With one longing and curious look across a high-school cafeteria—human Bella (Kristen Stewart) clocking vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson)—the Y.A. boom was crystallized. It may have been a short-lived craze, peaking with the The Hunger Games and sputtering out with the Divergent series. But in that brief time, Twilight fever reshaped our understanding of youth culture, and turned the industry’s gaze toward fan corners of the Internet, in search of the emo heart that gave life to a generation. It shouldn’t go without mentioning that the majority of those fans were young women, whose ardency and buying power could not be denied. We can thank this scene for Fifty Shades of Grey, though its effect may be better felt on television these days, where appealing to fandom is vital to many networks’ strategies. Twilight also launched Stewart and Pattinson to stardom, though both have since shaken off the teen-idol trappings and become bold indie-film explorers. —R.L.
Catherine Hardwicke, director
“We all knew that Rob and Kristen were more indie spirits in a way, because [of] the way they dressed, what they read, what music they listened to, what movies they liked. They weren’t just super-big, popular-movie type people. I guess the fact that they did not know this was going to be this big, crazy, mainstream juggernaut—they knew me a little bit from Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown. They knew I would have that sensibility. If Twilight was known to be a blockbuster, it wouldn’t be a female director. I think they trusted me, exploring this first love, but nobody thought it would turn into this crazy-worldwide-blockbuster insanity. The good thing is that it gave them enough worldwide cred and clout that they could green-light all these super-interesting films later in their careers. I think it’s an amazing ripple effect.” —As told to Katey Rich