The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will undoubtedly blow away the box office come November 22, 2013, but there’s a good chance some other young adult book-to-film efforts will achieve the same in the coming months. It’s been a fun run for the Hunger Games Countdown here at Movies.com, but now it’s time to broaden the scope to ensure you’re reading the right optioned properties and know what to expect from the ever-increasing realm of YA book-to-film adaptations. Welcome to your very first YA Movie Countdown!
The Twilight Saga is long gone, but six new young-adult adaptations might take its place. The San Diego Comic-Con programming schedule has arrived and Ender’s Game, Divergent, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Seventh Son, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and possibly Maze Runner are due for appearances in Hall H.
As a sequel, The Hunger Games is likely to be the only one that’ll draw a massive crowd and fan rabidity à la Twilight, but this year could also mark an opportunity for the young-adult realm overall to plant some serious roots at the event. As far as film in Hall H goes, there are six comic book or graphic novel-to-film adaptations and also six YA-to-film ones, and of those six there’s a pretty good shot three or maybe even four could maintain an SDCC presence over the next few years.
We may have cut the Twihards loose, but Twilight’s impact on the industry and on Comic-Con has opened the door to not one, but six new dedicated fandoms. Better hit that Hall H line bright and early.
Ender’s Game – Hall H Panel, Thursday at 3:50 p.m.
It’s one thing to amass a group of sparkly vampires and make it look as though they’ve got super speed, but simulating a zero-gravity environment is a different story. The big-screen adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game has been a long time coming, but thanks to the dedication of writer-director Gavin Hood and his producing team, they finally got the opportunity to make the movie and make it right.
The film stars Asa Butterfield as young Ender Wiggin, your typical kid growing up in the near future until he’s recruited by the International Fleet and must leave his family on Earth to attend Battle School in space. There he goes through rigorous training to ensure he’s prepared to defend humanity should the Formics come back for another attack. There are classes, lunchtime, dormitories and many other elements you’d find in your typical boarding school, but the centerpiece of Battle School is an unparalleled sporting arena – the Battle Room. Students are divided up into armies, and two by two each army goes head-to-head in a zero-gravity environment, shooting each other with flash guns and hiding behind massive “stars” in order to get a player through the enemy’s gate and win the game.
As expected, Ender’s Game will have a Hall H presence alongside Divergent. Hood, producer Bob Orci, Butterfield, Harrison Ford (head of Battle School, Colonel Graff), Hailee Steinfeld (Battle School student, Petra Arkanian), and Abigail Breslin (Ender’s sister, Valentine) will all be in attendance. The film will also be a showpiece at Summit’s convention floor booth with plans to show off footage, dole out “premium” promotional items including these army dog tags, pins, static clings and bags (via EnderWiggin.net), and give fans the chance to snag “fast passes” to the Ender’s Game Exclusive Fan Experience.
The Ender's Game Fan Experience
Setting Ender’s Game apart from most SDCC attendees, it will have an increased presence courtesy of this Exclusive Fan Experience. The installment will be located outside the Hilton Gaslamp at 401 K Street and will consist of eight rooms -- each representing a different Ender’s Game location -- built using props and set pieces from the actual film. The Experience will also feature film footage on LED screens, permit you to interact with new digital content, let fans take photos of themselves and then integrate them into the Battle Room scene, and sign up for a chance to win a home makeover. Movies.com will get a tour of the setup on Wednesday night, so you can check back for a sense of what to expect from the Fan Experience then.
Divergent – Hall H Panel, Thursday at 3:50 p.m.
You know how everyone’s relentlessly looking for the next Hunger Games? Well this could be it.
Divergent stars Shailene Woodley as Beatrice Prior, a young girl born into the Abnegation faction. However, come the Choosing Ceremony, Beatrice will have the option of deciding whether or not she most values being selfless like the Abnegation members or if she’d prefer to honor intelligence at Erudite, bravery at Dauntless, peace at Amity, or honesty at Candor. As if choosing whether to follow her gut, pick another faction and leave her family isn’t enough, Beatrice’s placement test also dubs her “divergent,” meaning that no matter which faction she goes with, she’ll never fit into a single one.
They’ll need a lot of chairs on that Hall H stage for Divergent because author Veronica Roth, director Neil Burger, and nine cast members will all be up there. Most eyes will be on Woodley, but she’ll be joined by Theo James who plays Four, the instructor assigned to lead Beatrice through the initiation process after she chooses her faction; Miles Teller who plays Peter, an initiate who enjoys giving her a particularly rough time; Christian Madsen who plays Al and Ben Lloyd-Hughes who plays Will, two of Beatrice’s good friends and fellow initiates; and Ben Lamb who plays Edward, the top initiate in their class. Ansel Elgort who plays Beatrice’s brother, Caleb, will also be among the group, as well as Maggie Q who plays Tori, a mentor of sorts to Beatrice, and Mekhi Phifer who plays Max, a faction leader. In addition to some Q&A time with the cast, the panel will also feature the very first clip from the film.
Divergent will also keep the Summit Entertainment convention center booth busy with plans to dish out promotional items including bags, faction temporary tattoos, pins and iron-on patches (via DivergentFans.com), and serve as the location for cast autograph opportunities.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones – Hall H Panel, Friday at 4:05 p.m.
Hopefully you can handle more supernatural creatures because The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones has them all – werewolves, vampires, warlocks, faeries and demons, too. But fortunately, that’s where the Shadowhunters come in.
While at a nightclub with her best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan), Clary Fray (Lily Collins) witnesses a murder. You’d think this would cause a panic, especially in a crowded New York City club, but Clary seems to be the only one who caught the culprit in the act. Soon thereafter, Clary’s mother (Lena Headey) goes missing and Clary finds that the only person she can turn to is the murderer from the nightclub, Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower). Jace is a Shadowhunter, a human with angelic blood tasked with keeping demons at bay and protecting humans.
This one is hitting Hall H as part of the Sony and Screen Gems panel, so it’ll be sandwiched between Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and RoboCop, and will be followed by The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Collins, Sheehan, Bower, Kevin Zegers (Alec, a fellow Shadowhunter), director Harald Zwart and author Cassandra Clare will all be on hand to unveil “exciting new footage” from the August 21 release.
There’s no official word on plans for the convention center, but according to the exhibitor list, neither Sony nor Screen Gems has a booth, so this one might be without floor swag.
Seventh Son – Hall H Panel, Saturday at 10:45 a.m.
Admittedly, this one was not on my radar as a young-adult property, but a little Googling did reveal that Legendary Pictures’ Seventh Son comes from the first book of Joseph Delaney’s series The Wardstone Chronicles. Like in The Spook’s Apprentice, the film features Jeff Bridges as Master Gregory, the Falcon Knight responsible for taking down Julianne Moore’s evil Mother Malkin. Trouble is, years later, she escapes and is out for revenge. The only way for Gregory to capture her once again is by training the seventh son of a seventh son (Ben Barnes) by the next blood moon to get the job done.
Clearly this material is very different from the others mentioned, so it will likely tap into an entirely different audience - if it garners much of an audience at all. Sadly the film’s new trailer isn’t particularly appealing and it also looks as though Warner Bros. might be dumping it entirely as, after numerous delays, it’s been slapped with a January 17, 2014 release.
But still, we shouldn’t lose hope just yet. There is a chance Legendary could turn things around by building hype in San Diego, especially if that hype is conjured by impressive footage. Legendary and Warner Bros. have yet to reveal exactly what will be shown nor who’ll be there to show it, but Bridges, Barnes, Kit Harrington, Antje Traue and director Sergey Bodrov are all expected to participate in a press conference, so they’ll likely be the ones hitting Hall H to discuss the film too.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Hall H Panel, Saturday at 1:35 p.m.
The time has finally come. After The Hunger Games solidified itself as a monumental hit in March of 2012, many thought it might make its way into Hall H even before any Catching Fire footage was ready. Instead, Lionsgate took a pass and focused its attention on promoting the film on the convention center floor and via interviews with supporting cast members. But this year, appropriately, the studio is going all out.
In the sequel, as newly crowned Hunger Games victors, Katniss and Peeta (Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson) must embark on a Victory Tour, an event that deliberately takes place right in between the yearly games to ensure the districts never forget the bloodshed and, in turn, continually recognize the domination of the Capitol. It should be as simple as moving from district to district, waving to the crowds and perhaps saying a few words, but Katniss is well aware that there’s a rebellion brewing and if it peaks as Panem rolls into the 75th Hunger Games, it could change the state of the nation forever.
According to Yahoo! Movies (which just debuted the above Quarter Quell character posters; hit this link for more) not only will stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Lenny Kravitz, Willow Shields, Jeffrey Wright and director Francis Lawrence all be on hand for the event, but it will also mark the debut of the full trailer for the film. Between this, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox and Marvel, the Saturday Hall H line is bound to be enromous, so just in case you don't make it in for the panel, it could be prime time to snag one of these Mockingjay pins (via ComingSoon.net) at the Lionsgate booth.
The Maze Runner – No Panel Presence
It looks as though The Wolverine, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and just one other project, likely X-Men: Days of Future Past, will be the only films in Hall H for 20th Century Fox, but after Maze Runner producer Wyck Godfrey unleashed this little tease on Twitter - “@flappinflapjack: @wyckgodfrey Will you be at Comic Con?! #MazeRunnerChat" STAY TUNED!” - it's hard to imagine the studio won't include the February 14, 2014 release at all, even if it means convention center floor giveaways and nothing more.
This one’s been pegged as another Hunger Games rip-off and while it does involve teens being shipped off to a mysterious arena and facing deadly situations, the details of the scenario are highly unique. With no relocation of his life prior, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) comes to while he’s being hoisted up in a box. Upon reaching the surface, he comes face-to-face with a group of young boys that dub themselves the Gladers. After a great deal of incessant questioning, he finally starts to put the pieces together; the boys live in the Glade, a green terrain, surrounded by enormous walls on the other side of which is a giant maze. While most of the boys mind their crops, raise livestock, cook meals, and tend to other daily chores, the Runners spend their days scouring the maze, trying to locate a way out. It’s been two years and they’ve yet to make much progress, but Thomas comes to realize that his hidden memories might be the answer.
Keep an eye on Movies.com for all the latest on YA at Comic-Con, and be sure to follow along as the YA Movie Countdown continues on a biweekly basis from here on out.