Farewell, "Twilight." After four years, and five movies, there are (until the inevitable reboot/spin-off/extra sequel) no longer any movies in the super-popular Stephenie Meyer-penned vampire franchise to look forward to/dread. The final movie, "Breaking Dawn Pt. 2" (our review here) is in theaters, doing the usual blockbuster numbers, but for the near future at least, that's it.
Which means many things, but among them, that there's a big fat space in the hearts of the nation's teenagers and moms for a new franchise. Ever since the first film hit it big in 2008, studio executives have been snapping up young adult novels in the hope of hitting the same vein, but, aside from "The Hunger Games" the handful of attempts that have hit theaters so far, like "Beastly" and "I Am Number Four," mostly disappeared without a trace, and not just because they starred Alex Pettyfer. But now that space has opened up, expect the floodgates to burst apart, with 2013, and beyond, containing a number of contenders to replace "Twilight."
So who else the potential to live up to the box office power of Edward and Bella? And which ones will be consigned to the bargain bin of history alongside "The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising" and "Red Riding Hood"? We've rounded up some of the more immediate contenders, and their odds, below. And as always, you can let us know your own thoughts in the comments section.
The Pitch: After a zombie uprising, one member of the undead, R (Nicholas Hoult) falls for, and saves, a human survivor (Teresa Palmer), who turns out to be the daughter of the leader of the anti-zombie army (John Malkovich).
What Are Its Chances? Of becoming a "Twilight"-style phenomenon? Not great. Of succeeding in its own right? Much better. The "Twilight"-with-zombies comparison has followed "Warm Bodies" around since its inception, but the first trailer recently revealed the film to be seemingly quite a different beast; closer to a hybrid of "Shaun Of The Dead" and "Perks Of Being A Wallflower." With a proper sense of humor, a very appealing cast that also includes Dave Franco, Analeigh Tipton and Rob Corddry, and a semi-relatable premise, it actually looks kind of fun, which is more than we can say for most of these films. But there's something icky about the premise in a way that wasn't true of the brooding Stephenie Meyer bloodsuckers, and we can see the key young female audience being turned off by that, and by a dark, more action-heavy approach. Plus this sort of horror/comedy/romance has a tone that's tricky to pull off, and while Jonathan Levine has been relatively adept at juggling that sort of thing in the past, this is his trickiest gig yet. Then again, "Zombieland" was a sizable hit, so there's hope, just not necessarily with the Twihards.
When? February 1st, 2013
The Pitch: Two teens in the Deep South are drawn together by a strange connection and supernatural secrets.
What Are Its Chances? Moderate. The trailers look reasonably appealing, it looks well-shot, with plenty of effects, and with a cast that mixes Oscar-favorites (Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson, Viola Davis) and appealing newcomers (Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert). The Southern gothic vibe brings something a little different to the table (and lord knows that's proved popular with "True Blood"), and with "The Fisher King" writer Richard LaGravanese at the helm, there's a chance it could be halfway decent. Plus the forbidden love idea is always popular with the kids. But the premise doesn't have the immediate grab of "Twilight" -- are they witches? Demons? We're still not entirely sure what the thing's actually about -- and with a February date right up against Nicholas Sparks adaptation "Safe Haven," it could end up faltering at the first.
When? February 13th, 2013
The Pitch: In a world overrun by body-snatching aliens, a young girl in love (Saoirse Ronan) becomes possessed, but her soul still survives, living side-by-side with the alien presence.
What Are Its Chances? Well, "The Host" has one great advantage, in that it's based on source material by Stephenie Meyer, the author of "Twilight," which automatically places it a rung or two above the competition. And much of what made that series such a success is present in "The Host": a love triangle, supernatural elements, shitty writing. And for non Twihards, there's enough to look forward to including the excellent Saoirse Ronan in the lead, and "Gattaca" helmer Andrew Niccol at the helm. Then again, Niccol hasn't made anything worthwhile since well, "Gattaca," pretty much, and there aren't immediate signs that that's changed here. Again, the premise is a difficult one to get your head round, and certainly a trickier one to convey to an audience (the trailer doesn't do a great job), and the tone is a little more sci-fi-ish than some of the competition. Open Road don't have much of a track record (though neither did Summit before "Twilight,") even if giving it the same slot as "The Hunger Games" suggests a certain bullishness. There's no in-place sequels yet either, so it's not the same kind of insta-franchise as many of these. We imagine Meyer's name will get it a decent opening weekend, but where it goes from there remains to be seen.
When? March 29th, 2013