Filming began in Vancouver in late March 2009, and in Montepulciano, Italy in late May 2009. The film was released on November 20, 2009 in most countries, and set domestic box office records as the biggest midnight screening, grossing $26.3 million, which was superseded by its sequel, Eclipse. This led to the highest single day, domestic gross on an opening day, with $72.7 million, until it was beaten in 2011 by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, which made $91.1 million, by nearly $20 million. Furthermore, New Moon opened with the third highest domestic opening weekend since 2002 grossing a total of $142,839,137. The film also became the highest-grossing film released by Summit Entertainment, and was the widest independent release, playing in over 4,100 theaters in its theatrical run, until it was surpassed by The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
On her eighteenth birthday, Bella Swan wakes up from a dream in which she sees herself as an old woman. She expresses her distaste about growing older than her boyfriend Edward Cullen, a human with vampire powers, who stopped aging physically at seventeen. Despite her lack of enthusiasm, Edward's adoptive family host Bella a birthday party. While unwrapping a gift, Bella receives a paper cut. Edward's brother, Jasper, becomes overwhelmed by the scent of Bella's blood, and attempts to kill her. Realizing the danger that he and his family pose to Bella, Edward ends their relationship, and the Cullens leave Forks, Washington.
Edward's departure leaves Bella heartbroken and depressed for months. Unable to understand her erratic and despondent actions, her father, Charlie, decides to send Bella to live with her mother in Jacksonville, Florida, but Bella opposes and decides to spend more time with her other friends in Forks. After seeing a movie with Jessica, Bella sees a group of men on motorcycles. This reminds her of when Edward previously rescued her from a previous assault, and she sees his image, warning her to keep away. Bella discovers that any thrill-seeking activities she engages will evoke Edward's preserved image. She is also comforted by Jacob Black, a cheerful companion who helps to ease her pain over losing Edward. When Jacob suddenly begins avoiding her, Bella discovers that he, and others of his tribe, are descended from a long line of werewolves, and Jacob has just undergone his first transformation. Bella also learns that the werewolves are an age-old enemy of vampires. Jacob's pack members are on constant alert for Victoria, a vampire seeking to avenge the death of her mate, James, who was killed by Edward after James kidnapped and tried to kill Bella. They rescue Bella from Laurent when he tries to kill her. With Jacob busy coming to terms with his shape-shifting nature, Bella again finds herself alone, and she returns to seeking thrill-inducing activities.
Through a series of miscommunications, Edward believes that Bella has killed herself by jumping off a cliff into the ocean. Distraught over her apparent suicide, Edward travels to Italy and attempts to provoke the Volturi (powerful coven who act as vampiric overlords) to kill him by exposing himself as a vampire to humans. Alice, Edward's sister, and Bella travel to Italy to save Edward, and arrive just in time to stop him. Alice looks on as Bella jumps into the sunlight, and into Edward, preventing him from committing suicide. Realizing that Bella is alive, Edward explains to Bella that he always loved her and only left to protect her. However, the Volturi determine that Bella, a human who knows that vampires exist, must either be killed or transformed into a vampire herself. Alice stops them from killing her by sharing her premonition, in which Bella has been transformed, with Aro, a Volturi elder who is able to read thoughts through touch. Soon after, they return to Forks and Cullens again settle themselves in Forks. Bella asks Edward to transform her and Cullens vote in favor of that much to Edward and Rosalie's dismay. Later, Jacob reminds Edward, the treaty Cullens and Quileutes made years before that they will not attack each other, as long as the Cullens do not feed on any humans, a necessity for Bella's transformation. The movie concludes with Edward telling Bella that he will change her into a vampire after she marries him.Main cast
Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, a teenage girl who falls into a deep depression after her true love, Edward Cullen, leaves her. Her friendship with Jacob Black is expanded as she realizes that he can mend the hole left open by Edward.
Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, Bella's vampire boyfriend who abruptly leaves town to protect her.
Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black, a cheerful companion who eases Bella's pain over losing Edward. He reveals to Bella that he is part of a pack of werewolves whose main goal is to protect her from the vampires Laurent and Victoria.
In early November 2008, Summit Entertainment announced that they had obtained the rights to the remaining books in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series: New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. On November 22, 2008, one day after the theatrical release of Twilight, Summit confirmed that they would begin working on New Moon. "I don't think any other author has had a more positive experience with the makers of her movie adaptation than I have had with Summit Entertainment," said Meyer. In early December 2008, it was announced that Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke would not be returning to direct the sequel. Hardwicke cited time restrictions as the reason behind her leaving the project. On December 13, 2008, it was announced that Chris Weitz, director of The Golden Compass and co-director of About a Boy, had been hired to direct New Moon. Weitz released a statement shortly after the announcement, assuring Twilight fans that he would "protect on their behalf the characters, [the] themes and story they love." He continued by saying, "This is not a task to be taken lightly, and I will put every effort into realizing a beautiful film to stand alongside a beautiful book."
Melissa Rosenberg had been working on adapting the novel prior to Twilight's release and handed in the draft for New Moon during Twilight's opening weekend in November 2008. "I would sit down at ten o'clock in the morning and work on [the script]... until six o'clock in the evening." Rosenberg spent the months of October though June 2008 alternating between writing for the Showtime television series Dexter, and writing New Moon on weekends. She and Meyer kept in touch during this five-month period. One of the key changes the screenwriter made while adapting the book was the decision to take Edward's voice in Bella's head and make it visual. This change caused the first confrontation between the two main characters, one an "apparition", to be emotional. For the screenplay, the four men who Bella approaches needed to create a significant and dangerous situation, and so Rosenberg gave these men motorcycles. "I added the motorcycles, [mainly] because... they became an important part of [Bella's] relationship with Jacob."
Due to major physical changes that occur in the character of Jacob Black between Twilight and New Moon, Weitz considered replacing Taylor Lautner in the sequel with an actor who could more accurately portray "the new, larger Jacob Black". In an attempt to keep the role, Lautner weight-trained extensively and gained approximately 30 pounds. In January 2009, Weitz and Summit Entertainment announced that Lautner would continue to play the role of Jacob in the sequel. In an interview, fellow cast member Kristen Stewart talked about Lautner's transformation saying, "He's an entirely different person physically."
In late March 2009, Summit Entertainment released a list of the actors who would be portraying the "wolf pack" alongside Lautner. The casting for the rest of the Quileute tribe was headed by casting director Rene Haynes, who has worked on films with large Native American casts, such as Dances with Wolves and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. A casting call was also held in Vancouver in February 2009, specifically asking for "any first nations/aboriginal actors and actresses between the ages of 15 and 25". Referring to the casting of Michael Sheen as Aro, Weitz claims to have "'aggressively' pursued the actor", and describes the character as "on the surface, a very gracious and friendly vampire, but beneath that he is a tremendous threat."
Pre-production for New Moon began in December 2008. Filming was scheduled to begin on March 23, 2009 in Vancouver, but began a few days early. Weitz envisioned a warm color palette for the sequel, contrary to the first film in the series, whose blue tones were prevalent. His intention resulted in golden tones, a change that was inspired by Italian paintings, and ultimately served as the basis for the crew's collaborative work. The approach also included the use of specific colors at certain points in the movie. For example, although Jacob's house is red, the color does not dominate until the climax of the movie. The director noted that, "The square becomes a flood of red, that's how conscious we were of every visual aspect."
The use of film, rather than digital, cameras added to the "old-fashioned" nature of the production. Two main Panavision cameras, a high-speed Arri 435 camera capable of shooting at 150 frames per second, a Steadicam, and VistaVision cameras for visual effect shots were among the equipment used to bring the book to the big screen. As with the use of specific colors, the different cameras and shooting setups would help serve the story points. When Bella was with Edward, the camera was moved on a dolly, in a very rigid, straight line to reflect how their relationship was "perfect". When Bella is with Jacob, the Steadicam provided a fluid and organic style; and when she is with her schoolmates, a slangy visual language was reflected by a handheld.
Once the film went into production, the decision to shoot in Vancouver, rather than in Portland, came after debate on how to match the locations that were introduced in the first film. One member involved in the decision process pointed out that Vancouver had been scouted as a potential setting for Twilight, and it was only because the U.S. dollar had, at that time, dropped below the Canadian dollar that Oregon drew Twilight principal photography to Portland and its surrounding areas. Vancouver was chosen because it allowed a higher production value, while the surrounding areas contained beautiful forests and gray weather. With this decision, however, came the issue of reconstructing key sets that were used in the first film. For the exterior of Forks High School, crew members were able to find a parking lot, but the school's steps needed to be filmed with a greenscreen backing to match those that were originally presented in Twilight. David Thompson Secondary School would then be able to serve as the interior for the high school scenes.
The Cullen house was one of the major "match" assignments, mainly because of the Portland area location's unique design. The production team agreed upon finding a house in the Vancouver area with an interior that emulated the high ceilings, glass walls, and forest surroundings of the first location. One location was positively compared to the one in Portland, and therefore Weitz and the production team filmed portions of the film there. In order to keep with the design of the original house, portions of the story that took place in New Moon were moved to different sections of the house that were not seen before.
After scouting Vancouver for a place to film scenes that involved the Swan house, the decision was made to recreate the house on an empty lot with a tree line and approaching road. The production team was able to rearrange the exterior of the house to match that in the first movie. When faced with creating the interior, the team measured the house in Portland, and built various pieces of the house on the lot and on a stage in Vancouver. The second film also attempted to clarify the location of Bella's room, which, as seen in the first film, seemed to be located in the front of the house, when in reality it was on the right-hand side. Complications arose when the Portland house was repainted after Twilight's release, which took away the aging the house had come to depict in the film. When recreating the house, the production team referenced the first film on high-definition Blu-ray Disc.
As a director, Weitz had the pleasure of introducing and filming on new locations and sets. Of particular interest was the Quileute reservation and Jacob's house. Using the Quileute country in Washington as a basis, the production team decided to place Jacob's house on the edges of the territory, rather than in the community, because of Jacob's attachment to the wolves. To Weitz, Jacob's house was the stepping stone into the forest world, where the reality of the werewolves is hidden. The production designer was faced with a "real world" versus "book world" challenge when the barn they located, described in the book as a red barn, was green. Initially bordered by a green fence, the decision of painting the barn, aging it, and renovating the exterior proved to be a layout that fit well with Jacob's character.
After scouting more than twelve possible locations to film scenes that would take place in Volterra, Italy, the scouting team selected the town of Montepulciano, which they believe was the best representation of Meyer's description in the book. Principal photography concluded with the scenes that were filmed in this area from May 25 through the 29. For the face-off between the Volturi and Edward, the idea was to have a bigger "bang", rather than just the paralysis of Edward. Initially what was a huge battle with vampires being thrown everywhere turned into a one-on-one fight between Felix and Edward, after receiving a stamp of approval from Meyer. The idea quickly changed from the typical outlandish battle, to portraying Edward as an average guy caught in the middle of a bad situation; for Bella, conveying the feeling of being caught in the middle of a group of vampires fighting was important as well. This scene also required special effects, stunt work, and figuring out how to portray vampires fighting at very fast speeds.
Overseeing the visual effects department for New Moon was Susan MacLeod, who had previously worked with Weitz during the production of The Golden Compass. MacLeod enlisted Tippett Studio to create the computer generated wolves, while Prime Focus of Vancouver handled the effects of the vampires. To prepare for the aggressive task of making the wolves look real, Tippet artists studied wolf culture. They also were able to reflect leadership and human muscle size by adjusting certain features of the wolves, such as their fat and tallness. In February 2009, a group of artists were able to travel to Wolf Mountain Sanctuary, outside of Los Angeles, and see real wolves. The artists were able to observe the behavior of both the timber and arctic wolves, who ran in packs of three to five. The idea was to give everyone a deeper feeling of the creature that they were creating.
MacLeod explained that creating the shape-shifting werewolves was not an easy task. The wolf work included shooting "plates", or photographic imagery into which CG creations are integrated. Since the book described the wolves as being as big as horses, full-scale aluminum and board wolf cutouts were used as a visual reference for both actors and crew members. Once the actors had a reference, the cutouts would be removed allowing the cameras to capture the scene. In order for the CG wolves to be in sync with the live action cameras and actors' movements, the team used match movers, a land surveying tool that recorded the shooting location's topography with reference marks.
A raw 3D model of Jacob's wolf was the basis for creating the others. A muscle system, which gave the appearance of muscles firing and flexing, contributed to this model. From there, the initial fur layout went to painters who were responsible for its color and groom. They also added characteristics, such as wet hair clumping together, and applied it to the fur. They refined this look before passing it off to the lighting and technical directors.
One challenge for the production team was how to convey Bella's depression once Edward departs. In the novel, these pages were filled with the names of the passing months, and in the movie, would be represented as a visual effects shot with a camera circling around Kristen Stewart. The window that was used for the original film did not quite fit what Weitz was looking for, so the production team created a bay window when recreating the Swan house. The effect was one of the 300 visual effects helmed by Prime Focus led by visual effects supervisor Eric Pascarelli. It required matching two camera shots: one that shot the actress in a chair, and the other shooting the view outside the window as seen from the house built on location. Using a greenscreen, Prime Focus was able to enhance the changing of seasons with computer-generated leaves and falling snow.
The score for New Moon was composed by Alexandre Desplat while the rest of the soundtrack was chosen by music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas, who also produced the Twilight soundtrack. The Twilight Saga: New Moon: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on October 16, 2009, by Patsavas' Chop Shop label, in conjunction with Atlantic Records. It debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and climbed to number one a week later after selling 153,000 copies in its first full week of release.
In February 2009 it was announced that the franchise would take the name The Twilight Saga with the book's title separated by a colon, though the title that appears on-screen is simply New Moon. The first promotional poster was released on May 19, 2009. On May 31, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner revealed the film's first trailer at the MTV Movie Awards. Following the release of the trailer, two scenes from the film were presented at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con. A 14-second preview of the second trailer was released online on August 12, 2009, and the full-length trailer was featured before theater showings of the film Bandslam. The film's third trailer was shown at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 13, 2009. Spike TV also aired a new trailer at the 2009 Scream Awards on October 27, 2009.
American Idol finalist Allison Iraheta hosted an 8-minute block prior to the showing of the film in over 1,200 theaters across the United States, where she talked about her upcoming album and played some tracks, including "Friday I'll Be Over U", "Pieces", and "Trouble Is". In addition, prior to the film's release, author Stephenie Meyer made an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show to promote the film.
Many theater showings sold out as early as two months prior to New Moon's release date. The film set records for advance ticket sales, causing some theaters to add additional showings. The film is also the biggest advance ticket seller on Fandango, surpassing Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. New Moon accounted for 86 percent of Fandango's online ticket sales the weekend before the film was released, and its total morning ticket sales on November 20, 2009 are estimated to total $13.9 million.
Various midnight release parties were held to help promote the film's DVD and Blu-ray Disc release on March 20, 2010, in the United States and on March 22, 2010, in the United Kingdom. Special features include an audio commentary by director Chris Weitz and editor Peter Lambert, a behind the scenes documentary, and music videos. Unlike the DVD and Blu-ray Disc versions, the Ultimate Fan Edition DVD includes a 7-minute first look at the sequel, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Within its first weekend of release in the U.S., the film sold over 4 million units, beating Twilight's 3.8 million units sold in its first two days. In North American DVD sales, the film has currently grossed $185,166,822 and has sold more than 8,864,541 units.
New Moon set records as the biggest midnight opening in domestic (United States and Canada) box office history, grossing an estimated $26.3 million in 3,514 theaters. The record was previously held by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which grossed $22.2 million domestically during its midnight premiere. In 2010, the following sequel, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, broke New Moon's record with $30 million in over 4,000 theaters but surpassed by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, which made $43.5 million in 2011. The film grossed $72.7 million on its opening day domestically, becoming the biggest single-day opening in domestic history, beating The Dark Knight's $67.2 million. This opening strongly contributed to another record — the first time that the Top 10 films at the domestic box office had a combined gross of over $100 million in a single day. The record was later broken in 2011 by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, which made $91.1 million.
New Moon's opening weekend is the ninth highest opening weekend in domestic history with $142,839,137 and is also has the 10th highest worldwide opening weekend with $274.9 million total. At the time of its release, the film achieved the highest weekend debut in November, breaking Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire's record ($102.7 million) until The Hunger Games: Catching Fire surpassed it with $158.1 million. With an estimated budget of just under $50 million, it is the least expensive movie to ever open to more than $200 million worldwide. On Thanksgiving weekend, the film grossed $42.5 million, and including Wednesday and Thursday ticket sales, grossed $66 million. It has earned $230.7 million in total since opening last week, 22% more than the previous film grossed in its entire theatrical run. Internationally, the film grossed roughly $85 million over the weekend, adding up to a total worldwide gross of $473.7 million in 10 days. In its third weekend New Moon grossed $15.7 million in the domestic market and another $40.7 million internationally for a worldwide gross of $570.1 million. In its fourth weekend, the film dropped down to #4 with an estimated $10 million, bringing its domestic total to $296,623,634.
New Moon has received generally negative reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 28% of 220 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 4.7 out of 10. The site's general consensus is that "The Twilight Saga's second installment may satisfy hardcore fans of the series, but outsiders are likely to be turned off by its slow pace, relentlessly downcast tone, and excessive length." On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 reviews from film critics, the film has a rating score of 44 based on 32 reviews.
Robert Ignizio of the Cleveland Scene described the film as an "entertaining fantasy", and noted that it "has a stronger visual look [than Twilight] and does a better job with its action scenes while still keeping the focus on the central love triangle." Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post gave the film 4 and half stars out of four, praised Kristen Stewart's performance in the film and wrote, "Despite melodrama that, at times, is enough to induce diabetes, there's enough wolf whistle in this sexy, scary romp to please anyone." The Seattle Post-Intelligencer gave the film a "B" grading and said, "the movie looks tremendous, the dialogue works, there are numerous well placed jokes, the acting is on point."
Time Out New York gave the film 4 stars out of 5, calling it "acceptable escapism for those old enough to see it yet still young enough to shriek at undead dreamboats." Jordan Mintzer from Variety stated, "Stewart is the heart and soul of the film", and added that she "gives both weight and depth to dialogue...that would sound like typical chick-lit blather in the mouth of a less engaging actress, and she makes Bella's psychological wounds seem like the real deal."
British film critic Mark Kermode gave the film a positive review, saying, "After an initial 20-minute dip, when I thought, 'This is actually going to be two-hours of mopey-mopey,' I thought it found its feet." He also excused the film's characterization of Taylor Lautner's character, saying, "The sight of the buff, young guys running through the forest with their tops off was slightly smirk-inducing. But it's fine. They know what their target-audience is."
Mick Lasalle from the San Francisco Chronicle responded with a more mixed review, stating, "[E]xpect this film to satisfy its fans. Everybody else, get ready for a bizarre soap opera/pageant, consisting of a succession of static scenes with characters loping into the frame to announce exactly what they're thinking." Digital Spy gave the film 2 stars out of 5, praising Kristen Stewart for "carrying the film on her shoulders and, once again, bringing plenty of soul to a character who might otherwise come across as self-indulgent", but was critical of its lack of action, ultimately calling it "a draining experience". Roger Ebert gave the film 1 star out of 4 and said that it "takes the tepid achievement of Twilight, guts it, and leaves it for undead." Richard Roeper graded New Moon with a C− and called it a "plodding, achingly slow, 130-minute chapter in the saga".
Since its release, New Moon has received several nominations and awards. In March 2010, the film received the ShoWest Fandango Fan Choice Award for 2009's Best Movie. At the 2010 Empire Awards, Pattinson was nominated for Best Actor and Anna Kendrick was nominated for Best Newcomer., the film won the award for Best Fantasy Film, while Pattinson won an award for Best Performance. At the 2010 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, the film was nominated for Best Movie, but lost to Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Lautner won an award for Favorite Movie Actor, and Jacob and Bella, who were also nominated alongside Edward and Bella, won an award for Best Couple. At the 2010 MTV Movie Awards, Pattinson, who was nominated alongside Stewart and Lautner, won the award for Global Superstar; the Best Male Performance award was also given to Pattinson, who was, again, nominated against Lautner. Stewart and Pattinson won the award for Best Kiss, while New Moon won the award for Best Movie. For the 2010 Teen Choice Awards, held on August 8, the film and its actors were given a combined total of ten nominations, eight of which the film won, and three separate awards going to The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. In addition, the film was nominated for Best Horror Film and Taylor Lautner was nominated for Best Performance by a Younger Actor at the 36th Saturn Awards, but lost to Drag Me To Hell and Saoirse Ronan, respectively. Lautner was also nominated for Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Actor at the 2010 Young Artist Awards. However, it was nominated for four Razzies: Worst Supporting Actor (Robert Pattinson), Worst Screen Couple (Kristen Stewart and either Taylor Lautner or Robert Pattinson), Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel and Worst Screenplay.
In February 2009, Summit Entertainment scheduled a film adaptation of Eclipse, the third novel in the Twilight series, for release on June 30, 2010. Weitz would not be able to direct the third film of The Twilight Saga as it would be filming while New Moon would be in post-production. David Slade was therefore confirmed as the director of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse on April 22, 2009.