Lionsgate says they don’t plan to remake ‘Twilight,’ but is this a sign of the future?

Here’s how you know “Twilight” is a giant pop culture phenomenon:  even the denial of a story about the series becomes a headline across the entire Internet.

Bloody-Disgusting ran a story over the weekend saying that Lionsgate has begun having internal conversations about the idea of rebooting “Twilight.”  Considering they haven’t even released “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II” yet, it seems premature to start having these conversations, but that would suggest that there is some sense of logic or rational behavior that drives the decision-making process in Hollywood.  Lionsgate has denied the report, of course, but it makes sense.

Here’s the cold hard truth.  “Twilight” is giant business, and one of the reasons Summit was such an attractive purchase for Lionsgate this past January is because they own the “Twilight” franchise.  While Open Road Films certainly hopes to have a success on the same scale with their upcoming adaptation of the Stephenie Meyer novel “The Host,” my guess is that lightning will not be striking twice.  With nothing else to sell, Meyer has pretty much reached the end of her commercial lifespan unless she finds a new way to exploit Edward, Bella, Jacob and the rest.

The real trick if Lionsgate does decide to remake “Twilight” would be casting it.  After all, they got lucky with the alchemy between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart the first time around.  I may not love the films, or even like them, but I can acknowledge just how important the casting was to the success of the series.  Pattinson and Stewart have become iconic playing these roles, and replacing them would be a very tall order indeed.

Then again, who says they have to recast?  After all, if not for an ill-timed leak, Meyer was planning on releasing a novel called “Midnight Sun” which would have retold the story of the first “Twilight” novel from the point of view of Edward instead of Bella.  Who’s to say that she couldn’t take the same approach with a new film series?  It would allow Lionsgate the best of both worlds.  They’d get to reboot the series and make four-to-six new movies, but they’d have the built-in appeal of the already-established actors playing the lead roles.

The sad truth is that even with Lionsgate vigorously denying this report, it is practically inevitable that we will see another take on these books.  There’s no way a company as franchise-minded as Lionsgate is going to let these just sit on the shelf once they’ve wrapped things up this fall.  Unless there is some seismic shift away from remakes and sequels in the near future, I foresee the cycle getting shorter and shorter.  I’m guessing that all of Hollywood is closely watching what happens with “The Amazing Spider-Man” when it’s released in a few weeks, because this may be the fastest turn-around between versions we’ve ever seen.  If it works, then all bets are off, and we’re well on our way to a studio eventually releasing two different versions of the same film in the same weekend.  And why not?  When nothing is sacred and companies never really commit to any vision of a property, then it shouldn’t matter.  Fans can stop complaining about an adaptation they don’t like because there will be another one along in a few minutes, like a bus stop on a busy street.  Here, have a funny Spider-Man.  Here, have a gritty Spider-man.  Here, have a Spider-Man just for kids.  And now let’s try an R-rated one just for laughs.

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II” opens November 16, 2012.