Are Y.A. Franchise Films Dead?

By: Robert Kessler / September 11, 2013

If you were rushing to finish the full Mortal Instruments book series before the movies come out, you can slow down. Production on the sequel to The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones has been shut down indefinitely, likely making it the third Y.A. based-on-a-book franchise hopeful that’s DOA. So is there a future for this genre that, in the era of Harry Potter and Twilight, once looked so promising?

This year saw the premieres of The HostBeautiful Creatures and Mortal Instruments. All three movies failed to make a dent at the box office. In fact, the three combined grossed only $145 million, less than a quarter of the $829 million The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 made all on its own. However, the first Hunger Games installment was a success and the second movie, out this November, will likely be an even bigger smash. Plus there’s Divergent on the horizon and, who knows, maybe people have been dying to see Kate Winslet and Maggie Q share the screen for years. The mind reels.

The failures of these franchises says less about the Y.A. genre than it does about Hollywood. In a rush to capitalize on the success of Harry Potter and Twilight, studios were quick to greenlight any project about a special young person based on a book series. Audiences are not that dumb, and Clary Fray is no Harry Potter. Audiences voted with their wallets and decided one Mortal Instruments movie (which currently holds a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) was enough. There’s room for success in the Y.A. genre, but just make sure it’s good before you expect us to eat it up.