Breaking Dawn to be split?

Summit mulls a two-part ending to the franchise.

twilight-new-moon-photos-2Breaking Dawn, the proposed fourth film in the Twilight series, could be split into two films. According to a report in Variety, the success of the most recent release in the franchise, New Moon, has turned heads at Summit Entertainment, leading executives to consider mimicking the Harry Potter franchise by releasing the final film in two parts.

Such a move is fraught with potential risk for the studio however. The proposed two-part film wouldn’t be released until David Slade’s take on the material debuts with the third in the series, Eclipse. Although the wider cinema-going audience is currently supportive of the Twilight franchise, it’s possible that a more adult look at the material would turn off some that have made New Moon such a success, while there is a distinct possibility of franchise fatigue, given the lack of new novel releases from author Stephenie Meyer.

The Variety report also highlights another potentially problematic area for Summit, whose meteoric success has had a lot to do with revenue from the franchise. Stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, elevated to superstardom among the teen market in particular, would have to renegotiate their contracts with the studio, as they are currently only signed for four films. The actors themselves are now so intrinsically linked to the fabric of the adaptations that hiring others is not a practical solution, and so they have the power to demand significant raises in their pay for appearing.

One further hurdle also lies in Chris Weitz, the director of New Moon who is mooted to helm the fourth, and possibly fifth films. Weitz has, by all accounts, had a good time working on them, but has repeatedly said that he plans to direct a comparatively small project next and is seeking funding from Summit to do so. The studio may tie in acceptance of that project with a guarantee of return for Weitz.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon has taken a worldwide gross of over $476 million to date, far surpassing its predecessor, which took $384 million overall. Ticket sales are slowing for the film, but are still relatively strong. Directed by Chris Weitz, the film is based on a script by Melissa Rosenberg from the novels by Stephenie Meyer. Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart all star in the primary three roles.