By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
I was thinking about it the other day and it struck me that Twilight is, perhaps, the niche-iest phenomena ever.
I’m not discounting its existence. But it seems to me that those who care are insanely rabid – including Bryce Dallas Howard, whose talk show stories about her feeling about the books before she was case are a little scary – and those who are not have absolutely no connection to the material whatsoever. None.
Am I just projecting? It’s possible. Having seen the second film in a theater and bought the Blu-ray of the first film, I have less interest in this series than I do in, say, who is fighting who in WWE Wrestling this weekend.
When I saw the trailer for the last two Harry Potter movies and they referred to it as the movie event of a generation, I scratched my head a little. Really? And really, it may not be an overstatement. And The Twilight Saga is, it seems, the event of a generation of girls and part of a generation of women over 20.
The 30% difference, it seems to me, is all the people outside of the heavily-committed niches for both of these series, who are willing to be dragged along to the beautifully-made, pleasant Potter, but require before-and-after sexual favors or a sleeping pill or a lot of ice cream to get them in to see any Twilight film.
I know some object to my use of the word “niche” to describe a specific group that can power a film to $700m worldwide. But that is what it is. A movie might motivate as much as 10% of a niche, normally, in finding great success. But when a series like Twilight or a family film that seems to be overperforming can inspire its niche to a large percentage of participation, if drawing no one else, that is when you can get these massive numbers, disconnected utterly from the rest of society.
We had this discussion about whether this movie of that movie influences culture or not, whether The Dark Knight or Avatar. I would argue that both of those films found a much broader audience than Twilight… or Harry Potter, for that matter. And still, the question of being influential is still complicated.