In big news for fans of young adult fiction, the big screen adaptation of “Divergent” is tracking to make a good deal of money in its opening weekend. According to reports, the movie based on the first of Veronica Roth’s trilogy of young adult novels, is tracking to make between $50 and $60 million in its opening weekend. With the movie still three weeks away, this might finally be the next big young adult franchise.
With “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” doing so well at the box office, many young adult novels headed to the big screen, but realistically, outside of “The Hunger Games,” most of them fell short. Here is a look at some of the more recent efforts that failed to light the box office world on fire as “Divergent” tries to buck the trend.
“Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” should have been a huge movie success. It was based on the Greek Gods children, with Percy the son of Poseidon. It took the same dynamic as the “Harry Potter” franchise with a hero and two friends, a male and female. Plus, it was based on the very popular series of novels by Rick Riordan, which has sold more than 20 million books. It didn’t happen. The first movie opened with a $31.2 million take and then dropped more than 50 percent in its second weekend. Bad word of mouth by fans who were disappointed in the changes made between the movie and the books killed the movie. It ended up making $7 million less in domestic take than its production budget. It did finish with a nice worldwide take over $200 million, so the studio decided to try to save things with a sequel.
“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” was better than the original movie, but the damage of the first movie killed the second one as well. With the same budget, the second effort only opened with $14.4 million in its first weekend and finished at $68 million domestic and only $131 million worldwide. The franchise now appears dead in the water.
“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”
Based on the series written by Cassandra Clare, “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” told the story of a girl in New York City who discovers a world that no one else can see, a world of demons and warriors. While “Percy Jackson” was similar in structure to the “Harry Potter” franchise, “City of Bones” was similar to Twilight, with more action and romantic angst. Maybe it was too close to the end of “Twilight” and fans were suffering fatigue from this kind of story, but “City of Bones” crashed and burned harder than “Percy Jackson,” only making $9.3 million in its opening weekend and finishing with $31 million domestic and only $90 million worldwide, one of the biggest flops in the young adult adaptation craze. Amazingly, they are still considering a sequel.
Arguably, one of the better young adult adaptations came out in 2013 with “Beautiful Creatures,” a movie based on the novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, a story about magic and the battle against evil. Probably what helped this movie achieve better success than “City of Bones” was a stellar cast, that included Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons and Viola Davis, and a smarter script that the one that weighed “Percy Jackson” down. The movie was another flop, making $7.5 million in its opening weekend and finishing with a horrible $19.4 million domestic and only $60 million worldwide, only breaking even with its production budget.
All box office numbers thanks to boxofficemojo.com.