Movie adaption decline in ratings for young adult novels

Courtesy of Lionsgate publicity

Before superhero movies were the trend, young adult fantasy and dystopian movies dominated the theaters. Now there are hardly any recent blockbuster young adult series on the big screen.

Some movie studios such as Summit Entertainment, 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures started to put this genre on the map by adapting popular young-adult books into movies.

The first major movie break- through was with the “Harry Potter” Series (2001-2012). After this, many young-adult fiction books were soon to be filmed. Some included “The Hunger Games” trilogy (2012- 2014), “Percy Jackson” series (2010-2013) and “The Twilight Saga” (2008-2012).

Dr. Erika Travis, associate professor of English and behav- ioral sciences, said young adult books were chosen by studios because of their popularity.

“Movie studios often take successful books as the basis for movies because it gives them a ready-made audience,” Travis said. “The name recognition helps with marketing and they already have strong evidence that people are interested.”

This movie genre, which was once a smash hit, has seen its fire go out in recent years.

“The Darkest Minds” (2018), the newest young-adult movie, took in around $38 million from their $34 million budget in its first weeks in theaters.

Its box office performance shows this genre does not get the support it did before in which “The Hunger Games” (2012) made around $694 million from its $78 million budget.

Movies such as “The 5th Wave” (2016), “The Maze Runner: Death Cure” (2018) and “The Divergent Series: Allegiant” (2016) also did poorly with critics and in the box office.

Sierra Carlin, junior English and liberal studies double major, said audiences do not see the movies anymore because they do not read the books.

“It’s a lost connection to books,” Carlin said. “People used to read the books then watch the movies but now people don’t read as much.”

However, not all fantasy and dystopian movies have been shoved aside.

“Miss Peregrine’s ‘Home for Peculiar Children’” (2016) grossed around $296 million.

The recent, popular young-adult fantasy series, “How to Train Your Dragon,” has been received positively by critics, done well in the box o ce and has a third movie releasing in 2019.

Fantasy and dystopian are only two subcategories of the young-adult genre.

Audiences seem to be leaving fantasy and dystopian movies behind and focusing on real-life young-adult movies, such as “The Fault in Our Stars” (2014), “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (2012), and recently “Love, Simon” (2018), with all three movies earning more than an 80 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Emma Coates, senior film studies major, said one way to possibly revive the genre is to be memorable and not look at past movie trends.

“Any film can hold strong themes that have stood the test of time, but an original one must also meet its audience’s needs,” Coates said. “The next great franchise in the young-adult genre will stop trying to remake old box office hits and actually create an entirely new understanding of the genre it-self.”

Based on box office revenues from “The Hunger Games” and “The Darkest Minds,” young adult fantasy and dystopian movies are not profiting like they did before and movie studios should adjust accordingly.

Not only are these movies trying to find their footing but must also compete with other movie genres.

Movie producers must think outside the box for the next blockbuster or they will continually be ignored by young adults.

Leave a Reply