If you remember Robert Pattinson as the teen heartthrob of the Twilight films, you might be a little surprised to learn the actor is now 34 years old. If, on the other hand, you’re even vaguely aware of the massive popularity of those self-same movies, you probably won’t be too surprised to learn he’s worth a small fortune.
But what if we were to say that small fortune isn’t exactly small… that our favorite vampire is, in fact, worth the stonking sum of $100 million? Because that, according to our friends over at Celebrity Net Worth is exactly what he is. Now, considering he spent his early twenties starring in a franchise that grossed no less than $3.3 billion worldwide, that figure makes a bit of sense. A bit. But $100 million is, by anyone’s reckoning, more than just a ‘bit’ of money. It’s a jaw-dropping, head-scratching, HUGE amount of money that surely takes a little more explaining than simply saying “Twilight” on repeat.
So, how did he do it? How did someone who, at the age of 12, was expelled from high school for shoplifting top-shelf magazines and selling them onto his classmates get to be one of the wealthiest actors of his generation? Hint – it’s something to do with a little film called Twilight….
Back to the Start
Pattinson was born in London on 13 May 1986 to mom Clare Charlton, a model agency booker, and dad Richard Pattinson, a vintage car dealer. Long before he set his sights on acting, Pattinson wanted to be a musician: by the age of four, he was already taking guitar and piano lessons; by the time he was in his teens, he was regularly performing his own material at open-mic nights up and down London.
But then something changed: although he never lost his passion for music, a new interest began to worm its way into his heart. He fell in love with the cinema, becoming so enraptured with the likes of Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, and Jean-Paul Belmondo that he decided his future, like theirs, belonged to the silver screen. At 15, he auditioned for his first play, Guys and Dolls – his performance as a silent Cuban dancer didn’t exactly set the stage on fire, but the experience proved a turning point. His next performance was in the lead role of George Gibbs in Our Town… as luck would have it, a talent agent happened to be sat in the audience. Pattinson was signed on the spot, and thus marked the beginning of his professional career.
The Twilight Years
It took Pattinson just two performances in amateur school productions to land a manager. It took just one TV appearance and one film role (his scenes in which actually ended up on the cutting room floor) before he landed the first major role of his career – that of Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. His performance as the handsome schoolboy won him instant acclaim – The Time’s called him the “British Star of Tomorrow” while the whole world and his mother had fun calling him “the next Jude Law”.
A few small roles followed. And then, in 2008, he landed the role of Edward Cullen in Twilight. Overnight, the film turned Pattinson from an up-and-coming talent into a huge movie star, earning him worldwide fame….and fortune. By the time The Twilight Saga: New Moon was released the following year, he’d become, as Forbes notes, one of the highest-earning and bankable stars of the day. The three final films in the franchise (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2) may have failed with the critics, but fans lapped them up. The franchise now ranks as the 18th highest-grossing franchise of all time, having grossed $3,346,157,056 worldwide. Although whether Pattinson cares more about that or the $12,500,000 per-movie salary he was drawing at the time is anyone’s guess.
Twilight may have made Pattinson a movie star, but it’s been 8 years since the final installment was released. So, what’s he been up to since? In a nutshell, doing something he never quite managed to do in the Twilight films – wowing the critics. Since 2014, Pattinson has chosen to feature in small, independent films that might not have done great shakes at the box office, but have done more for his reputation than all of his previous films combined.
A few of his most noteworthy roles in recent years have been in the futuristic western The Rover (which won him the comment “a career re-defining performance for Pattinson that reveals untold depths of sensitivity and feeling” from Scott Foundas of Variety), the satirical drama Maps to the Stars, Gertrude Bell’s biopic film Queen of the Desert, the neo-grindhouse thriller Good Time, and the psychological horror film The Lighthouse, his performance in which was described as “mesmeric” and a “sledgehammer punch” by Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, and “so transformative it’s jarring. You simply never thought he had it in him” by Gregory Ellwood of Collider.
We might know Pattinson best as an actor, but he’s not shied away from trying his hand at other ventures over the years. Modeling has been one of his most lucrative side projects – in addition to being the face of Dior Homme fragrance since 2013, he’s also the first ambassador ever to be appointed to Dior Homme Menswear. He’s clearly not just in it for the money though – in 2010, he turned down a $1 million deal to become the face of Burberry… although given he was pulling in $12,500,000 per Twilight film by then, $1 million probably seemed like small change.
You can’t talk about Robert Pattinson’s wealth without mentioning Twilight. And neither can you talk about his acting career without mentioning Edward Cullen. And yet somehow, neither define him. Pattinson has managed that rare feat – landed a career-defining role, and then successfully moved on from it. Rather than spending the last decade milking (and draining) his box office appeal by appearing in blockbusters of ever more dubious quality, he’s taken the intelligent route, carefully hand-selecting roles that have seen him rise from a pair of cheekbones and a smolder to a highly respected thespian – something that doesn’t only explain his current wealth, but also why it’s one that’s only set to grow.