For every phenomenon like Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games, several other fantastic youth franchises based on bestselling books are dying on the beach. Success is not easy. And many still seem to believe that it is enough to put overproduction in the place for your target audience to consume it like water.
CinePOP has put together a list of the 15 best films in the genre that haven’t worked in theaters – or have seen their sagas interrupted on the big screen. Come and see.
The Golden Compass (2007)
We started the list with something that motivated it. Before becoming an expected series on HBO, Philip Pullman’s work attempted to make it to the big screen without success. Here we have a polar bear with the voice of Sir Ian McKellen, and Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Eva Green leading the cast. The story shows little Lyra’s journey to save her kidnapped friends in a parallel universe. Although it exists as a trilogy in literary form, only the first copy has been adapted for cinema – since the film did not achieve the expected success. What was on everyone’s mind, however, was the scene in which Kidman slaps his pet: a golden lion tamarin.
Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
This is also a series of books by author Daniel Handler, using his pseudonym Lemony Snicket. The story tells the story of a trio of orphaned brothers who, after their parents die in a fire, must move in with their distant wicked uncle, Count Olaf (lived by a Jim Carrey in a state of glory). The feature also includes Meryl Streep, and despite its quality, has not achieved the expected success. Netflix acquired the works and turned them into a series (launched in 2017), so it could adapt the rest of the story.
Percy Jackson (2010)
It hurts the hearts of fans. There are five books by author Rick Riordan on young Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The story of the normal boy (role of Logan Lerman) who finds himself a descendant of the gods of Olympus and needs to learn about his powers at a suitable school for it, went to movies in 2010, starring Percy Jackson and the lightning thief – the first book. The movie wasn’t as successful as expected, but due to an enthusiastic legion of fans, FOX pushed the bar and released the sequel three years later: Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters (2013). Once again without the expected result, the studio stopped production. Now you have to wait for a streaming channel to pick it up as a series.
The Chronicles of Narnia (2005)
A similar case happened with this franchise based on a classic work. Author CS Lewis was a colleague of JRR Tolkien (author of Lord of the Rings) and is said to have influenced even his most famous literary work. In the movies, however, the fate of friends franchises was much different. As The Lord of the Rings became a phenomenon filling Warner’s coffers, The Chronicles of Narnia with each copy lost strength until canceled. The first two films were released by Disney, who no longer wanted the property, being acquired by FOX for the release of the third film. After that, the franchise was stopped in theaters.
Part of a quadrangle of books written by the young Chistopher Paolini, the story took a clear turn in classical fantasy mythology, with medieval warriors and talking dragons – here the protagonist creature was voiced by Rachel Weisz. Despite this claim, FOX decided to stop at the very first, after the film failed across the world.
The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)
Over the past decade, every Hollywood producer has seen the future by adapting fantastic youthful works for film. Few were right. Produced by Paramount and Nickelodeon, here we have a story about elves, fairies, and dark magic surrounding the surroundings of a house in the forest. Talented young Freddie Highmore is the one who plays in a dual role, living twin brothers. Despite a large amount of books within this universe, only one film has been adapted for cinema.
The Six Signs of Light (2007)
Based on the books by Susan Cooper, this is yet another story about a boy who finds himself “chosen” to fight the forces of evil. The protagonist is played by Alexander Ludwig, from the Vikings series and who will be in Bad Boys 3. Here we also have a series of five books that culminated in a single film, because its box office was not at all encouraging. for FOX to continue to invest in productions.
Nanny McPhee (2005)
Here is a curious story. Author Christianna Brand was the creator of the magical and extremely ugly character, who emerges as a modern Mary Poppins for the misbehaved children of a family. Whoever plays the protagonist is Oscar winner Emma Thompson, who also adapts the script. One of Thompson’s changes was precisely the name of the protagonist and the title of the work. Nanny McPhee was originally Nurse Matilda. Nurse was a nanny denomination in the 1960s when the book was published. And Matilda’s move was due to the 1996 film of the same name. In leaps and bounds, a second film was released five years later. But the third never saw the light of day.
Ink Heart (2008)
Part of a literary trilogy written by Cornelia Funke, this was another alleged series that ended early on, with only a first film produced. The story shows a girl discovering a supernatural gift from her father (played by Brendan Fraser). The subject manages to extract the characters from his books in the real world. Now together they must stop a terrible villain. Lady Helen Mirren is also part of the cast.
I’m number four (2011)
Authors James Frey and Jobie Hughes launched the I Am Number Four fantasy and fiction book series under the pseudonym Pittacus Lore. Despite the seven published books, this story about aliens living on Earth and fitting in the form of high school students and their families, has yielded only one film to date. Alex Pettyfer lived the protagonist.
Vampire Academy (2014)
Even the popularity of the Vampire Diaries series (2009-2017) was not enough to make this film stand out in popular taste upon its theatrical release. More in the mood for teenage comedies like The Patricians of Beverly Hills than a horror in itself, the feature film is based on author Richelle Mead’s series of books. The film, starring the charismatic Zoey Deutch, even came out direct on video here, bypassing our theaters.
Sixteen Moons (2013)
Part of a quadrilogy written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, this film was released following the success of Twilight – whose saga ended the year before – trying to capture its orphaned fans. The cinematic work is created in the same spirit: a forbidden romance between a human and a supernatural creature. Here, only a vampire clan is traded for a witch clan.
The Mortal Instruments (2013)
Another film that tried to make its way through the void left by Twilight, trying to launch Lily Collins’ career – which has yet to guarantee great success in its filmography. The sequel was already in production when it debuted. Faced with criticism and at the box office, the producers decided to suddenly cancel the second film. Three years later, the work became a television series, with a completely renewed cast.
If Sixteen Moons was the “Monday” Twilight, Divergent was clearly the “Monday” Hunger Games. Here, however, the blame lies with the ambitious producers. After the Harry Potter franchise decided to split their latest book into two films, to better fit the story, all Hollywood producers actually saw the opportunity to profit more. So, Twilight and the Hunger Games also attempted to split their latest books into two films. Divergent, who was not a phenomenon with those mentioned (despite the large cast led by Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet), decided to do the same with the works of Veronica Roth – a trilogy originally. Thus, after the more than lukewarm result of the third film, the studio refused to produce a fourth. And the story is not over.
The Vampire Apprentice (2009)
Part of a twelve-book saga, written by Darren Shan, the work was adapted for theaters in 2009 – with the participation of names like John C. Reilly and Salma Hayek, and directed by Paul Weitz (A Big Boy) . A circus of monsters ruled by a vampire is the subject of this fake horror story. Interestingly, the author includes himself in the story as the protagonist, a young man who comes into contact with these supernatural beings. The film was not successful and did not continue its adventures on the screens.
Maze Runner (2014)
Like many adaptations of the genre, Maze Runner had a promising start in film. The sequel deteriorated and soon after, when tragedy hit production. Young Dylan O’Brien (the protagonist) suffered a serious accident while filming, which took three years off until the third film. Despite being six books, the producers decided to end the saga with the third film in theaters, to avoid further problems. A curious and unprecedented case. At least they gave the story a conclusion.
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