No deals yet for 'Twilight' stars to return for fifth movie

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No deals yet for 'Twilight' stars to return for fifth movie

Fri Feb 12, 2010 @ 09:18AM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Twilight-tokyo-2279-1 Summit Entertainment has denied reports that a decision has been made to split the fourth "Twilight" novel "Breaking Dawn" into two movies. But if the studio is planning to move forward with that plan, its lawyers should get busy locking in that cast first.   

We've learned that no talent deals are in place with the principal actors to return for a fifth movie. And they're not even close, we're told. That means neither Kristen Stewart nor Robert Pattinson nor Taylor Lautner has yet signed on to a (possibly 3D?) supersized "Breaking Dawn."

That doesn't mean it won't happen, of course. After lengthy negotiations once "Twilight" became an international sensation, the stars are currently locked for the third movie (already finished and set for release in June) and a fourth to be filmed in the fall. But if Summit wants to extend the production schedule on "Breaking Dawn" and split it in two that will require a new deal for each of the actors. (The studio wouldn't dare claim the bifurcated "Breaking Dawn" is just one long movie that happens to be released as two. The final "Harry Potter" book is being divided into two movies, and we're told the talent deals were revised to pay the actors separately for both films.)   

Reps for the "Twilight" clan are likely salivating at that prospect.The franchise has turned the trio into some of the hottest stars in town -- and at this point, Summit can't exactly recast. Lautner in particular has been running up his quote lately by signing on to a host of high-profile projects, demanding a reported $7.5 million for the upcoming "Northern Lights" and booking gigs as "Max Steel" and the toy-turned-tentpole "Stretch Armstrong."

They all probably have their price and, given the success of the franchise, Summit would likely back up the Brinks truck to make a fifth movie happen. But both Stewart and Pattinson have signaled a desire to move past the vampire melodrama and the teenybopper fandom that has come with it. Neither has capitalized on their clout by signing on for a major studio blockbuster, instead focusing on smaller pictures like Stewart's upcoming '80s punk rock biopic "The Runaways" and Pattinson's March romancer "Remember Me," for Summit. Given the millions they've made from "Twilight," getting them back might not be a forgone conclusion.

Complicating matters is author Stephenie Meyer's unusual approval rights over the property. She is said to support splitting the final book into two movies, but we're told part of the delay in moving forward is to make sure she's on board with the plan. We've got a copy of Meyer's deal for "New Moon," which contains approval language that is likely very similar to her "Breaking Dawn" contract. Here's an excerpt:

According to the contract, Meyer "shall have mutual approval of Summit's selection of (i) the cast members playing the roles of "Edward" (if not Robert Pattinson) and "Bella" (if not Kristen Stewart) in connection with the Picture, (ii) the cast member playing the role of "Jacob", (iii) the screenwriter (if not Melissa Rosenberg), and (iv) the director (if not Catherine Hardwicke) ..."

Will a two-picture "Breaking Dawn" be derailed by the cast? Probably not. But getting the Edward-Bella-Jacob trio to sign for another movie will likely require Summit to open the vaults. Luckily, it has the money.  

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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