In the year 2008, Robert Pattinson struck mega-fame when he landed the role of vampire Edward Cullen in the then indie-adaptation of "Twilight." Well, that little film -- with a reported budget of $37 million -- ended up taking over the box office and driving teenage girls, and their mothers, insane.
"I thought at the time, with [director] Catherine Hardwicke and Kristen Stewart, it was going to be an indie movie. It seemed really interesting: a teen vampire movie that was going to be like 'Thirteen' and really serious," Pattinson told Empire magazine in 2011. "I had no idea it was going to be this big thing you'd get on Burger King hats."
Memorabilia aside, since the "Twilight" franchise came to a close after 2012's "Breaking Dawn: Part 2," interest in the 28-year-old and his career has dropped. Were Twihards seriously just interested in the fact that Pattinson (nicknamed RPatz by the film's devotees) played Edward Cullen, or did they actually care about him as an actor? The former seems to tell the story.
According to Google Trends, Pattinson catapulted into stardom in December 2008, shortly after "Twilight" hit theaters that November. He, as well as the movie adaptations of Stephenie Meyer's books, became much more popular after the first film debuted. It's not a total surprise: the worldwide box office gross for "Twilight" was about $385 million, while the gross for the second installment "New Moon" was around $710 million. ("New Moon" was the second highest grossing "Twilight" film, behind only "Breaking Dawn: Part 2," which grossed just under $833 million.)
But let's be honest here: The real reason people were so taken by the handsome and charming British star was his onscreen and offscreen relationship with Stewart, who played Bella Swan in the "Twilight" movies. Speculation about a real-life romance started in May 2009 after Stewart (or KStew, as the nicknames go) ended things with her longtime beau, Michael Angarano. Although Pattinson and Stewart always posed side-by-side on the red carpet, the pair stayed mum about their dating status throughout press tours, but were captured holding hands and kissing on multiple occasions over the course of three years. In October 2011, Stewart called Pattinson her "boyfriend" for the first time in an interview with British GQ. After that, everything seemed to be going smoothly ... until Stewart's cheating scandal exploded in Hollywood tabloids.
Stewart was photographed kissing her much-older and married "Snow White and the Huntsman" director, Rupert Sanders, in July 2012. Us Weekly released the pictures and outrage ensued. Stewart released a statement shortly after. "I'm deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I've caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected," she said. "This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I'm so sorry."
That "momentary indiscretion" sadly marked the height of interest in Stewart's career thus far. Since then, her celebrity, as well as Pattinson's, has faltered. Aside from a little jolt they received following the release of "Breaking Dawn: Part 2" -- and all those rumors of rekindled romance -- both Pattinson and Stewart's films thereafter have yet to gain any traction with the audiences that spent all that money on "Twilight." Stewart's only film, "On the Road," earned less than $750,000 in its box-office lifetime; Pattinson's latest film, "The Rover," is his first since "Breaking Dawn: Part 2," and it will likely have a difficult time cracking $10 million in ticket sales. Not that either star seems to mind: both have eschewed franchises in lieu of personal projects and smaller indie fare.
"In a lot of ways, those are the only big movies that are made anymore," Pattinson told The Daily Beast when asked if he would ever do another franchise like "Twilight." "So unless you just never want to do studio movies, you have to realize that you've got to do 'The Fault in Our Stars 2.'" Pattinson was joking about that role, but at least there would be a Burger King hat in it for him.