The Twilight Saga is a series of five romance fantasy films from Summit Entertainment based on the four novels by American author Stephenie Meyer. The films star Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. The series has grossed over $3.3 billion in worldwide receipts. The first installment, Twilight, was released on November 21, 2008. The second installment, New Moon, followed on November 20, 2009, breaking box office records as the biggest midnight screening and opening day in history, grossing an estimated $72.7 million. The third installment, Eclipse, was released on June 30, 2010, and was the first Twilight film to be released in IMAX.
The series had been in development since 2004 at Paramount Pictures, during which time a screen adaptation of Twilight that differed significantly from the novel was written. Three years later, Summit Entertainment acquired the rights to the film. After Twilight grossed $35.7 million on its opening day, Summit Entertainment announced they would begin production on New Moon; they had acquired the rights to the remaining novels earlier that same month. A two-part adaptation of Breaking Dawn began shooting in November 2010 with release dates of November 18, 2011, and November 16, 2012, respectively.
Born and raised in Los Angeles to an American father and Australian mother, both of whom work in show business, Stewart first gained notice at age 12 for her role as the daughter of Jodie Foster‘s character in David Fincher‘s thriller Panic Room (2002), which earned her a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Leading Actress in a Feature Film. She subsequently starred in Speak (2004), Catch That Kid (2004), Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), and Into the Wild (2007). In 2010, she was awarded the BAFTA Rising Star Award. Stewart went on to gain worldwide recognition for her role as Bella Swan in The Twilight Saga film series (2008–2012), which collectively grossed over $3.3 billion worldwide.
After starring in the fantasy film Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), Stewart eschewed roles in big-budget films in favor of independent productions for the next few years. She took on roles in the dramas Camp X-Ray and Still Alice (both 2014), and the science fiction romance Equals (2016). In 2015, she garnered critical acclaim for her performance in Olivier Assayas‘ drama film Clouds of Sils Maria, which won her the César Award for Best Supporting Actress. Stewart reunited with Assayas the following year in the supernatural thriller Personal Shopper (2016) and made her directorial debut with the 2017 short film Come Swim. She returned to mainstream Hollywood with leading roles in the action films Charlie’s Angels (2019) and Underwater (2020).
After starring in the romantic dramas Remember Me (2010) and Water for Elephants (2011), Pattinson eschewed roles in big-budget films in favour of independent productions helmed by auteurs, which have earned him critical acclaim. He played a manipulative billionaire in David Cronenberg‘s thriller Cosmopolis (2012), an aspiring actor in Cronenberg’s satire Maps to the Stars (2014), an explorer in James Gray‘s adventure drama The Lost City of Z (2016), a bank robber in the Safdie Brothers‘ crime drama Good Time (2017), a criminal in a spaceship in Claire Denis‘ science-fiction drama High Life (2018), and a troubled lighthouse keeper in Robert Eggers‘ horror film The Lighthouse (2019).
Pattinson composes and plays his own music. He sang songs for the Twilight film series and the 2008 independent comedy-drama film How to Be. Since 2015, Pattinson is the ambassador of the GO Campaign, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds to help orphans and vulnerable children around the world. He is also a supporter of the End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) campaign, Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT), is a member of International Medical Corps, and has shared details about cancer through PSAs to raise awareness about the disease.
Lautner began his acting career playing bit roles in comedy series such as The Bernie Mac Show (2003) and My Wife and Kids (2004), before having voice roles in television series like What’s New, Scooby-Doo? (2005) and Danny Phantom (2005). In 2005, he appeared in the film Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and starred in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D. He also starred in the 2011 action film Abduction.
From 2014 to 2018, Lautner starred in the BBC sitcom Cuckoo as the son of the titular character. In 2016, he played a leading role, Dr. Cassidy Cascade, in the second season of FOX black comedy series Scream Queens.
The late 2000s saw Lautner become a teen idol and sex symbol, after extensively changing his physique to keep the role of Jacob Black in further Twilight installments, and generating media attention for his looks. In 2010, he was ranked second on Glamour‘s “The 50 Sexiest Men of 2010” list, and fourth on People‘s “Most Amazing Bodies” list. Also in the same year, Lautner was named the highest-paid teenage actor in Hollywood.