Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson Box Office & Reviews: Who's Tops?

by Michelle Hutton
Robert Pattinson actor box office appeal testedRobert Pattinson: Actor's box office appeal tested in 'Remember Me.'

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson box office comparison

Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson? Who came out on top at the North American box office in March 2010 – or about three months prior to the June 30 opening of mega-blockbuster-to-be The Twilight Saga: Eclipse?

The answer in all likelihood is Robert Pattinson, though neither Pattinson's Remember Me nor Stewart's The Runaways has fared well at all.

'Remember Me' disappoints

Despite its modest $16 million budget, Remember Me has been a box office disappointment. A Summit Entertainment release in North America, the romantic drama should eventually end up in the black – but only after international grosses and ancillary revenues are tallied so as to cover both production and marketing/distribution expenses.

After ten days out, Remember Me has grossed only $13.9 million at the domestic box office. With quite a bit of luck, it'll reach $20 million; Summit should collect about half of that.

The film is not doing all that well overseas either, though it has yet to open in a number of major markets.

Directed by Allen Coulter, besides Robert Pattinson Remember Me also features Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, and Chris Cooper.

'The Runaways' disappoints even more

Starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, Floria Sigismondi's The Runaways had an even lower budget than Remember Me: only $10 million. Once again, the musical biopic will probably earn its producers and/or distributors a (however small) profit, but definitely not at the North American box office.

The Runaways took in $803,000 on its opening weekend (March 19–21, '10) at 244 screens, which translates into $3,291 per screen – a low average for a movie in limited release.

For comparison's sake, at 2,212 screens, Remember Me averaged $3,657 per screen. Generally speaking, the fewer the number of screens the higher the per-screen average for movies of equal box office appeal.

Admittedly, The Runaways may have suffered because of its R rating – drugs, expletives, and a lesbian kiss – which probably made it more difficult for Kristen Stewart fans in their early-to-mid teens to check out the movie. Remember Me, on the other hand, was rated PG-13.

The Runaways will go wide in April, but expect the per-screen average to drop dramatically. With luck, the film will reach a $7-8 million domestic cume. We'll see.

Update: The Runaways cumed at $3.57 million.

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart box office stars?

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart – and to a lesser extent Taylor Lautner – have been hailed as the latest Hollywood superstars following the phenomenal worldwide success of Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight and Chris Weitz's New Moon.

A few weeks ago, Pattinson and Stewart were in fact featured in a Vanity Fair piece about the top 40 Hollywood moneymakers of 2009. Yet, as mentioned above, both Pattinson's Remember Me and Stewart's The Runaways have turned out to be sizable domestic box office disappointments. And there have been other such relatively recent duds as well.

Filmed three years ago but released last Feb. 26, Udayan Prasad's The Yellow Handkerchief was pushed as a Kristen Stewart star vehicle even though it features Best Actor Academy Award winner William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman, 1985) and A History of Violence leading lady Maria Bello. To date, the $15.5 million romantic drama has taken in a measly $183,000; The Yellow Handkerchief will be lucky if it reaches the $300,000 mark in North America.

In May 2009, several months after Twilight became a major worldwide hit, Paul Morrison's Little Ashes, an Anglo-Spanish drama about a fictitious love affair between Salvador Dali (Robert Pattinson) and Federico García Lorca (Javier Beltrán), collected a total of $481,000 north of the Rio Grande.

'Twilight' blockbusters, non-'Twilight' bombs?

Some may see a Robert Pattinson-Kristen Stewart pattern here: Twilight = $$$; non-Twilight = empty theaters. Their obvious conclusion would be that Pattinson and Stewart are box office draws only within the confines of the Twilight Saga franchise. An obvious conclusion, perhaps, but also a myopic one.

After all, had Sandra Bullock played Joan Jett in the R-rated, $10 million indie-made The Runaways – hardly a critical favorite – it's unlikely that the rock biopic would have fared all that much better at the domestic box office even though Bullock probably has a larger adult following than Stewart.

For instance, Infamous, which opened in limited release to generally positive reviews in 2006, grossed only $1.1 million despite Bullock's presence in one of the lead roles.

Along the same lines, had box office magnet Will Smith played Salvador Dali in Little Ashes, chances are that the “what-if biopic” would have made even less money. (Not that Pattinson wasn't badly miscast as Dali.)

John Wayne as a screaming drag queen: Hit or flop?

The point is, box office stars are box office stars only in the right vehicles. That's the way it has always been. Marilyn Monroe as Medea would have flopped back in her heyday and the same goes for John Wayne as a screaming drag queen back in his heyday.

Clark Gable starred in a series of major hits for MGM in the '30s and early '40s, invariably playing variations of the same macho, cynical ladies' man. But John M. Stahl's 1937 historical drama Parnell, in which Gable was cast as an Irish idealist who ends up quite dead, was an embarrassing flop despite the presence of the popular Myrna Loy as the female lead.

Here's a more recent example: during her heyday in the '90s, Julia Roberts failed to open the critically panned period piece Mary Reilly while her presence also failed to turn Woody Allen's whimsical Everyone Says I Love You into a commercial hit.

Kristen Stewart versatility Joan Jett Bella SwanKristen Stewart versatility: From Bella Swan to Joan Jett in the Sundance Film Festival entry 'The Runaways.'

The indie factor

Also worth pointing out is that neither Remember Me nor The Runaways – or Little Ashes or The Yellow Handkerchief, for that matter – are commercial productions. All four are indie films.

And indie films have a terribly tough time going mainstream unless they have cute, uplifting storylines like Little Miss Sunshine. Or they are cheap, cheesy horror flicks abetted by clever, viral marketing campaigns, e.g., The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. Or they get lots of awards season attention, as has been the case with Lee Daniels' Precious and Scott Cooper's Crazy Heart.

Without any Oscar buzz, Edward Cullen as a conflicted gay artist or an aimless rebel who dies before the final credits and Bella Swan as a tough lesbian rocker or a troubled young drifter are hardly the types of characters to lure Robert Pattinson's and Kristen Stewart's respective fan bases into theaters. Or, as the case may be, to lure those who deride Pattinson and Stewart because of their Twilight association.

'Twilight' fans not much of a concern

Anyhow, one thing seems to be clear: Pattinson's and Stewart's Twilight fans are not much of a concern for either performer. Else, they would have chosen much safer vehicles: a sappy romantic comedy; a feel-good family melodrama; an action flick based on some comic-strip character.

That's what Taylor Lautner has done by way of both Garry Marshall's Valentine's Day and the announced Stretch Armstrong. Admittedly, these sorts of vehicles are all future options for both Pattinson and Stewart.

Too early to determine 'Twilight' stars' box office appeal

In sum, it's much too early to tell whether Robert Pattinson's and Kristen Stewart's film careers will fade to black after the Twilight Saga runs its course. Personally, I find that highly unlikely. I mean, if Sean Connery could do it – talk about an actor associated with one role – why can't they?

Both are in their early 20s, and have plenty of time to branch out while honing their acting skills. Tom Cruise, for one, became a teen idol following All the Right Moves and Risky Business in the early '80s. I don't believe many people back then predicted that Cruise would still be a major worldwide box office draw nearly thirty years later.

All it took was a careful selection of roles: crowd-pleasing banalities (Mission: Impossible and sequels, War of the Worlds) interspersed with heavier, Oscar-baiting projects (Born on the Fourth of July, Magnolia) directed by and/or co-starring respected screen talent.

If Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart find their way, Twilight naysayers notwithstanding, they could be around for a very, very long time.

Robert Pattinson Remember Me James Dean personaRobert Pattinson in 'Remember Me': James Dean persona still alive in the early 21st century.

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart: Who received better reviews?

Now, who came out on top in terms of critical acclaim, Robert Pattinson for his rebellious Tyler Hawkins in Remember Me or Kristen Stewart for her rebellious Joan Jett in The Runaways?

The clear answer is Kristen Stewart, even though both Pattinson and Stewart have been commended for taking chances while away from the Twilight Saga.

In fact, neither Remember Me, in which the hero dies in the September 2001 terrorist attacks, nor The Runaways, a rock biopic of the titular '70s all-girl band, could be considered conventional vehicles for two up-and-coming stars whose fan base is for the most part composed of teenage girls.

From Bella Swan to Joan Jett

Kristen Stewart made more of an impression on critics probably because her impersonation of Joan Jett, portrayed as a tough, determined lesbian in The Runaways, is a far cry from the actress' confused Bella Swan, torn between a vampire (Robert Pattinson) and a werewolf (Taylor Lautner) in the Twilight film franchise.

“Stewart, known mainly for mumbling and stumbling through the Twilight movies, is the revelation here,” wrote Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle, while in the Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert says he now believes the actress “could handle such a tough-as-nails character” as the punkish computer hacker in David Fincher's planned American remake of Niels Arden Oplev's Swedish thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Robert Pattinson vs. James Dean

Robert Pattinson's more conventional Remember Me rebel was considerably less well received, with many critics making unflattering comparisons to James Dean's antihero portrayals in East of Eden or Rebel Without a Cause.

A typical comment is that of Michael O'Sullivan in the Washington Post:

In attitude, if not aptitude, Robert Pattinson in Remember Me comes across like a latter-day James Dean. Playing Tyler Hawkins … the Twilight hunk fills the screen with cigarette smoke, stubble and hooded green eyes, but little else.

Pattinson, of course, also had his supporters. And as stated above, a number of critics – even some who weren't crazy about either his character or the movie itself – remarked on the 23-year-old actor's “daring” career choice.

Chris Weitz New Moon Kristen Stewart Bella Swan abandoned by Edward CullenChris Weitz on 'New Moon' set, with Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan about to be abandoned by Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).

Chris Weitz on 'New Moon' & working with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart

As an aside, Chris Weitz discusses the making of The Twilight Saga: New Moon and working with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in an interview found at Movieweb.

Despite having directed pop culture phenomena like American Pie and New Moon, Weitz calls himself a “pop culture moron.” He had no idea about the Robert Pattinson-Jimmy Fallon “bothered” deal, and from his response seemed just as oblivious to what “bothered” meant exactly. (“How bothered is Robert? He doesn't seem terribly bothered at all.”)

Weitz adds that he was never meant to continue with the Twilight series, whether on Eclipse or Breaking Dawn, explaining, “I think the continuity is supplied by the actor and the series of books.”

David Slade 'much better' action director

About David Slade, who is supposed to be bringing a darker vision to Eclipse, Weitz says:

Just as New Moon looked different from Twilight, I'm sure Eclipse will look different from New Moon. That is good. I don't want to make anybody follow any type of particular aesthetic. The reason he was brought on was to make every movie different. I think Eclipse is much more action-intensive. For instance, I am pretty terrible at shooting action. He is much better in that regard.

In the interview, Chris Weitz also discusses the New Moon promotional tour, negative critical reaction to the film (“We still live in a state where pop culture is dominated by male desires”), the suggestion that New Moon “might be a more male friendly film,” and the upcoming American Reunion.

'Eclipse' movie cast

Eclipse, the third installment in the Twilight Saga franchise, will hit North American theaters on June 30.

Besides Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, Eclipse features the following:

Jackson Rathbone. Nikki Reed. Ashley Greene. Dakota Fanning. Peter Facinelli. Kellan Lutz.

Bryce Dallas Howard. Xavier Samuel. Michael Welch. Billy Burke. Booboo Stewart.

Best Actress Academy Award nominee Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace).

Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air).


Robert Pattinson Remember Me image: Myles Aronowitz / Summit Entertainment.

Kristen Stewart and Chris Weitz New Moon image: Summit Entertainment.

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carolyn -

My daughter watched the Twilight movie, that is how she became a fan…I saw Remember Me, and that is how i became a fan, Robert was excellent.
Robert will never be Edward to me, as he still seems to be, unfairly so, to the critics…He will become Jacob in WFE…Georges in Bel Ami, and Eric in Cosmopolis…He will also continue to be a very wonderful young man inside and out…Something hollywood could use…Someone unhollywood, who just really wants to act, and maybe oneday even be appreciated…With Edward in the distant past…Though he was a blessing, he was also a curse…


Both Stewart and Pattinson did very well in their respective movies, but Pattinson had the advantage of a wider distribution while The Runaways has been very difficult to see because
of it's limited theater release. I plan on seeing it as soon as I find a theater in my
area where it's playing.

Beth -

I couldn't believe you used Tom Cruise as a comparison. Go back and watch All The Right Moves and Risky Business and then tell me you couldn't tell that guy could act. Robert has never shown that. In fact can you see him in any of the Lethal Weapon's, Die Hard's or Mission Impossible's? It cracks me up even trying to picture it.
I noticed you didn't make a comparison to Kristen so I have to surmise you know she's on her way out. Studio's can't keep investing in movies that don't make it. The Yellow Hankerchief lost over 15 million then Adventureland lost at least 6 million looks like The Runaway's will lose around 10 million. That's 31 million enough to make producers and backers lean a different way.

Lisa -

I think it just proves that on the Internet and all ticket sales to Twi movies are the same people over and over. It gives an apparency that these kids are more popular than they are. I know I can't wait til the last Twi movie is over and we can so long to both of them.
I don't care if critics decide they are in love with both of them. The fans of both Robert and Kristen and the Twi zombies have ruined these two. I know where I work we have 350 employees and these two are the jokes of the day everyday. The task gets passed around to someone different everyday to come up with something on Robert and Kristen and send out an e-mail. Before all this started a survey was done on whether Robert was liked, Kristen etc. If you didn't like them what was the reason. Out of 350 people only 25 liked them the rest all answered that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart can't act but mainly they disliked them because the fans are so obnoxious!

Kitty -

In all fairness, Remember Me was getting unfair bad press because of the ending which caused spoilers all over the internet and made people not want to go to see the film. I saw it and felt that the ending fit perfectly with the movie and it was tastefully done and the critics were too harsh. It is really too bad becasue this was a beautiful movie and I would have like to see it do better than it did at the box office.

As for Kristen Stewarts movie, I can't say that much except that she did look like Joan Jett but in the clips I saw, she just seemed like the same Kristen Stewart, the one who is not a very good actress and that might be why she didn't draw in very many people. Her fanbase is NOT just a tween group of girls. I know it might seem like it but some of those crazy obsessed fans are actually grown women that identify with her in some way or live vicariously though her. I am not one of those women but I do see a lot of this fandom online so to say that the movie was a flop do to drugs, lesbian kiss etc. is a cop out. We will see how it does when it goes for the wide release and maybe she can pull it out of the bag, I mean the movie WAS only released in a few theaters so we will see how much her fans are willing to come out and support her or how much of her support is just based on her rumored affair with young Mr. Pattinson.

JoJo -

Stewart has quite a variety going on BEFORE she became Bella. I was impressed by her in Cake Eaters. I think she'll last way past Twilight. I'm not too convinced of Pattinson, he's still a pretty face to me. Surely, “Remember Me” is no romantic comedy, is something like “Rebel Without A Cause” kind? Going down that James Dean route, he will get too old for that soon enough.

Celia -

None of those so-called actors have the star power to open a movie unless it's a twilight film. They have no kind of star power. Their fans only see them as the characters they play in those terrible films. They don't care about anything else.

Sue -

I went to see Remember Me and enjoyed it. The story was meant to portray a family torn, hurt, despair, compassion and just being able to move on and let love in. I thought Rob portrayed Tyler expertly and his interactions with his little sister and the best scene was with his father (Pierce) in the board room…WOW the emotion that was flowing between them. I would like to comment about The Runaways however, it is not yet in theatres where I live. The trailers I've seen and some critic comments that Kristen and Dakota did an awesome job, I definitely will see it. Thanks!

marsh -

I saw both movies and though I love Rob I didn't care for the movie. I loved the Runaways. Both actresses hit it out of the park. I agree with Roger Ebert. Kristen should play Lisbeth Salander in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Go see the Runaways you won't be sorry

Crystal -

Remember Me is a tribute to New Yorker's, not insensitive and insignificant as posted in one of the comments above. The comment really took me by surprise and made me think that the person writing it should go see the movie. This movie humanizes a part of our history that was too soon forgotten, not by those living in New York though.

Crystal -

The people that have been to see Remember me all say it is amazing. Many of my friends have put it off because of the critics, but I am talking them into it. If you miss this phenomenal movie, you are missing out.

Sissyfaye -

How many films does a person have to be in to be considered a working actor, not sure how many for Pattinson but for Stewart, she has at least 20+ films to her credit, sounds like she has a career in acting going on to me.

renate -

I don't know how these two Movies can be compared…ah!!!! here we go.. its because of Twilight…old same old same……..

Chris -

Wow. Somebody not out sensationalize, but just tell it like it really is. I totally agree with this article. The two of them are making interesting choices right now and we'll just have to wait and see how it goes. I do believe 'success' means something different to them than it does to the majority of hollywood and even a lot of fans. I hope whatever they do makes them happy. Can't ask for much more than that.

renate -

Lets just say.. The mediamaschine wasn't that helpful in pushing any of the Movies forward. The critics are unable to separate the Actors from Twilight even if they both proofed to be more talented than most of the newcomers. I'm sure that will change and Talent will shut the NO Sayers up…

admin -

>>>>>>>>>>>Why would you completely ruin Remember Me in one of your first sentences? Way to go.

Sorry about that.

Apparently you haven't read or heard anything about “Remember Me” in the last two weeks. Else, you'd have known Pattinson's fate in that movie a long, long time ago. It's even been discussed in some of the film's reviews. That's why we thought it'd be ok to have it here — especially since the hero's fate is pertinent to the article in question.

josh -

Why would you completely ruin Remember Me in one of your first sentences? Way to go.

A -

Ah critics… they make me laugh because at the end of the day fans of Kristen or Rob could care less about their opinion. I also think starr makes a good point, people are harsher on Rob because of Twilight. Either way numbers speak louder than critic babble…

eve -

i saw both. i thought rob and kristen did great. remember me was kinda just there though. like i couldnt really understand why it needed to be made, you know what i mean? but ifelt like it was great for the runaways to come out. more people definitly need to check out their music. its weird that the first all girl rock band that started the rock god joan jett isnt better known

kim -

I do not watch Remember Me because of the ending of the story. It is not a good memory to relive again and I do think it is insensitive and insignificant for the screenwriter to use it in the story line. Though I do like Robert and I think he is a very good actor. I will go see Bel Ami.

I'm excited about The Runaways. I like how Kristen chose the rock-role Joan to play. It is completely different with any drama roles that she has ever played. And that is very excited and intrigued. Kristen and Dakota are both amazing actresses. The Runaways has a very good rating. With the rate R, it will limit her fans to come out. So I hope fans give it a chance and support it.

starr -

I think the James Dean comparison is not unflattering for those who know and remember James Dean. But for many ppl who did not make the comparison, I think Mr. Pattinson did a remarkable good job. No where in his portrayal of Tyler did you even see a hint of his Edward Cullen persona. It was very refreshing to see. I personally believe that some of the critics who hated twilight or don't understand the teen craze of twilight brought their own prejudices when critiquing Mr. Pattinson's performance which is a shame. I see a lot of potential for him given the right script and director. This is the first hint of it and look forward to seeing is other work to come.

Linda -

I haven't seen the Runaways yet. I have seen RM and thought it was a very good movie and Rob excellent in it!


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