The Host fails to replicate success of Twilight

by Maria Pansulla
When a movie preview begins with “based on the book by Stephenie Meyer,” viewers are immediately reminded of Twilight and the hype that began to infect bookstores and movie theaters in 2008. Every fan began counting down until it was time to order tickets for the premiere of the romantic vampire saga.
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This year, The Host, a novel also written by Meyer, was adapted into a movie.  The book and film concern Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan), a girl living in a world where Earth has been invaded by alien body-snatchers. Melanie is taken over by a parasite named Wanderer and has to fight for control of her body.  Wanderer falls in love with the human Ian (Jake Abel), while Melanie is still attached to her lover Jared (Max Irons).
According to By the Numbers Box Office data, only a fraction of Twilight fans, or Twi-hards, were anxious to buy tickets for The Host’s premiere. While the first Twilight film grossed approximately $69 million during its opening weekend in the United States, The Host earned only about $10 million during its premiere weekend in April 2013, not even a quarter of Twilight’s gargantuan revenue.
So where did all the Twilight fans go?
“If people didn’t like Twilight, they won’t see The Host. I think it’s kind of a hit or miss,” said freshman Caroline Ringel.
Criticism by those who were not impressed by the Twilight saga could have contributed to the immense disparity in box office sales for The Host.
Although she herself remains a devoted Twi-hard,  freshman Kate Welch posits that some fans could be experiencing Twilight fatigue.  The vampire saga had not even been completed for a year when The Host attempted to prove itself as a successor.
“Old fans probably are making assumptions about The Host, thinking it’s just another Twilight,” said Welch.
Whether it was Twilight criticisms or timing, The Host has clearly not been as successful in theaters as Meyer’s other series. Regardless of its connection to Twilight, the movie should be judged individually.
“Honestly, I think people didn’t really hear of The Host [novel] until they saw the movie previews,” said junior Christina Fasolas. “The two series have nothing to do with each other besides the fact that they have the same author.”
While Twilight is a gothic romance tinged with supernatural elements, The Host is more of a straight science fiction film, and is more emotionally complex than Twilight.  Viewers feel sympathy for both Melanie and the parasitic Wanderer, though they fight over the same human body.
“I personally thought that there wasn’t anything not to like about The Host,” said Fasolas.
Time will tell whether Twilight fans will embrace The Host for what it is, and not as the younger cousin to the vampire franchise.