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Friday, June 14, 2024

Are YA Novel Films the New Comic Book Movies?

With the news, from Variety, that another successful Young Adult novel The 5th Wave is likely going to be turned into a film, I have to ask: are YA Novel films the new Comic Book Movies?

Image taken from fanpop.com

The trend of turning best-selling YA Novels into films has been growing over the last few years. After, of course, the famous and money-spinning Harry Potter films, major studios were looking to cash in and produce revenue-guaranteeing films. Comic Book movies were the first way that they sought to do this, going all-in with big budget Batman, Iron Man and Spiderman films. But the Comic Book movie quickly became too high-budget to take a punt on them.

This trend, I think, was kicked off enormously with the production, and subsequent success of The Hunger Games. Harry Potter was an incredible success before the ‘risk’ to make it into a series of movies was taken, as were the Twilight books, but The Hunger Games was less so. When it made big money, it seems to have started this trend in earnest.

We are seeing this year alone The Mortal Instruments, Beautiful Creatures, The Host and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Next year, Divergent, Catching Fire, Vampire Academy, Maze Runner, Wings and Chaos Walking. And the news about The 5th Wave heralds, along with the continued promise of The Mortal Instruments and Hunger Games series, more films to come.

It’s no secret that the Comic Book Movie has begun to reach a saturation point, of sorts. We are likely to see four or so movies a year based on comic book movies between now and 2015, with titles such as Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Amazing Spiderman 2 and X-men: Days of Future Past coming in the next eighteen months alone. It is, perhaps, approaching the point where we cannot fit more films in. And it seems that the Young Adult Novel is seen as the fertile ground for the movie industry to seek more revenue from.

There is, of course, a long history of books being made into films. A best-selling novel comes with an audience already, with proof that its tale and characters are interesting to thousands, even millions, of people, so it is already rather ‘bankable’. Well-written Young Adult novels hit a perfect balance between adults’ and teenagers’ interests, and their stories and tones are often perfect for the 12A or similar rating, guaranteeing a bigger audience.

With the volume of films showing this year and planned to show next year, it seems that the Young Adult Novel could be lifted from as heavily as the Comic Book was a couple of years ago.

Not that this is a bad thing, of course: I myself write Young Adult novels (though my book probably would not fit a film…) and I love reading them. I enjoyed each of the Harry Potter novels, and also enjoyed the Twilight Significant Stare Drinking Game as much as the next person. It is just an interesting pattern which I’m noting. Hollywood does like to work in patterns, in cycles, taking memetics to its extreme, copying from one another to cause nigh-on simultaneous releases like The Prestige and The Illusionist, Deep Impact and Armageddon, and a million other examples.

If I am right about this, we can expect to see the largest films of 2015 to be the final installments of the current series of Young Adult films. Except for, of course, Man of Steel 2. Because nothing, nothing, is bigger than Superman and Batman fighting it out. NOTHING.

Sean is an editor, writer, and podcast host at Geek Pride, as well as a novelist. His self-published works can be found at all good eBook stores.

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