Vampires in high demand thanks to Twilight's 'New Moon"™
Darien readers are devouring the four-part Twilight saga as voraciously as the Volturi consumed a flock of tourists during the two-hour-long film adaptation of the series' second book.
The second volume of the saga finds Bella having to choose between allegiances to vampires and werewolves when her vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen, abandons her, leaving her to find solace in her new best friend and werewolf Jacob Black in a star-crossed romance that weaves the tangled misfortunes of Romeo and Juliet with blood-sucking and shape-shifting legends of Native American folklore.
The second installation of the movie series premiered two weeks ago, on Nov. 20, earning $72.7 million on its first day, shattering the record set by 2008's "Dark Knight," which starred Heath Ledger and grossed $62.7 million on its debut day. "New Moon's" midnight showings from that Friday earned $26.3 million, breaking yet another record and out-earning the recent midnight madness boasted by the sixth installment of the supernatural "Harry Potter" series that came out this July. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" earned $22.2 million at midnight, and is continuing to rake in the cinema bucks, having already reached the $300 million mark.
There was no midnight showing in Darien, however the Darien Playhouse did screen the film to a sold-out crowd at the first show on opening day, according to Peter Vivian, the theater's owner.
"It's been a good response from the young ladies and their mothers," he said. "There is some repeat business coming along."
The new film, which is directed by Chris Weitz, has already grossed $231 million and sent the hearts of millions of teenage girls fluttering at a speed that would surely be a deafening roar in Edward Cullen's sensitive ear.
It's not just the teenage girl demographic that's been sinking its teeth into the saga, though.
Ludwig said the series, penned by Stephenie Meyer, has turned into a cross-over sensation, attracting adult readers as well as the young-adult audience it was originally marketed toward.
"One thing I've noticed is that in the past several months, more adults have been checking out the books from the series, which I think is notable... It could be related to the movie," Ludwig said.
The library owns 14 copies of the saga's first book, "Twilight," 12 copies of "New Moon," and 13 copies of both "Eclipse" and "Breaking Dawn." All 52 copies are currently checked out, according to Ludwig.
Lauren Phillips, the head of collection management and teen librarian at the New Canaan library said that while the series is always popular, the release of the film has certainly contributed to the insatiable thirst of Twilight readers.
"We had to take `Twilight' out of storage because people were looking for them. I think that will happen every time they release a movie for it," she said.
Barrett Bookstore, an independent book retailer in the Noroton Heights Shopping Center on Heights Road has trouble keeping the saga on the shelves as well.
"It's been a big seller, but it's a little resurgence of interest in it," said Sheila Daley, the store's owner. "We've been selling them right along, but I think there's a certain group who may have been a little too young when they came out, and now they're sort of rediscovering them.
"I think with the movie, they have other revived interest in it ... . A lot of the parents have also become very interested in it," Daley said.
The release of the new movie has had a nation-wide effect on sales for all four of the books.
While "New Moon" held steady at No. 3 on USA TODAY's top-150 book list this week, "Twilight" moved from No. 8 to No. 4 as "Eclipse" climbed from No. 10 to No. 6 and "Breaking Dawn" broke back into the top 10, inching from the No. 13 spot to No. 10. Each of the books has peaked at No. 1 at some point in their existence.
But the Cullen coven and the Quileute werewolf pack aren't the only fictional fantasy characters achieving increased fame these days. Meyer's saga has pumped up the popularity of vampires on library and bookstore shelves.
"The whole genre of vampire books right now is big," said Kathleen Millard, the general manager of Elm Street Books, an independent bookstore in downtown New Canaan. She listed series such as the "Vampire Academy" series by Richelle Mead and the "Vampire Diaries" series by L.J. Smith, which recently spawned a television series on the CW Network.
"Vampires are in. There's also a great young-adult book called `Shiver' [by Maggie Stiefvater] that's out and it's about a young boy who's a werewolf," Millard said.
While there are several similar series on the market for young adults, Ludwig said the Twilight saga remains the most-demanded book in the teen room at the library.
"They're probably the most popular book we have for teens. They're the number one book. The series is the number one series for teens," she said.
"We usually have some on the shelf, and there isn't a single one. Every single book in that series is out right now. So that's pretty significant, because usually when you walk in the teen room, you'll see one or two of each book there," Ludwig said.