Can Robert Pattinson be a movie star without 'Twilight'?

The British heartthrob is back on the Hollywood radar screen with "Water for Elephants." But is there life after Edward?

Robert Pattinson in his movie "Water for Elephants," which drew $17.5 million opening weekend from an older audience than the Twilight star is used to.
(Image credit: Facebook/ Water for Elephants)

Robert Pattinson is best known for his role as Edward, the moody vampire/sex symbol in three hit Twilight movies. He hasn't had much luck in the past with artier onscreen fare. His 2008 Salvador Dalí biopic Little Ashes and last year's Remember Me were both duds. But last weekend, Pattinson scored a modest hit with Water for Elephants, an adaption of Sara Gruen's best-selling novel about a traveling circus in the 1930s. The film, which co-stars Reese Witherspoon, earned $17.5 million at the box office, appealing mostly to an older audience. Does this mean he has a bright post-Twilight future ahead of him?

This is a start: "Pattinson has yet to prove he is an evergreen box-office draw, outside of vamping it up in the Twilight series," says Jeff Bock, a box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations, as quoted by MTV. But Water for Elephants is a step in the right direction, since "it wasn't too much of a stretch," and appeals to his core audience of women. Plus, Pattinson avoided the mistake of many matinee idols, who play a "drug dealer or pathological killer just to shed their public persona" and end up alienating their fans.

"Does Water for Elephants prove Robert Pattinson's box-office draw?"

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It depends what Pattinson does next: So is there life after Twilight for Pattinson? "That remains to be seen," say Lindsay Powers and Lauren Schutte at The Hollywood Reporter. To capitalize on the modest success of his new film, says one casting director, Pattinson should try to avoid more romantic roles, and follow the lead of Johnny Depp, whose diverse career choices have led to superstardom.

"Can Robert Pattinson have a career outside of Twilight?"

Elephants' success has little to do with Pattinson: This storyline and character did fit Pattinson's skills perfectly, says Box Office Mojo President Brandon Gray, as quoted by The Wall Street Journal. But the young actor "is still a relatively unproven draw." Seventy percent of the movie's audience was over 25, and those viewers might have gone to see the more established Reese Witherspoon, not Pattinson.

"'Water for Elephants:' Is there life after Twilight?"

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