Welcome to the YA Movie Countdown, our resident expert’s biweekly guide to young-adult book-to-film adaptations.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1
With The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’s November 21 release date coming up, Lionsgate just released a brand new set of character posters. That last batch primarily stuck to familiar faces, like Finnick and Effie, but this time we're getting a closer look at some of the film's new characters, namely Katniss' camera crew, which includes Cressida (Natalie Dormer), Pollux (Elden Henson), Messalla (Evan Ross) and Castor (Wes Chatham). We also got a poster for Katniss' personal protector, Boggs (Mahershala Ali), and Gale, too. You can check them all out below.
(Click on the images to enlarge)
Lionsgate is also somewhat responsible for the new viral images hitting the Web. You may have seen some photos pop up on social media sites showing off the Mockingjay symbol on walls, homes and even famous monuments, but they’re actually coming from the iPhone application. Thanks to Our Leader the Mockingjay app, you can put the Mockingjay or the District 13 logo just about anywhere. On top of that, it also lets you locate marks other people have made in your vicinity.
It would have been kind of cool if the Lionsgate team really was running around spray-painting the Mockingjay all over the world, but this is a pretty genius way to make fans feel involved while promoting the film in a cost effective manner. Go scroll through the #OLTM hashtag. There are loads of clever marks up there, like the ones below.
Director Francis Lawrence is also doing a little promoting of his own. He recently did an interview with EW and revealed quite a bit about where we’ll find Katniss at the start of the next film:
“It’s a very confusing, conflicted, complicated time for Katniss. Having gone through the games one more time and having lost Peeta and having been run through the wringer, she’s even more damaged. So you find her in a more agitated place. She’s distraught, confused, angry.”
If you’ve read the books, you know that things get pretty bleak in Mockingjay – yes, bleaker than kids killing kids - but Lawrence says the film version will have some levity to it.
“There’s definitely some battles. There’s some of the first glimpses of real war in this movie. And the scale gets quite big. There’s an atonal shift from some of the last movies, but they’re still very emotional, very sweeping, [on a] grand scale with some levity and humor.”
However, don’t expect many big story changes in the film. There will be elements that will “surprise even fans of the book,” but Lawrence highlighted that the adaptation process didn’t involve much changing, but rather, adding.
“Instead of changing the plot and changing characters what we did was have the opportunity to show scenes that could have been happening at different times in the book. For us it’s world expansion instead of changing things. I think it’s exciting for the fan to see certain things. So we’ve been able to open the world up in this and see some new places. We get to see some new districts this time and the scope gets quite large.”
Ever since it was first announced that Mockingjay would be split into two films, we’ve all been wondering, where exactly will that split occur? Lawrence wouldn’t reveal that because it’s going to be one of the “really good surprises,” but he did say that both Mockingjay films will have “two different, very distinct stories,” and added the following:
“Those objectives became the motives for us. This is where the meaning of the entire series comes into play. The answer to why these books exist exists in Mockingjay, and that’s really been exciting to me. That’s been kind of what I’ve hung on to through these stories.”
And because it’s for a great cause and is also loads of fun, check out Francis Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Ninja Jacobson’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos. Also, don’t forget to keep spreading the word yourself and if you can, donate a little something by clicking here.
The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner is practically right around the corner now, so Fox is really revving up the promotional push. The film’s trailers are great and all, but there’s really no better way to gauge its big-screen potential than by checking out clips from the film, of which there are now three new ones.
The one titled “Good Job” is easily the best of the bunch and confirms that Dylan O’Brien can carry this film. He barely says anything, but through looks alone he offers up a clear sense of where Thomas’ head is at and how high the stakes are, upping the intensity of the moment tenfold. It’s quite likely that Will Poulter will manage to make a lasting impression as well. Based on what we’ve seen thus far, and especially in the new clip “Fight,” Poulter will sell Gally as a viable antagonist, but not without a little charm to keep him engaging and entertaining.
This new batch of clips also gives us our first good look at Blake Cooper in action. He’s the young actor who lobbied for his role on Twitter, got Wes Ball’s attention and wound up living his dream and playing Chuck in the movie.
Get a preview of what Cooper, Poulter and O’Brien can do in the clips below. The Maze Runner arrives in theaters on September 19.
Divergent and Insurgent
This probably won’t come as much of a surprise, but as reported by International Business Times, Lionsgate will use the release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 to build a little Insurgent buzz. At the company’s fiscal 2015 first-quarter earnings conference, CEO Jon Feltheimer announced that the Insurgent trailer will get its big-screen debut ahead of Mockingjay – Part 1 on November 21.
On top of that, there’s talk about making even more Divergent movies. Insurgent doesn’t hit theaters until March 20, 2015 and we still have the two Allegiant movies coming after that, but Feltheimer is dropping hints that more could be in the works. Four: A Divergent Collection is out in stores now and is apparently doing well, so when asked if they’ll make a fifth film, Feltheimer teased, “We certainly hope so.”
The Indiegogo campaign for the Vampire Academy sequel, Frostbite, is up and running. They’ve raised a little over $217,000 thus far, which is a nice chunk of cash, but their goal is $1.5 million and they’ve only got 10 days left to hit it.
YA at the Box Office
We got two new YA-to-film releases in the last two weeks and, sadly, neither of them are doing very well. The Giver kicked off its run in fifth place with just $12.3 million in total. The film only cost $25 million to make, so there’s a chance this won’t be that big of a loss for the Weinstein Company, but when you’ve got a film based on beloved, award-winning source material that stars Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, you’re probably hoping for more than $24.4 million after two weeks in theaters.
If I Stay is in a little better shape. That one only ran Warner Bros. an $11 million production tab and it opened with more than that, $15.7 million in total. A $5,394 per theater average definitely isn’t something to be thrilled about, but with no teen-friendly or romance options making their way into theaters this weekend, If I Stay does have a shot at retaining 60% of its opening profits.
Perri’s Predictions – $3.5 million for The Giver in weekend three, $9.5 million for If I Stay in weekend two.
The YA Movie Countdown runs here on Movies.com every other Wednesday.
MORE FROM AROUND THE WEB: