What Is Twilight? And Is It The Next Harry Potter?

The Internet Movie Database is not just a useful tool to answer questions like "who was in that movie" or "what else did that guy direct". IMDb also keeps track of a variety of analytics. For example: movie, actor and crew member searches. Who is the biggest star in Hollywood this minute?

Tom Cruise? Nope.

Kristen Bell? Nope...

Taylor Lautner

Taylor Lautner

Twilight promotional psoter

Don't know who Lautner is? Welcome to the club. I was shocked to see his name on the top of the list when I logged into IMDB this weekend. Taylor has been in three movies, the biggest of which was Cheaper by the Dozen 2, had been flying completely off of my radar. So why is he the most searched actor in the world? Because he's currently starring in the upcoming film Twilight. Ever hear of it?

Twilight is actually the 14th most searched movie on the internet according to IMDbPro's moviemeter. Twilight ranks higher than Sex and the City: The Movie, The Incredible Hulk, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Speed Racer, and even Indiana Jones 4. Even more surprising is the film's 18 listed cast members make up most of the top 30 searched stars on the web (look at the numbers to the right on the IMDB screenshot below). How could this be?

Twilight Cast List

Twilight Book

If you're not a teenage girl or a mother than chances are that you probably have no idea what Twilight is. To be honest, I had heard of the movie in passing, but had no idea that there was such a huge passionate fanbase behind it. Twilight is the first book in a series of teen-lit vampire novels ("Twilight," "New Moon," "Eclipse," and upcoming "Breaking Dawn") by Stephenie Meyer, who is often refereed to as America's JK Rowling. An apt comparison considering the third book in the series, Eclipse, actually knocked Harry Potter off the #1 spot on USA Today's bestseller list. Stranger yet, Meyer is a Mormon stay-at-home mom who admits that she doesn't watch horror movies, and has never even read Bram Stoker's Dracula.

The movie adaptation is directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the production designer turned director responsible for Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown and The Nativity Story. The story follows Seventeen-year-old Isabella Swan (Kristen Stewart), who moves to the small town of Forks, Washington to live with her father, and finds herself drawn to a mysterious classmate named Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who is revealed to be a one-hundred-year old vampire. He tries to push her away, but they soon fall in love. When the arrival of another coven of vampires puts Bella in danger, Edward and his family band together to save her before she is killed. It's being pitched as Romeo and Juliet set in the world of Vampires, but the visuals and story sounds a bit more like The Covenant to me. I'm sure the resulting film will be nothing to that effect.

But it gets even stranger. The movie studio which is producing and is distributing this film is not Warner Bros, Disney, New Line, MGM or Sony. Actually, I'd be surprised if you even heard of the studio before. The answer is: Summit Entertainment, a former foreign-sales agent which announced last April that they would evolve into a full-fledged production and distribution entity which planned to "deliver studio-quality product at a reduced cost ($20 million – $60 million range)." Twilight is scheduled to be released on December 12th, 2008, only three weeks after Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits theaters. Watch some behind the scenes featurettes from the film on MTV.

Discuss: Will Twilight become the next Harry Potter?Added Disclaimer: Welcome to all the Twilight fans who have found this article. Over the last 24 hours I've talked to a lot of people who also had never heard of the book series or upcoming film adaptation. Please note that this article was written by someone who had never heard of the book series. I was surprised to discover the huge intense fanbase behind a film that virtually no one in my field has been aware of. In this article I make a comment that if you aren't a teenage girl, than you probably haven't heard of Twilight. I've come to discover that Twilight fans come in many ages, and even different sexes. But I still stand by the fact that most Twilight fans fall into the teenage female demographic. This is not meant as a slight, or as an insult, just an observation about the audience for this book series and the eventual movie. Also, I realize that Twilight is very different than Harry Potter, but at the same time they are both huge fantasy book series with strong fanbases. My question is really akin to asking "Will Twilight become the next huge fantasy film series?"