ya moviesBig corporations preying on the young and innocent is a surefire formula in every industry from fast food to footwear. Children, teens, and young adults have always been a target demographic due to burning desires and fiscal irresponsibility. In the entertainment industry, this is no different. In fact, it very well could be worse.

Few writers broke out so dominantly into the Young Adult (YA) market like J.K. Rowling did when she penned her first "Harry Potter" novel. Every tween with the gift of literacy wanted to tie a bandana around a stick and march off into academia -- the witchcraft and wizardry kind, of course.

What studio heads saw in Rowling's books wasn't a chance to spread the magic of Hogwarts into the heart of every child near and far, it was more along the line that vertically intercepts a capital 'S'.

YA novels have been formulaically adapted from paper to film since "Harry Potter" sparked the trend over a decade ago. Critically, there is nothing significant about the movies that came from Rowling's novels. To the trained adult eye, they are bland and predictable; but what is bland and predictable to mom and dad can be quite different to the eye of a child or teenager with a vast imagination.

This trend has left us with a string of dull and monotonous films that could only have been enjoyed if they were remotely relatable to a more experienced audience (and with open access to Jordan Belfort's pharmaceutical cabinet). Minding the replacement of wooden wands with shiny fangs, many of us thought the "Twilight" saga would be the second coming of a magical teen fantasy.

Predictably, the films finished their run as more of a mockery than a good memory. Then came the "Hunger Games" franchise and the most recent "Divergent" series.

Admittedly, I never took the time to watch every "Twilight" film, but I have seen each installment of the other franchises discussed above. And to the derangement of my meager, aging brain; once you've seen one, you've seen 'em all.

I've heard some positive things about the "Hunger Games" films, although I personally dislike them. I've also heard a lot of positive things about "Harry Potter" movies, and I actually enjoyed the first few. But after the tanking of "Twilight" and the majority consensus by critics that "Divergent" and "Insurgent" should be avoided like a drunken uncle, there could very well be a coming demise to the YA franchises in Hollywood.

And these are just the big time pictures. Recent films that were based off YA novels such as "The Giver," "I Am Number Four," "The Maze Runner," and dozens of others have had mixed critical reviews to put it lightly. Greenlight after greenlight has mature audiences scratching their heads as to why they have to keep taking their kids to see such repetitive military-grade torture.

The answer is simple: money. For as many YA movies that bomb, there are almost as many that succeed. It's the same concept that we see practiced through superhero movies on a consistent basis: if America's youth keeps turning up in the seats, Hollywood will keep churning out the content.

As long as the scab keeps getting scratched off, the wound will continue to bleed. Unfortunately, the people buying the tickets are the ones getting bled on. One can only hope that these movies will see their day soon enough. But with "Furious 7" proving to be a box office powerhouse, it's apparent that in Tinseltown, anything's possible.

Jack Heyden is a sophomore at the University of Illinois and a contributor to Moviefone's Campus Beat. Are you a current college student with a love for all things movies and TV? Contribute to Campus Beat!
categories Movies