Here’s How Much the Cast of ‘Twilight’ Actually Made for ‘Breaking Dawn’, Thanks to a Major Lawsuit

It’s been 12 years since the first film in the Twilight saga released to modest box office numbers. The vampire film, based on Stephanie Meyers’ book by the same title, had a slow and steady rise to the top. The three stars of the franchise — Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner — may not have earned a big paycheck for the first go-around, but in later films, they earned an impressive payout, thanks to a lawsuit. Here’s the scoop.

‘Twilight’ and ‘New Moon’ launched three relative unknowns into superstardom

Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson
Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson| Popow/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Before Twilight burst onto the scene, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner were mostly unknowns in Hollywood. Though the three had starred in other projects, none of them hit the level of success or launched onto the A-list the way Twilight has.

Stewart appeared in nearly two dozen other films and TV shows before taking on Twilight’s Bella Swan. The actress lists mostly with small parts or supporting roles like Panic Room, Speak, and Into the Wild. After the first Twilight film, she landed bigger projects like Adventureland and The Runaways, which doled out bigger paychecks.

Pattinson may not have had the offer to play the next iteration of The Batman if not for his role as Edward Cullen in the Twilight movies. The actor had appeared in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, among other things. But nothing gave Pattinson the staying power the way Twilight did.

As for Lautner, he was the star of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, as well as recurring roles n a few TV shows like The Bernie Mac Show and Danny Phantom. However, playing Jacob Black brought Lautner’s talent to millions more who otherwise wouldn’t have known his work.

The final two films in the saga earned each star a big paycheck

It’s no surprise that, while Twilight took a minute to catch on, it grossed over $190 million domestically. The follow-up, New Moon grossed around $290 million with more films in the works.

Eclipse earned around $700 million in total, with Breaking Dawn Part 1 around $710 million and Breaking Dawn Part 2 earning well over $800 million.

NYMag previously revealed Stewart, Pattinson, and Lautner’s payday for the two-part Breaking Dawn finale. Each star earning $25 million-plus 7.5 percent against gross revenue (around $41 million total). The numbers are well above three times what they made for New Moon.

The big money came after a lawsuit

Those lofty numbers came about by way of a lawsuit between Goldcrest Film Distribution and Summit. Court documents revealed via E! News revealed Goldcrest is suing Summit, “claiming that they were deprived of money due to deceptive accounting practices.”

They also stated Twilight’s cost came at less than $40 million to make, they gave away $10 million upfront for production and had an agreement in place to get a portion of revenues for all four movies.

Apart from Lautner, the lawsuit amended agreements for Stewart and Pattinson so that they’d receive retroactive bonuses. By the end of the lawsuit, and negotiations for subsequent movies in the saga, Pattinson, and Stewart walked away with another $2.5 million bonus each.

To put it in perspective, author, Stephenie Meyer, and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg only received $500,000 each. That aside, the actors and writers also earned an additional $11.5 million from Twilight’s home video residuals.

The point is, it doesn’t matter where the three stars were before taking on the Twilight franchise — or if they enjoyed being a part of something so beloved. The A-list earners can now take whatever project they want and that’s truly living the dream.