In the past few years, superheroes have become the proverbial saviour of cinema. From Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy to Marvel’s ever expanding universe, millions of people have flocked to their local picture house for the latest super-heroic adventure. However, slowly but surely, a new sub-genre has begun to gain increasing popularity from filmgoers and industry heads alike. Teen-fiction.
Some could argue that it was the Harry Potter series that started to peak the interest of film studios, with its phenomenal success leading to other similar properties being snapped up and fast tracked for production. The beginning of a chain reaction that would give us the Twilight and Hunger Games series, as well as other standalone films. Over the past two years, there’s been at least ten films released which are based on a young-adult novel; a list that outnumbers the amount of superhero films released over the same time frame. They include;
Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters
The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters
The Fault In Our Stars
If I Stay
The Maze Runner
Some have been successful enough to warrant sequels, whilst others have been massive flops. The BBFC have reported that 2013 saw a record breaking number of 12A rated films. This is undoubtedly connected to YA adaptations, and the cynic in me can’t help but think that money rather than material is at the heart of this latest surge.
It seems that more and more films are being extensively cut post-production to achieve a 12a rating to ensure that the film reaches the widest audience possible, maximising profit. It’s no surprise then that studios all over the world are eager to green light as many of these adaptations as possible, whilst the demand is there and teenagers look for the next franchise post Hunger Games.
Does this mean the end of films made for a more adult audience? As far as mainstream cinema goes, the answer seems to be yes, and 18 certificated films seem to be the thing of a past in terms of multiplexes. This doesn’t look to change anytime soon either with sequels for Divergent, The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games all being released next year, amongst other fresh adaptations.
Much like superheroes, films adapted from books aimed at a younger audience aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. All we can hope for is that studios at least pick the books worth turning into films, make them appeal to people of any age, and that they don’t get blinded by money.
Next Week: Are shared universes the future of cinema?