Want to Make Money in Hollywood? Be a Vampire
And to think, the screen’s longtime Dracula, Bela Lugosi, died practically broke. But by a brand new count, the current vampire craze – on TV and in movies, books and merchandising – is estimated to be pumping some $7 billion (that’s with a b) into the showbiz economy. Suddenly, money is flowing like blood.
Taking into account the $20 million box-office of this past weekend’s batty Twilight parody Vampires Suck, the 5 million devotees of HBO’s weekly True Blood, and the bestselling titles from authors Justin Cronin (The Passage), Stephenie Meyer (Breaking Dawn) and Charlaine Harris (Dead and Gone), the Hollywood Reporter estimates that in the past two years, bloodsuckers have pumped new life into Tinsel Town, creating what the trade paper terms an “entire inexhaustible industry.”
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“By starting with one simple mythological creature that’s been part of our literary universe for centuries,” Julie Plec, writer and exec producer of the CW series The Vampire Diaries, says of novelist Bram Stoker’s 1897 Count Dracula, “you can create a story that has it all: romance, horror, action, special effects, sex, epic love, wish fulfillment, romantic leading men, delicious bad-boy villains, female bad asses, damsels in distress, death, monsters and, ultimately, the perfectly flawed hero who would give it all up if it meant they wouldn’t have to spend eternity alone It doesn’t get more universal than that.”
Breaking down the numbers, the Reporter” calculates that recent vampire movies have generated $3 billion ($1.76 billion from the three Twilight flicks alone, along with another $160 million thanks to their home-video sales); vampire books, $1.6 billion; vampire merchandising (including vampire video games), $600 million; vampire TV shows and DVDs, $1.2 billion.
Vampire books, says one literary agent, “are just growing There is no one area in which it’s stagnating. It goes from fiction to [young adult] fiction to genre fiction – they are king.”
And still on the horizon: the November 2011 and November 2012 screen installments of Breaking Dawn, which are expected to make $1.7 billion, and several more movies now in development.
They include an adaptation of Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, Justin Cronin’s The Passage, Dracula Year Zero, Castlevania and something called Vamps.
Talk about immortal life.