Werewolf love triangles? Sexy zombies? Hollywood has tried — and, so far, failed — to find a box-office successor to the Twilight franchise
The fifth and final Twilight film, Breaking Dawn: Part 2, arrives in theaters today, bringing a glorious age of hunky werewolves and sparkly vampires to a close. For the past five years, the Twilight franchise has drawn hordes of devoted tweens to movie theaters and fans are hungry for the next great paranormal romance. But if Hollywood has found itself without a clear successor to the franchise, it's not through lack of trying. Here, 5 shameless attempts to make the next Twilight:
1. I Am Number Four (2011)
I Am Number Four stars Alex Pettyfer as a broody romantic who bears more than a passing resemblance to Twilight's Edward Cullen — but he's not a vampire; he's an alien, with psychic powers and a fellow student/love interest to protect. Critics weren't fooled by the switch. "I Am Number Four is Twilight-lite," says Cynthia Fuchs at PopMatters, offering a star-crossed love story between an extraterrestrial and a human that is "plainly borrowed from Twilight." Weak reviews and a disappointing domestic gross seem to have prematurely ended the franchise; though two more novels in the young-adult series have been published, there are currently no plans to film a sequel.
2. Beastly (2011)
Critics were even less kind to Beastly — the second Alex Pettyfer-starring film to attempt to ride Twilight's coattails, which arrived in theaters just a month after I Am Number Four. Pettyfer plays a handsome, arrogant high schooler cursed by a witch to be ugly forever (read: bald and tattooed) if he can't find true romance within a year. Would potential love interest Vanessa Hudgens recognize his inner beauty in time? The vast majority of filmgoers didn't care. The film made a desperate (and, ultimately, failed) appeal to Twilight fans with an undercooked love story that was "about as subtle as a baseball bat," says Joanna Berry at The National.
3. Red Riding Hood (2011)
In the wake of two failed Twilight knock-offs, Red Riding Hood had a trick up its sleeve: Director Catherine Hardwicke, who had helmed the original Twilight film. The movie recasts the fairy tale as a teen-oriented romantic drama, with Amanda Seyfried's Red Riding Hood trying to decide between two chiseled, potentially dangerous love interests. This is a naked, cynical attempt to out-Twilight Twilight, said Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times. "Hey! Let's switch the vampires with a werewolf and recycle the theme of a virgin attracted to a handsome but dangerous hunk, only let's get two hunks!" Audiences weren't fooled.
4. Warm Bodies (2013)
If aliens, beasts, and werewolves couldn't draw the paranormal romance-hungry Twilight audience, what about zombies? The upcoming Warm Bodies, which hails from Twilight's production studio Summit Entertainment, stars Nicholas Hoult as R, a zombie who falls in love with a human girl (Teresa Palmer) after eating the brain of her former boyfriend. "Are sexy zombies the new sexy vampires?" asks Hillary Busis at Entertainment Weekly. Audiences can decide for themselves in February 2013.
5. The Host (2013)
Not even Twilight creator Stephenie Meyer could resist the allure of creating "the next Twilight." The big-screen adaptation of The Host, a 2008 novel she wrote after the final Twilight book had been published, is due in March 2013. The film follows Saoirse Ronan's Melanie Stryder as a young woman separated from her love when a body-snatching alien takes over her body. If you're worried that the end of Twilight "means that there won’t be any more movies about lovesick teenagers with superpowers and glowing eyes," look no further than The Host, says Darren Franich at Entertainment Weekly.
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