Update: David Slade is now attached to direct.
With the success of Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and the Twilight films simply dominating the box office in the last 10 years, Hollywood’s been green lighting as fast as YA authors can pen them.
Certainly the bulge of YA movie adaptations has been met with mixed success:
* I Am Number Four (and its sequels) have been hugely successful novels. Despite this literary success, the movie had a fairly mediocre run at the B.O., and this mild economic return was not enough to trigger a sequel (yet).
* Percy Jackson was a lackluster film that pulled in $88m domestically, but had a $95m budget. Ouch. Yet the sequel – Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is currently slated for release in August 2013. With the under-performance of the first film, I was really surprised to see that announcement.
“Luckily”, most of the adaptations coming out seem to revolve around dystopian society and love triangles. Because that’s not an overdone trope. Yawn.
Anyway, the following is not in any way a comprehensive list (it would be far too large), but this is a good sampling of what’s on the radar for the next few years.
MATCHED: This okay dystopian love-triangle fest has been picked up by Disney, which is probably not a good sign. Plus, they do not appear to have begun production. The last book in the literary installment drops this November, so maybe they are waiting to see that book’s performance. The plot of Matched involves a government-run matching program for procreating/marriage. The stoic existence can’t stop the feelings between our two star-crossed teens and insurrection ensues.
DELIRIUM: Very similar in premise to Matched, Delirium’s dystopian society surpresses emotion, especially love. The stoic existence can’t stop the feelings between our two star-crossed teens and insurrection ensues. Fox 2000 owns the rights, but hasn’t done anything with them yet.
DIVERGENT: Heads above the other romance dystopian novels is Divergent, a dystopian society where factions are established based on career/credo. The protag does not fit into one faction because she is “divergent” and fits into at least three categories. Insurrection ensues. The movie is currently in pre-production but isn’t slated for a release until 2015. Divergent is the first in a trilogy, and the second book, Insurgent, is likely to be adapted for the silver screen as well.
THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH: Probably the most compelling trilogy I read last year, Forest is a heart-wrenching, lyrical tale of sheltered, oppressed life within the walls of a quaint village. Yet the walls that keep you safe from the Unsecrated are stifling and lure the protag closer and closer to the gate. The film version is tentatively set for a 2013 release.
MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: This hugely popular franchise by Cassandra Clare was written for the screen. The first movie, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, has attracted some lovely actors (Lena Headey and Jonathan Rhys Meyers). The genre is paranormal romance/mystery and boasts a large cast of characters.
MAZE RUNNER: This is an insane novel, the first of a trilogy, plus a prequel. The basic premise finds our protag in a domed outdoor prison that also contains labyrintine paths, which could lead to the teenage inmates’ escape. Not much is known about the production of the film, except that a 2013 release is expected.
HEIST SOCIETY: This lauded novel (obviously part of a trilogy, since that’s apparently required these days), is about a family of art thieves, led by a 15-year-old girl. If you like art, you’ll love watching wily teenagers steal it. I looked up several of the pieces mentioned in the novel after reading the book because I found the history interwoven through the plot so compelling. Drew Barrymore has been rumored to direct.
SEVENTH SON: The adaptation I’m most looking forward to (and does not involve a love triangle, thankfully) is Seventh Son, which is based on an English series called The Spook’s Apprentice (which was renamed The Last Apprentice in the USA for obvious reasons). Joseph Delaney’s 10-book series centers around a spook, or old-school ghostbuster, who travels around Cheshire and Lancashire, England (where my husband is from) ridding domiciles of denizens of the dark. The books are honestly scary and well-written in a way that’s refreshing for this age even though the stories take place several hundred years ago. Confirmed cast includes Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges, and Djimon Hounsou. The theatrical release is tentatively set at October 2013.
BEAUTIFUL CREATURES: Sure to lure the Twilight legion is this paranormal romance which is currently set for a February 2013 release. Plot descriptions are vague but involves a stranger and a curse. Emmy Rossum, Emma Thompson, Viola Davis, and Jeremy Irons are all attached.
WARM BODIES: Also, slotted for a February 2013 release (which in of itself is not a good sign), this YA novel is essentially a better-written Twilight (not that that is a high bar) but involving a zombie male love interest in lieu of a vampire. I’ve read the book and it is as weird as it sounds. Veteran actor John Malkovich has somehow found himself attached to this project.
DASH & LILY’S BOOK OF DARES: Remember Nick & Norah’s Infinte Playlist, written by dream team Rachel Cohn and David Levithan? Dash & Lily was written by them too – an Amelie-like game of chance and love, where the would-be couple leave clues for one another over Christmas break in New York. The effervescent Lena Dunham (creator and star of HBO’s Girls and director/writer/star of Tiny Furniture) is set to direct.
OTHERS: Summit is developing Tempest, a clunky novel somewhat akin to Butterfly Effect or The Time Machine. Blood Red Road is a post-apocalytpic novel about a girl saving her brother from marauders that rule their arid wasteland. It was at one point attached to director Ridley Scott, and is tentatively set for a 2014 release.