Is the YA frenzy cooling off?
Studios have been snapping up the film rights to book franchises in the hopes of hitting on the next "Twilight" or "Hunger Games." For a while, it looked like Cassandra Clare's "The Mortal Instruments" books would be the next big thing, but a poor box office showing for this summer's first installment, "City of Bones," has put the future of the franchise in question.
Even as recently as August, when "City of Bones" opened, director Harald Zwart was in pre-production on "City of Ashes." However, production company Constantin Film has issued a release announcing that those plans have been put on hold while they work to "analyze the results to date and reposition the franchise in order to maximize results for future installments."
Things were looking iffy even before "City of Ashes" opened, but the folks behind the movie were trying to put a positive spin on it. At the time, Constantin co-president and producer Robert Kulzer told the Los Angeles Times, "Even if the movie performs moderately, it will still warrant a sequel. Now that $60 million has been spent worldwide on prints and advertising, you can already see how the book sales are accelerating, the soundtrack is hitting the charts. Even if the first one doesn't become a gigantic success, we will have a profitable track ahead of us."
But when a bestseller like "City of Bones" can't even earn back half of its $60 million production budget at the U.S. box office (to date, it's earned $28 million domestically), well, we can all do the math.
Martin Moszkowicz, the head of the studio and also an executive producer on the series, made a statement reinforcing their commitment to adapting the books for future movies. "Pushing back the start of production of 'City of Ashes' was a decision we did not take lightly," he said. "But after speaking with all of our partners on the creative and distribution side, it was clear that it will be beneficial to have more time to reposition the film in the current marketplace."
Around the time of the "City of Bones" premiere, Clare was diplomatic -- if not exactly confident -- about the adaptation. "I feel like I'm the worst person to be objective," the author told the L.A. Times. "It's my book, and it feels very personal. I think fans are going to like it. The characters look right. The interactions between the characters look right, the settings look right. But there are book purists out there, and they want everything the same. It's a lot for Harald to take in. ... But there are pieces of the world-building that I love that they couldn't fit into the story. It's called 'Mortal Instruments,' but you are only introduced to one. I miss the other instruments."
Is it possible that the changes to the story turned off the large fan base?
[via THR, L.A. Times]