Twilight has been more than kind to Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, but finding box office sunshine outside of the blockbuster franchise has been another matter--and becomes all the more important as the series winds down.
On paper, Pattinson's films—thanks to the two Harry Potter pics he starred in (Order of the Phoenix and Goblet of Fire)—have grossed the most at the worldwide box office, roughly $3.8 billion.
Stewart and Lautner's worldwide grosses hover at around $2.2 billion each. As with Pattinson, $1.8 billion of that comes from Summit Entertainment's first three Twilight pics. The fourth, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn--Part One, opens Nov. 18.
"In career terms Twilight was like a security blanket," British-born Pattinson told the U.K.'s The Observer, before correcting the statement. "Not a blanket — a safety net. I had a three- or four-month window between each one during which I could do another job. But whatever I did I knew that I'd have another Twilight movie on the way, which is theoretically guaranteed to make a lot of money. So I could always afford to fail."
This year, Pattinson and Lautner tried to break out of their Twilight personas at the box office, but the results were only so-so, prompting plenty of conversation about their abilities as leading men.
Only a year ago, Hollywood studios were hunting down the two actors, assuming that the hordes of young female fans would follow them regardless. Now, that theory is being questioned.
Water for Elephants, the 20th Century Fox film that paired Pattinson opposite Reese Witherspoon, did underwhelming business at the domestic box office, where it grossed $58.7 million. It has earned another $58.3 million overseas for a global total of $117.1 million.
More recently, Lautner's action film Abduction—his first solo outing--generated negative headlines when debuting to a meek $11.2 million in North America, well less than expected. One problem could have been that his ardent female fan base may not be so interested in action.
Abduction, from Lionsgate, has topped out at $27.4 million domestically. The bright note—it is doing far better overseas, where it has just crossed the $50 million mark, bringing the movie's worldwide total to north of $78 million.
Like Abduction, Pattinson's 2010 romantic indie drama Remember Me also found more love overseas, while disappointing in the U.S., where it earned $19.1 million, compared to $37 million internationally (the movie cost $16 million to produce, so wasn't a loss).
Stewart's next big box office test outside of Twilight will be Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman, which opens June 1, 2012. An edgy rendition of the classic fairy tale, the movie pairs the actress with Thor lead Chris Hemsworth.
Stewart has been in many movies than both Pattinson and Lautner, having been a child star who first appeared on the bigscreen in the 2002 box office hit Panic Room. That film, in which Stewart played the daughter of Jodie Foster's character, earned nearly $200 million worldwide.
Stewart's low-budget 2007 horror film The Messengers was also considered a success for its genre, grossing north of $53 million worldwide, including $35.4 million domestically.
But last year, indie pic The Runaways—featuring Stewart in the lead role as rocker Joan Jett—stumbled, grossing less than $5 million worldwide.
Aside from Snow White, Stewart also stars in Walter Salles' upcoming indie pic On the Road. Pattinson has two indie projects lined up, the historical drama Bel Ami, in which he stars opposite Uma Thurman, and David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis.
Among the other Twilight actors, Kellan Lutz is in theaters Nov. 4 in Relativity Media's action epic Immortals.
Anna Kendrick may be the most well known among the supporting Twilight set in terms of her box office resume, and is currently filming What to Expect When You're Expecting. She's starred in a string of films, including 50/50, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Up the Air, which won her widespread critical acclaim.
Watch this featurette for Breaking Dawn, Part 1 here: