Welcome to the YA Movie Countdown, our resident expert’s continued guide to young adult book-to-film adaptations.
In case you missed it, Movies.com had the opportunity to chat with Vampire Academy screenwriter Daniel Waters, and he showered us with information on his adaptation process, his thoughts on Rose, his hopes to continue to adapt the series, and loads more. You can check out the full interview right here.
We’ve also got some new material from a couple of the actors from the film. Lucy Fry (Lissa) recently took the time to talk Vampire Academy and enlighten us on what it took for her to adjust from the Australian sun to the Moroi’s late night existence. A brief video interview with the film’s Christian Ozera, Dominic Sherwood, also surfaced. In it, he answers a fan-submitted question, unveiling his favorite thing about his character and discussing the appeal of playing a vampire.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Sadly, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones isn’t doing so hot at the box office – domestically or abroad. So far it’s taken in just $24.3 million here and $9 million overseas, which makes just $33.4 million worldwide. Of course there’s still more foreign markets to hit, plus VOD and other home-video platforms, but on a $60 million production tab, that’s just not going to cut it.
However, according to THR, that’s not stopping Germany’s Constantin Film from moving forward with the sequel City of Ashes, and filming is set to begin in Toronto this fall. The company’s head of film and TV, Martin Moszkowicz, blamed “a strongly competitive environment” for the weak debut. Sure, TMI did face newcomers The World’s End and You’re Next in addition to powerful box office veterans like The Butler and We’re the Millers, but he fails to mention that they also plopped the film down during a notoriously slow time at the box office.
Regardless, THR also cites Constantin’s history of handling such poor performers, pointing out that even though The Three Musketeers took only $20 million domestically back in 2011, it still went on to accumulate $150 million worldwide. The Mortal Instruments will continue to expand its release throughout the fall and into the winter, but so far it’s underperforming in the territories it has hit thus far. It did crush Three Musketeers’ $935,301 start in Australia with $1.4 million of its own, but in Brazil, Russia and the United Kingdom, Three Musketeers is the stronger opener.
Meanwhile, Mortal Instruments author Cassandra Clare took to her personal website to speak to the fact that while some fans are raving about the adaptation, others aren’t satisfied. Point blank, she states, “I’ve always said I didn’t have ultimate control over this movie.” She adds, “In the end, a film is an interpretation: it’s the director’s vision of a book. If you don’t like it, you’re not a bad fan. If you do like it you’re not a bad fan. If you have a ton of strong opinions well, you’re a fan. :) It’s the nature of the beast. The books will always be the books and nothing changes that.”
As much as I respect Clare’s statement, it’s tough for me to relate, as I didn’t particularly love the book. It’s impossible not to recognize the cinematic quality of the material or the fact that City of Bones is brimming with innovative characters and limitless curious world details, but in the end the film wound up with the same problem as the book: poor pacing primarily due to a lack of transitions. But that doesn’t mean director Harald Zwart can’t surprise us naysayers with the sequel. Similar to the first book, City of Ashes has potential, so should Constantin really go through with it, let’s just hope Zwart and company heed some of the criticism conjured by film one.
The Fault in Our Stars
If there’s any correlation between the vibe on set and the quality of a final film, The Fault in Our Stars is heading towards an Oscar. Filming began on August 26, and ever since then the cast, crew and author John Green have been flooding the Internet with wildly charming behind-the-scenes pictures and videos.
First came Green’s tweet from a trailer on set, then a slew of images from day one (via tfios.net), which include the production’s Arri Alexa camera, Hazel’s Phalanxifor, a buddy shot of Ansel Elgort and Sam Trammell, and more. Day two brought us an adorable Shailene Woodley photo bomb and a video log from Green, in which he gives us a tour of the set, save for some top-secret location details. On day three, Green introduced us to the folks responsible for tracking down key items like Hazel’s oxygen tank and even ambulance license plates, the props team’s Kelley and Lee, and showed off his basketball skills going up against Elgort.
Does all of this really mean The Fault in Our Stars is going to be an excellent adaptation? Of course not, but as someone who strives to create the friendliest environments possible while producing films and who places prime value in simply enjoying making a movie, I’d say it’s still a very good sign. In fact, things for team TFIOS will likely get even more fun loving and enjoyable soon because Green also announced that comedian Mike Birbiglia will join the cast as Patrick, Hazel’s support group leader.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is still over two months away, but director Francis Lawrence is already loading up the cast for the next installment, Mockingjay – Part I. First, Lionsgate announced that Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer is locked for the role of Cressida, a Capitol director who joins the rebellion to make "propos" and boost moral. After that, Evan Ross took the role of Messalla, Cressida’s assistant. And then came a particularly shocking reveal. Many hoped Annie Cresta would make an appearance in Catching Fire, but the role went uncast... until now. Finnick Odair’s one true love will be portrayed by a fresh face: Stef Dawson.
You know what the best part about all of this casting news is? Even though we’ve got a long way to go until we see any of these folks in action, things are really heating up for the November 22 opening of Catching Fire. The tribute initiative on HungerGamesExplore.com just wrapped up, so now we’ve got a complete victors banner to enjoy. And from here on out, we’re just bound to get more and more Hunger Games material each and every day.
The 5th Wave
Looking for something new to read? It’s worth getting a jumpstart on Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave. The book focuses on a teen named Cassie. She made it through the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th waves, but now the 5th wave of an alien invasion is upon her and there’s only one way for her to make it through; trust no one. However, when Cassie comes across Evan Walker, she starts to rethink her surviving solo mentality because Evan might be the only one who can help Cassie rescue her brother.
Tobey Maguire’s Material Pictures along with GK Films snatched up the rights to this one last year and now, according to The Wrap, the team has picked a director. J Blakeson is currently in negotiations to helm the film using a Susannah Grant-penned script. Hope are high that the deal will go through because Blakeson is long overdue for a Disappearance of Alice Creed follow-up.
There isn’t much material crossover between the two and I’d imagine (and hope) the tone here would be strikingly different, but if Blakeson does manage to recreate the exceptional amount of tension he achieved in Alice Creed, The 5th Wave should be a winner.
The YA Movie Countdown runs here on Movies.com every other Wednesday.
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