Actor Taylor Lautner arrives for the European premiere of
'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2' in London.
As vampires Bella and Edward take their last bites on the
big screen, Hollywood studios are on the hunt for the next
"Twilight," a movie that plays on teenage angst and, more
importantly, lights up the movie box office.
The first four "Twilight" movies earned $US2.5 billion at
theatres worldwide, propelled by passionate fans of a book
series about a vampire-and-werewolf teen love triangle. Box
office watchers project "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" will haul in
$150 million at US and Canadian theatres this weekend, one of
the year's biggest film debuts.
Eager to replicate that performance, studios executives have
been trolling through young adult novels with the dream of
uncovering the next big blockbuster franchise, paying as much
as $1 million to secure the film rights to the hottest books.
At least four films based on books for teenagers will reach
theatres next year, with young love forced to overcome alien
parasites, evil zombies and other supernatural bad guys.
Executives hope they can uncover a story that excites
tech-savvy teens, who supercharged the buzz mill for "The
Hunger Games" and other hits by spreading the word to friends
through social media posts.
"It's a very enthusiastic and deep passion that young people
feel for a book they love," said Nina Jacobson, executive
producer of "The Hunger Games," which spawned a blockbuster
film franchise with $687 million in worldwide ticket sales
"When they love something, they share it," says Jacobson.
The four-year "Twilight" movie saga lifted tiny studio Summit
Entertainment into Hollywood's big leagues and paved the way
for its $412 million acquisition in January by Lions Gate
Entertainment, the studio behind "The Hunger Games."
The coming young adult films incorporate paranormal themes
like those in the "Twilight" movies or dark dystopian futures
and battles for survival reminiscent of "The Hunger Games,"
and do it through the drama of young love.
Summit is aiming to get "Twilight" fans buzzing about next
February's zombie romance "Warm Bodies" with a trailer before
"Breaking Dawn - Part 2." "Warm Bodies" star Teresa Palmer
chatted about the movie - a love story between a zombie and
human - while she strolled the red carpet at a "Breaking
A couple of weeks after "Warm Bodies," Warner Brothers will
trot out fantasy movie "Beautiful Creatures," about a teen
girl with magical powers and a boy who is drawn to her, with
a debut on Valentine's Day.
The movie "shares as much in common with 'Twilight' as it
does with 'Harry Potter,'" said Andrew Kosove, co-president
of production studio Alcon Entertainment, referring to the
boy-wizard series that grossed $7.7 billion in worldwide
ticket sales and woke up Hollywood to the power of
adaptations of children's and young adult books.
In March, Open Road Films releases "The Host," a science
fiction tale about alien parasites from "Twilight" author
Stephenie Meyer. Sony Corp's "The Mortal Instruments: City of
Bones," about a teen girl who tries to protect the world from
demons, comes out in August. Summit's drama "Ender's Game,"
the story of a boy who leads the charge against an alien
invasion, is scheduled for November 2013.
They'll battle the latest installments of existing young
adult franchises such as the "Hunger Games" sequel "Catching
Fire" that comes out November 2013. Warner Brothers will
release "Hobbit" movies in December 2012 and December 2013.
The fever for young adult movies is so hot among Hollywood
executives that studios snap up the rights to some books
before they hit store shelves to keep them out of the hands
of their competitors. Screen Gems, a unit of Sony, announced
on October 9 it had bought rights to "Black City" a month
before the book went on sale.
The studio moved quickly based on a "high level of
anticipation for the property in the online community and
other young adult circles," it said in a statement.
"Hunger Games" producer Lions Gate scooped up the rights
before publication of "Divergent," and is making a movie for
2014 that features young Hollywood star Shailene Woodley, who
played George Clooney's troubled daughter in the movie "The
Descendants" last year.
The "Divergent" book series has sold more than 2 million
copies, pacing ahead of both "Twilight" and "The Hunger
Games" at the same point in their histories, Lions Gate CEO
Jon Feltheimer told industry analysts on a November 9
"We are putting out to our fans right now we think that this
is the next big franchise," Feltheimer said.
The web is producing hot properties too. Media Rights Capital
plans to develop three movies based on writer Amanda
Hocking's "Trylle Trilogy" about a young girl with special
Hocking gained fame by selling more than one million copies
of self-published books on the Internet, an unusual feat that
demonstrated fans' rabid support for the stories, said Media
Rights Capital Co-CEO Modi Wiczyk.
"There is clearly a pre-existing audience," Wiczyk said. "It
makes life easier."
Still, there is no guarantee book lovers will flock to a
movie version of their favorite read, said Keith Simanton,
managing editor of movie website IMDB.com. Film adaptations
of "The Seeker" and "The Spiderwick Chronicles" failed to
give birth to the kind of big movie franchises that have
become the lifeblood of Hollywood's movie studios, he said.
"It is going to continue be a trend, until one of them fails
in a big way," Simanton said.