Hollywood thirsts for young adult films as 'Twilight' ends
Updated: 2012-11-16 10:03
Actress Kristen Stewart arrives for the European premiere of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2" in London November 14, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]
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 $2.5 billion at theaters 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 theaters 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 theaters 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 this spring.
"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 Dawn" premiere.
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.