The Perks Of Being A Book Addict discussion

Why Have So Many Recent YA Adaptations Flopped at the Box Office?

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message 1: by Sasha (new)

Sasha Article:

That article was a revelation for me, especially after I read the statement “Book series like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Twilight were simply the most successful at crossing over into an adult readership, while most failed movie adaptations were drawn from YA franchises whose fanbases were still mostly made of, well, young adults.” It is completely true isn’t it? Take for instance the Percy Jackson novels, these books are written for an audience of about ten years old. No adult will ever even pick them up. So why would they go and see the movie version?

I do have an observation to make about the momentum part of the article. When books are popular in America, it sometimes takes a long while for these hypes to hit European mainland. When they do cross over, it is often accompanied by the release of… the movie. I’ve seen it with both Twilight and The Hunger Games, and I’m expecting to see it again with Divergent and The Fault in our Stars. Suddenly everyone wants to read the books, where just a couple of months before almost nobody knew of their existence.

So what makes a great movie adaptation for you? Are you expecting Divergent to be the next success or the next failure?

message 2: by Melek (last edited Nov 23, 2013 03:10AM) (new)

Melek (chaissar) As an answer to your first question, about adults going to see movie adaptations of young adult books, teen books etc., I think this is about trailers. If you just look at the trailers, they look fantastic and most of the adults doesn't even read anything about the movie to see what that film is about. "It is an action movie which is adapted from a famous series, then let's go and see the movie." That is it.

I also agree with your second paragraph. I live in Istanbul, Turkey, which is just between Asia and Europe. It takes longer for us than Europe to even hear about popular books, unless you use a website like Goodreads or something like that or you follow what's new in other countries. So yes, the sales of books or series like Twilight, The Mortal Instruments, The Hunger Games had broken out after the movies here too. I haven't heard about Twilight until the movie and suddenly everybody started to read and talk about how good/bad the book is. I just felt like I am the only one who hasn't seen the movie and read the book.

Well, I'm not sure about the last question. I liked The Hunger Games, both movie and series; but also I hated Twilight (both movie and series) and The Mortal Instruments (just hated the movie, loved the series). So I have all kinds of experiences about movie adaptations, I don't know what to expect. Probably the movie won't be well-rounded enough for the fans like us; but it will be good enough for those who hasn't read it.

message 3: by Gotobedmouse (new)

Gotobedmouse | 77 comments Movies are expensive...time is precious..I really enjoyed "Warm Bodies". However, my husband and I were not about to waste a date night on the movie.

message 4: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Hargraves | 94 comments I think the Harry Potter Movies are the only adaptations that are any good. The casting, screenplay, and special effects are amazing. You can watch the movies without reading the books and follow the storyline easily. Most adapatations aren't that good. There is usually something missing.

Paganalexandria At one time I mainly only read paranormal romance. I wanted to see the Twilight so bad, even though it was YA, because it was the first movie that really mirrored my reading obsession. I think there were a lot of adult women like myself, totally ignorant of the books, but fascinated to see how a version of our reading obsession would play out on screen. Now because there are adult shows like True Blood and now Bitten, a YA vampire movie wouldn't necessarily grab my attention the same way.

message 6: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 186 comments I think part of the reason of the continued misadventures of the YA adaptations is the utter lack of inspiration and passion in making them into something truly outstanding. What you get is a generic product calculated to cash in on a known brand. It may sound good during a business meeting at the studio but not necessarily in the box office. That is not to say that all the inspired movies make tons of money but the adaptations still have to be done with a certain minimal amount of creativity. In this sense, I agree that the Harry Potter films were the best in capturing that craze with the literary source material with a professional and lovingly done film version.

message 7: by Chris (new)

Chris There has always been a difference between books and adapting the books to film -- classics, ya's etc. I think with the science fiction and paranormal we as an audience get jaded with the technology --we expect all the extras that are in the books to be placed on screen...the plot lines should adhere to the story line and not be based on the book, I agree with that.
Too many of the movies have been based on the books and not a true adaptation -- thats the reason why the academy awards have screen adaptation and screenplays as seperate categories. I know it sounds nitpicking but there is a true difference. And it makes all the difference in the world - worst based on the book movie is Eragon by far!!
And if you stick to the literary movies such as Bridge of Teribethia and Shiloh the intent stayed with the movies because the story was meant to be told and not just be a best selling movie -- remember the studios want to recoup their money and it has to be in the millions.
So I tend to stay away from the block busters and wait for them on dvd -- they usually disappoint.

message 8: by Ladyhawk (new)

Ladyhawk Good comments as to what has contributed to the success or failure of books to movies.

What about the casting? How important a role to the success of the movie does casting play?

For instance, I enjoyed City of Bones and thought it was done pretty well for the most part. But I WAS disappointed with the casting of Jace. While I like Jamie as an actor, I didn't think he drew the crowd like maybe Alex Pettyfer may have. He turned down the role.

I agree the adaptation plays a huge role in conveying the heart of the story as well as all the best parts of a book. We know it's impossible to include every detail.

I would think that a movie just having a young fan base wouldn't necessarily determine its success or failure. Many kids movies experience great success. If the kids want to see them, they will. And a well tuned in parent will ensure they take their kids to an anticipated book to movie as well!

I think marketing, and overall interest in the story play a huge part in the movies success. It may just be hit and miss.

message 9: by Kat (new)

Kat | 84 comments It is fascinating to me the books that are huge successes in the movies and those that are not. I think it depends on a multitude of things, including much of what everyone has already said but I think it boils down to these specific points:

1) Storyline: if it isn't the same as the book (including the ending, which is often changed to suit hollywood needs) then fans are going to be pissed.

2) Novel Plot: if this is too fantastical or has been seen a million and one times before, either in a book or a movie, people might not think it's worth the time to spend hours watching it.

3) Length: a good movie has to capture and maintain your interest for its entire length, if it doesn't you end up with unhappy customers. For example, the fifth HP novel was very well done but it didn't come across as intense as the movies before it on screen. Many complaints of people nodding off half way thru.

4) Casting: Fans are ALWAYS going to have input on who this should be and why, they are ALWAYS going to have a picture of what the person should look like, wear, and how they should act/react, including facial expressions, eye color and to some extent, eye color. For example, I was extremely pissed at the hair color of Clary in TMI. What was that? And what was with her eyebrows not even bothering to match her hair. It was distracting and really detracted from her role in my eyes.

5) Script: This is the single most essential piece of a movie's success after casting. Who can play the role? Who can say those lines and pull them off? What do we need to add in to make it come alive and feel like the fans are really meeting the character they fell in love with. HP (and Hunger Games)for example has amazing scripts for every single one of its movies. How the characters stand and move and walk and their facial expressions, the lighting, the atmosphere, it all came together to create something that while it didn't always exactly or completely follow the novel plot, it did so in such a way that created mimimal confusion and reached the widest audience.

6)Promotion: While not as important as the others, I think Hollywood over-estimates the value of trailers. They make them look amazing in the hopes of drawing people into a movie that they know won't live up to the hype. Word of mouth, as it said in the article, is one of the biggest promotion lines out there. If a fan you know saw it and hated it, or even a non-fan saw it and hated it, chances are you aren't going to watch it, or you will wait for the less expensive version: online streaming, redbox, netflix, dvd.

So that's my take on it and here is my opinion breakdown of the books/movies mentioned.

Twilight: terrible movies, decent books
HP: Amazing books, great movies even though some plot points were missing
Hunger Games: amazing books, amazing movies, can't wait to see how it finishes
City of Bones: decent book, eh movie with two main characters being poorly casted for their individual roles but with great chemistry
Percy Jackson: fantastic books, loved the first movie even though plot was changed, second movie was okay with major plot changes
Eragon: monumental books, eh movie with major plot changes but great CGI

Divergent: Book was great although the end of the series pissed me off. TBD but I feel like the movie will do well. The casting seems solid even though I wasn't happy with it at first but I think it has potential. Plot isn't fantastical or overwhelming to represent, I have good hopes for this and will be seeing it in theatres.

message 10: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Hargraves | 94 comments City of Bones is a perfect example of a movie that could have been soooo much better. The actor playing Jace was NOTHING like I pictured. The screenplay wasn't clear, if I hadn't read the books ahead of time I would have been completely lost.

message 11: by N (new)

N | 276 comments Flowers in the Attic is a good example of how NOT to do a book adaptation. Don't change everything! Also I agree, I saw who was Jace in City of Bones and thought - Nah.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Isabelle in the City of Bones movie was such a side character, but that's not the case in the books. I felt the movie was rushed and the different fight and love scenes didn't collide well together. However, I think the overall casting was good. I wish Magnus was more interesting and sassy, but Simon and Clary were perfect in my opinion :)

message 13: by Dorottya (new)

Dorottya (dorottya_b) | 64 comments It can happen because of loads of factors
1) some stories can work written (especially if the emphasis is on the emotions or the writing), and fail on the screen
2) some of the work on "YA hit book"-movies is sloppy... the producers want to milk the money cow quickly and easily, they don't read the books thoroughly, they suck at casting
3) sometimes they change the story for the worst, because they think the viewers need the clichés
4) to be honest, some of the hit books are quite bland, and they are read because there's love in it and a hot guy... which may not be enough for a movie (especially since it sometimes breaks the illusions when you see someone in a role picked, not imagined by you)
5) they leave out the "boring parts" sometimes, which sometimes makes the story lose its most powerful parts on the emotions part; or they dense everything down to make it faster or get 3 books in one
6) there are stories which can only cater to fans, and there are stories which could be interesting for adults as well, for example

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