Host of teen supernatural books bound for big screen
05:00 AM, Mar 13, 2013
Unleash the Twi-hards and may the odds be ever in your favor: With the success of young-adult book-to-movie adaptations such as Twilight and The Hunger Games, a swarm of similar teen supernatural novels is headed for the big screen.
Beautiful Creatures, based on Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s four-part series, kicked off the trend in February.
The Host, based on an adult best seller by Twilight creator Stephenie Meyer but likely to attract teen viewers with its young cast, arrives March 29. Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, adapted from young-adult author Cassandra Clare’s popular series, hits screens Aug. 23.
And that’s only the beginning. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, Divergent by Veronica Roth and Legend by Marie Lu are all in the pipeline.
But does having a host of teen readers guarantee a box-office hit?
“There’s no rigid formula that works, or else they’d be minting them, printing these movies out every two weeks. It’s really difficult to predict the next big thing,” says Keith Simanton, managing editor of IMDb. “But it’s worth even a chance of creating a franchise like Twilight.”
IMDb tracks the popularity of its movie and actor pages. Before Twilight was even being promoted, Simanton says, there was buzz building around star Robert Pattinson.
This time around, there’s no defined “it” factor to predict success. Beautiful Creatures grossed a disappointing $19 million, despite a large social media and advertising campaign. The following week, however, the books sold better than they ever have, claiming four of the top 10 spots on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list.
“It’s imperative to have that core base fans to spread the word,” Simanton says. “But even that is sometimes not enough. What was missing with Beautiful Creatures? Could have been the casting. The trailer.”
Clare, whose novel Clockwork Princess arrives Tuesday, has her own theory on why all the current teen novels are movie-ready.
“When you write for teens, you know you have to grab their attention quickly,” she says. “YA (young-adult) novels are plot-propelled. That makes them cinematic.”
Contributing: Bob Minzesheimer