Some young-adult franchises are made for the movies. And some just aren’t.
On the eve of the release of “Divergent” -- an adaptation of the works of author Veronica Roth, about a dystopian future society -- star Shailene Woodley is being tipped as the next Jennifer Lawrence, who rose to mega-fame on the back of literary adaptation “The Hunger Games.” And before those two, there was Kristen Stewart in the vampire saga “Twilight,” the progenitor of all YA franchises that set heaving emotion against a backdrop of the supernatural or the dystopian.
But for each successful adaptation, there’s one that completely falls flat -- one whose aesthetic or conceit isn’t as appealing, say. (Vampires are generally good, but elaborate Greek-god or demon mythology gets confusing quickly.) Or one whose cast isn’t as well-chosen, or that lost something in translation. It takes a lot fewer fans to make a book series perceived to be a hit than it does to make a movie profitable, and these potential franchises, which seemed so full of potential for studio executives trying to draw in tweens, simply couldn’t captivate moviegoers. The sequels never got made, and DVDs of the solo outings for the likes of “The Mortal Instruments” or “Beautiful Creatures” float around in a Redbox somewhere. It’s almost poignant, in the manner of a good YA novel.
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