The Pitch: An ordinary New York teen (Lily Collins) discovers she is the latest in a line of Shadowhunters, a secretive society who battle demons. While battling, she falls for another Shadowhunter, Jace (Jamie Campbell-Bower).
What Are Its Chances? Decent. Unlike many of these contenders, "The Mortal Instruments" has a fervent fanbase already in place, the books having sold well, and fans devouring every bit of news about the movie over the last few months. And it already has the new Robsten in place, rising stars Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell-Bower having seemingly struck up an on-set romance that's sure to make them tabloid fodder as the film gets closer. But will that be enough? The source material is hugely derivative, failing to bring much new to the table, and last week's trailer didn't help much, looking like the pilot for a new show a la "Supernatural" rather than a movie. And while the grown-up cast is decent -- Lena Headey, Jared Harris, Jonathan Rhys Meyers -- there aren't a lot of big draws in there. Interestingly, the trailer seems to be selling the action/horror aspects more than the romance. Are they going after an entirely different crowd? Or are they banking on the fanbase from the books turning up regardless? We'll see next August (a release date that doesn't exactly instill a ton of confidence...)
When? August 23rd, 2013
The Pitch: In a medieval England plagued with supernatural creatures, young Tom (Ben Barnes), the seventh son of a seventh son, is taken under the wing of the legendary Spook (Jeff Bridges) to learn how to battle fearsome witches.
What Are Its Chances? Perhaps better at being the next Harry Potter than the next "Twilight." Warner Bros, knowing the Potter saga was coming to an end, snapped up the rights to Joseph Delaney's "Wardstone Chronicles," a while back, and the film finally went before cameras this year, with Julianne Moore, Olivia Williams and rising star Alicia Vikander also on board. The leads have been aged-up from the books to appeal more to teens, and certainly aren't lacking in attractiveness, but the romantic elements don't seem to be as important in the source material as in "Twilight" or "The Hunger Games." As a result, it could end up appealing more to the effects-happy geek crowd. There's some box office appeal in seeing Bridges in grizzled mentor mode, but Barnes is fairly untested outside the 'Narnia' movies. Ultimately, this one doesn't hit til next October, so Warners have some time to get their campaign geared up, but we wouldn't hold our breath to see B-Barnes and A-Vik on tweens' walls unless the material's very different from what we're expecting.
When? October 18th, 2013
The Pitch: Having survived the hunger games first time round, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is put in danger again by the machinations of the evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland)
What Are Its Chances? Already there. The first "Hunger Games" made nearly $700 million worldwide -- $400 million in the U.S. alone, outgrossing every "Twilight" movie domestically. The first film was well liked, too, which would seem to suggest that the series can only grow from here. The advantage that the series has is that it appeals to a wider audience than the tweens/moms fanbase of "Twilight," with young men drawn in by the action and sci-fi elements, and while new director Francis Lawrence, who'll see the rest of the series through, wasn't the most inspired choice, he's a safe pair of hands. That said, we're told that the books peak in quality with the first entry, so despite the flood of A-list screenwriters involved (Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt), the next film might not be as compelling. And it's also worth noting that as with the first "Twilight," "The Hunger Games" has been slow off the blocks internationally -- it took only 40% of its box office abroad, meaning it ultimately ended up taking less worldwide than the "Twilight" sequels. Will that international audience fall into place for "Catching Fire?" Will it remain a principally American phenomenon or can the studio grow out its success?
When? November 22nd, 2013
The Pitch: In a dystopian future, society is divided into factions dependent on their qualities -- honesty, intelligence, bravery etc. One girl, Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), discovers that she's a "divergent" -- someone with multiple traits.
What Are Its Chances? Pretty good. Penned by the 24-year-old Veronica Roth, "Divergent" became a best-seller on its release last year, and it's only become more popular thanks to this year's sequel "Insurgent." "Twilight" studio Summit picked up the rights earlier this year, and have been moving tout suite with the project. "Snow White & The Huntsman" scribe Evan Daughtry is writing the script, Neil Burger ("Limitless") will direct, and Shailene Woodley, star of "The Descendants," and tipped by many as a future A-lister, has taken the lead role, with casting currently underway for the male part, Tobias. The concept is a simple, and powerful one, but there's plenty of potential for "Hunger Games"-style action, and between "Twilight" and "Hunger Games," Summit and Lionsgate know how to market to the target audience. And the studio certainly seemed to have anointed this as their "Twilight" successor, so expect this to get a real push when it hits.
When? March 21, 2014 essentially the same slot that saw "The Hunger Games" become a smash hit this year. It's got tougher competition, though with Angelina Jolie's "Maleficent" the week before, and Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" the week after.
And The Others: After "Divergent," things are more nebulous. There's plenty in the works, but nothing else that's publicly casting up or setting a release date yet. Among those that look more likely to move forward some time soon are "The Maze Runner," which has shorts director Wes Ball helming, "Matched," from Disney and "Twilight: Eclipse" helmer David Slade, "The Giver," a Jeff Bridges-starring project which Philip Noyce will direct, and "Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children," which Tim Burton could direct. Slightly less certain is "The Knife Of Letting Go," a dark tale set up at Lionsgate with Charlie Kaufman, of all people, adapting the script.
Beyond that, there's plenty of projects in development. "Shiver," "Vampire Academy," "Angelfall," "Daughter Of Smoke & Bone," "Trylle," "Wicked," "Origin" and "Raven Boys" have all been acquired by various studios, along with various other projects we discussed in our last young adult round-up, films like "The Graveyard Book," "The Scorpio Races," "Pure," "Delirium," "Legend" and "Through To You." But few have any talent attached beyond writers, and while some may end up moving forward in the near future, it's all still up in the air. Have you read any books recently that you think could make for the next "Twilight" franchise? Let us know in the comments section. We promise we won't try and buy the film rights ourselves...