The Movie Industry’s Trend: What Is It and Will It Be Ending Soon?

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Photo credit: www.africanmc.org

Tatiana Kekoc, Junior Staff Writer

Some readers and regular movie goers have probably noticed that recently there have been many movie releases based off of popular sci-fi/fantasy young adult novels. This inclination, while not entirely new, has taken off in the past few years with the release of TwilightThe Hunger GamesThe Maze Runner, and so on.

In order to fully analyze this trend, perhaps it would be best to go to where this trend started – books. Or, more specifically, with the publication of JK Rowling’s 1997 novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. This book ushered in the new era for fantasy novels and when the film adaption was created in 2001, it ushered in a new era for movie adaptations of books.

But while trend this technically started in 2001, making movies based off of young-adult books only really came to life in 2008, with the film adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s fantasy romance novel TwilightTwilight gave way to The Hunger GamesThe Maze Runner, Vampire Academy and The Giver to name a few.

This trend has not gone unnoticed by regular movie goers. Lauren Silva, a junior at LHS, says that “Yes, there are a lot (of movies based off of young adult books). They do it to make a profit off of a story that was popular as a book, and market it for the people who loved the book and for the people who have heard good things about the book but won’t read it. They’re making big profits and everyone loves movies.”

And she is absolutely correct. The Hunger Games earned $408,010,692 in North America alone. The final installation of the The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn Part 2 made  $292,324,737 (also in North America alone), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 made $381,011,219, and broke box office sale records during it’s first weekend in theatres.

However the young adult book adaptation trend may be ending soon. And not because of the filmmakers – it’s because of the topics that the authors of teen books have started addressing.

John Green, the esteemed author of The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, and An Abundance of Katherines, has been credited for the shift in the direction of teen novels and ushering in the age of realistic fiction for teens. Before he published his first book Looking for Alaska, most young adult books were full of sparkling vampires and wizarding schools. And while these were all amazing stories with great characters, Green published his novels with more believable characters and heart wrenching stories.  On the topics addressed in Green’s novel, Sophomore Shelby Schieferdecker said “They’re topics that keep you thinking about them for a long time. They’re aren’t the most generic topics and I like that because it’s something different to read.”

While other authors had addressed similar topics before, Green’s novels were different. Despite being a full grown man, he connected with teenagers through his characters and captured the struggles and feelings of often misunderstood teenagers in the space of a few hundred pages. He treated teenagers like people with many faults, not as perfect and flawless heroes and heroines. This made his work simply irresistible.

“You can connect with the characters on a personal level” Shelby says.

Other authors began to see Green’s success and incorporate some of his techniques into his work. This created a mass influx of teen romance-tragedies, such as Eleanor and Park (by Rainbow Rowell), The Beginning of Everything (by Robyn Schneider) Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn), and I Am The Messenger (by Markus Zusak ).

And since where the books go the movies go also, we can only assume that soon there will be more The Fault in Our Stars-style movies, and less Harry Potter-style movies. The movie adaption of The Fault in Our Stars was a major box-office success, and the production of a film based off of another one of Green’s novels, Paper Towns, has just begun. We can only assume that more will follow, and can only wonder where this next trend will take us.