By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 6, 2012 at 3:56PM
It makes sense that Universal would seek a new and improved sequel, now that they know what worked. The studio was encouraged by the numbers "SWATH" returned: $153.5 million domestic and $228.4 million foreign, for a $383 million total. That's not as big as it looks if you figure that the movie carried a hefty $175 million pricetag before global marketing costs; theaters return about half of the gross to the studio, which also takes in returns from TV, VOD and DVDs.
Also in the works for Stewart is a potential Oscar campaign for Walter Salles' Cannes entry "On the Road," in which she earned strong reviews in a sultry role as Dean Moriarty's freewheeling and sexy teen bride Marylou. Again, Stewart's reps face a challenge helping Stewart to recover from wall to wall tabloid coverage in the months ahead if she is to be taken seriously as a potential supporting actress. IFC still plans a serious awards campaign and a December opening, and reports that Stewart "remains supportive of the film." Fall fest slots will soon be announced (Stewart's participation is part of that negotiation). The film has already grossed over $2 million in several European countries including France.
Stewart has to move on from "Twilight" in any case. Many Hollywood actresses have endured the wrath of their fans and come out ahead, from Elizabeth Taylor to Ingrid Bergman, who after she returned from European exile after her extra-marital affair with Roberto Rossellini, won the Oscar for "Anastasia." Stewart's indiscretion seems minor compared to what others have survived. Robert Downey Jr.'s career turned around after he served a term in prison for drug use; Lindsay Lohan's is still in freefall. It all comes down to the quality of the work. A year after Lana Turner was embroiled in a murder scandal in which her daughter killed Turner's boyfriend Johnny Stompanato, the "love goddess" released her biggest hit, "Imitation of Life."
Stewart's career will rest on how well she delivers her future movies. Another promising role on Stewart's dance card as a serious dramatic actress: an ambitious adaptation of William Styron’s 1951 novel, "Lie Down In Darkness." Scott Cooper ("Crazy Heart," upcoming "Out of the Furnace") is directing for Open Road Films. The film centers on Stewart as beauty Peyton Loftis in 1950s Virginia, who has to deal with her dysfunctional family: a jealous, nasty mom, a lusty alcoholic father and a crippled sister. A piece of cake.