‘Twilight’: Why the First Movie Feels Like an Indie Film Instead of a Blockbuster
It’s no secret to fans of the Twilight movies that the first film stands out stylistically. Not only is it the only movie in the film in the franchise that boasts a female director, but just has a different feel than its sequels: New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn — Part 1, and Breaking Dawn — Part 2. In fact, the cast of the movies shared that, oftentimes, shooting Twilight felt like shooting an independent film (or indie) rather than a blockbuster. But why was that the case?
The most obvious explanation of why Twilight felt so different from the other movies in the franchise is, of course, budget. Since the production and distribution company behind Twilight wasn’t expecting the movie to make more than $29 million, the budget for the film was extremely limited. Thus, a lot of the big action shots that Catherine Hardwicke (who directed the film) dreamed up got the ax before she could bring them to life. However, because the studio wasn’t as involved, Hardwicke also got to have more creative freedom with the project.
Why ‘Twilight’ felt like an indie movie in comparison to the other films
“Nobody knew what it was going to be, what it was,” Hardwicke shared in a 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I didn’t have committees giving me notes; I wasn’t watched by big-time producers. I didn’t have the pressure of hitting blockbuster marks. We didn’t even have a test screening so it was really made like an indie film. After the first movie, more people got involved and the other films were managed to a greater extent.”
The cast of Twilight also felt as if there was something special about the first movie in the franchise. In fact, in a 2012 interview with The Washington Post, Robert Pattinson (who famously played brooding vampire, Edward Cullen) shared that he found the experience of filming Twilight more meaningful than any other film in the franchise.
Robert Pattinson once reflected on his experience shooting the first film
“Definitely the first one,” Pattinson shared in the interview. “By a huge margin. It was just an entirely different world. For one thing, it was just a really, really fun movie to shoot. It was difficult and it was crazy, but the experience was so different. Just having a really big, young cast as well — I have never done anything like it since. Everyone was kind of unknown and had a feeling about the movie. There was definitely some excitement there, that it could either be a total miss or something could happen with it.”
Obviously, something big did happen to Twilight and thus the following four movies were given the blockbuster treatment. This, of course, meant higher salaries for everyone involved, but it also meant more involvement from the production company and the erasure of the indie vibe that was cultivated on Twilight. But whether the movies were treated like blockbusters or indies, fans seemed to appreciate each and every one of them for exactly what they were.