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‘Twilight’ Director Catherine Hardwicke on How the Film Paved the Way for Female-Led Franchises

Director Catherine Hardwicke made history with “Twilight,” creating one of the highest grossing live-action films directed by a woman ever; however, at the NY Comic Con “Twilight” 10th Anniversary panel, Hardwicke said Hollywood didn’t always believe in the franchise.

“It was a modest budget because everybody thought, hey, a movie for women is only going to make like what ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ made – $29 million,” Hardwicke said.

What happened instead was the opposite. On its opening weekend, “Twilight” made more than $60 million at the domestic box office and, by the end of its run, it had reached more than $400 million worldwide.

“I think that changed the landscape,” Hardwicke said. “People could see that women want to see movies about women.”

Hardwicke also credited the film with helping create the foundation for future female-led franchises including “Divergent” and “The Hunger Games.” Ed Gathegi, who played Laurent in the “Twilight” series, echoed Hardwicke’s sentiment, praising the film’s positive effect on popular culture.

“This was maybe in many ways one piece of the puzzle that opened up the door for other projects that would follow,” Gathegi said. “This sort of began or in many ways continued to further the conversation we’re having today about diversity, inclusion and female-led projects.”

Gathegi and Hardwicke were also joined by “Twilight” stars Jackson Rathbone and Kellan Lutz as well as surprise guest appearances from Robert Pattinson and Kirsten Stewart via Skype and a short video message, respectively.

Although Stewart couldn’t attend the panel herself, she thanked the audience for all the support fans have given the franchise throughout the years. “I feel like we all kind of grew up together… I love you guys; I’m totally there in spirit,” she said.

Pattinson’s Skype call was slightly less sentimental, as technical difficulties made it almost impossible to hear what he was saying. However, the rest of the panel members didn’t shy away from talking about Pattinson and the musical contributions he made to the film.

Rathbone shared some of his favorite memories playing music with the “High Life” star, which involved the pair performing open mic at a local Portland bar while filming “Twilight.” In fact, Pattinson has such a great voice that he ended up recording the song “Never Think” for the film itself.

Other panel exclusives included never-before-seen set photos from Hardwicke’s personal collection , some extras from the iconic baseball scene of the first film and multiple “Fortnite” dances requested by the audience.

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