Thursday, May 13, 2010

::Team Breaking Dawn:: NEW INFO Salary Disputes and Our Cullen Kids.

We've got new details in that "Twilight" salary standoff.

As we first reported Monday, the actors who play the vampire Cullen kids (Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene) have rejected Summit Entertainment's offer to return for a fourth and fifth movie, thus holding up the studio's plan to send teenage girls into fits of euphoria by announcing that "Breaking Dawn" will be split into two installments.

Nicole Sperling at EW says they are demanding $4 million for each of the two "Breaking Dawns," but our sources close to the dealmaking say that number is high, and that reps for Lutz and Greene are asking for less than $2 million for each movie (for a total of about $4 million for both). The negotiation is just kicking into high gear, so these numbers could change; Sperling says co-star Nikki Reed has settled for a payday in the $750,000-$1 million range for each movie.

What are the secondary characters in a blockbuster franchise worth? That's always a tricky question, and especially here, where fans have such a close connection to the material and have come to associate the actors with their parts. On the other hand, "Eclipse" probably won't suffer at the boxoffice in June despite Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre) being recast after playing hardball.

A couple of interesting wrinkles in the negotiation: While lead actors Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner all re-did their deals for huge raises after the first "Twilight" hit big (and are said to be close to deals for No. 4 and 5), Summit did not offer to renegotiate with the Cullens. So their pay for the first three movies has been very low, which would explain them wanting to cash in on "Breaking Dawn."

Also, while the Cullen kids don't play a huge role in the second or third books, they're both in "Breaking Dawn" a lot more. That fact is said to be fueling the demands, though Summit won't lock the script for the final movies until it's a 100% done deal there will be two, so parts could still be minimized or beefed up.

Neither side expects a speedy resolution. Summit wants to move quickly but isn't afraid to recast. Reps for the actors want to make a deal but don't understand why the studio won't take care of the cast in a franchise that has generated more than $1 billion.

While fans might miss the secondary characters, we doubt Summit's boxoffice take would suffer if the Cullens are recast. Would it?

UPDATED: Earlier version of this post said Rachelle Lefevre was recast for "New Moon." Nope, she's in that one but was replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard for "Eclipse."