. And with talk of next week’s release perhaps being the last installment, has only expanded the number of people weighing in on the debate.

“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?

But perhaps what I will be most looking for is the story line that the next Twilight installment will pivot from. That’s an observation we all can make because with a franchise that has enjoyed the kind of monumental success as this series would have to be crazy to shut is all down. It just defies all logic. And so I have concluded that there is no way producers will make “Breaking Dawn Part 2” the final act of the Twilight saga.

Until November 16th, have an amazing experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.