Q: Why did the Twilight series second movie “New Moon” gross $140.7 million over its opening weekend, more than any other movie with a fall release date in history?
A: Abstinence, and its concentration on “matters of the heart and spirit,” says the director, before adding, “and I think that’s lovely.”
Teenagers are jaded by the flesh-filled movies, shows, and magazines marketed to their generation, and New Moon’s riotous success indicates that teenage girls want something more.
Sure, Werewolf character Jacob rips off his shirt in an especially lauded scene, revealing his ripped bod. But I think girls in the audience swoon not only out of deep infatuation for his abs but for his chivalry – he takes off his shirt to blot away the dripping blood from main character Bella’s injured head. Pre-teen romance-seekers can only fantasize about their male peers jumping to their aid and displaying deep, romantic concern for their lives.
While fan site chat rooms host girls who wish they could have a blood-sucking vampire or werewolf of their own, their underlying reasons are stellar. They wanted to be loved, they wanted to be treated right, they want boys who are brave, and they don’t want to be reduced to their bodies. I think ultimately the Twilight series is good for girls. And for boys.
Girls will place a greater value on the heart, chivalry, and meaningful love, and hopefully, they will hold themselves to higher standards.
Boys are going to have to up their game to get a twilight fan. Sexual gratification and a ride to school ain’t going to do the relationship trick anymore. In a funny twist (after all, the Twilight heroes are monsters), perhaps the Twilight series will force lusty boys to be courageous, respectful, and noble men.
As Elizabeth Morowitz, Communications Professor at the University of Missouri and author of “Bitten By Twilight,” puts it:
“A lot of people ask ‘what’s so appealing about the Twilight and why is it popular now?’ and we think it’s because of the relationships and the messages about love in Twilight. In a more conservative environment we’ve had this push for abstinence education, so we now have a media message that’s more congruent with that. So perhaps some teens relate to it in that way,” Morowitz told CNN’s Katie Walmsley.
“New Moon” Director Chris Weitz says that sexual abstinence is central to the film’s appeal.
“It’s not that they can’t have sex, they choose not to and I think there’s so much popular culture that’s saying to young people: ‘you’ll be cool if you have sex’ or ‘it’s important to be sexy’ whereas this series really concentrates on matters of the heart and spirit and I think that’s lovely,” Weitz told CNN.