Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson rumors and gossip: Tabloid 'news' equals profits
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have been used as grist for the planet's countless rumor mills since Catharine Hardwicke's Twilight became the worldwide sleeper hit of 2008. Following the Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders "scandal" in late summer 2012, "news" reports about Stewart and Pattinson breaking up, getting back together again, dating others, etc., have become not just daily, but, in the age of instant online "reports," second-ly occurrences.
Now, who has the most to gain from the barrage of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson gossip articles? The above drawing – sent to me by a follower on Twitter – makes it clear. Besides the tabloid publications themselves, Summit Entertainment and, within the last year or so, its sibling/parent company Lionsgate Pictures, have had the most to gain.
Really, would the Twilight movies have been so tremendously successful without the possibility (or reality, as the case may be) of a Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson romance? Bella Swan and Edward Cullen living, unliving, and reliving the dream both on and off screen. If only the Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy fans had been that lucky. (MacDonald and Eddy were married – but not to one another.)
According to figures found at Box Office Mojo, the Twilight movies – the aforementioned Twilight (2008), Chris Weitz's New Moon (2009), David Slade's Eclipse (2010), and Bill Condon's Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011) and Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012) – have grossed a worldwide total of $3.33 billion. Of course, I should add that in the last four titles, leads Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were joined by Taylor Lautner, who has only a small supporting role in the first film. Even so, the focus of all five films is on the relationship between Bella and Edward, i.e., Stewart and Pattinson, even when the latter is absent from the screen.
The appeal Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have for the tabloids is obvious. When they create rumors about Stewart, Pattinson must be involved, and vice-versa. Two huge fandoms are thus joined to provide visits, sales, and revenues. And the tabloids will keep on cranking out tales for as long as fans and other interested parties continue visiting their sites and buying their magazine issues.
Long history of real and manufactured box-office-boosting off-screen romances
Long before tabloids and tabloid-wannabes took over as the purveyors of entertainment "news," throughout the decades the studios themselves have publicized idyllic off-screen love stories, whether real or manufactured, featuring the stars of their latest releases. Not infrequently, those had the tacit or not-so-tacit consent of the actors in question; invariably, they were eagerly swallowed by a gullible (i.e., wilfully stupid) general public.
That strategy goes all the way back to the early silent era, when in the 1910s the likes of Francis X. Bushman (the 1925 Ben-Hur's Messala) and Beverly Bayne romanced on screen and off – though the eventual revelation that Bushman was the married father of five kids didn't help his image any. (See: "Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders in Good Company.")
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Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson as the tabloids' cash cow is an "enhanced version" of a previous drawing featuring Stewart and Pattinson as Summit's cash cow.