The first of potentially four movie adaptations of Suzanne Collins' best-selling young adult (YA) book series, The Hunger Games, will be released by Lionsgate in Spring 2012. However, the studio is already moving forward with another adaptation of a popular literary franchise: Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking trilogy.
Lionsgate has officially acquired the screen rights to the three novels - "The Knife of Never Letting Go", "The Ask and the Answer", and "Monsters of Men" - in Ness' literary series. Doug Davison (How To Train Your Dragon, Abduction) is attached to produce the film adaptation(s) through his Quadrant Pictures.
Chaos Walking and Hunger Games are only a couple of several YA novel-turned-movie franchises hoping to replicate the success of The Twilight Saga - which truly demonstrated the lucrative nature of adapting entries in that literary genre - especially ones that involve either sci-fi and/or fantasy elements.
Here is how Lionsgate describes Ness' Chaos Walking trilogy, in its official press release:
The Carnegie Medal winning books are set in a dystopian future with humans colonizing a distant earth-like planet. When an infection called the Noise suddenly makes all thought audible, privacy vanishes in an instant. In the ensuing chaos, a corrupt autocrat threatens to take control of the human settlements and wage war with the indigenous alien race, and only young Todd Hewitt holds the key to stopping planet wide-destruction.
"Although these stories are set in a critical time in the future, they speak volumes about what is happening all over the world today, and about the power of young people to challenge the status quo and change the course of our future," said Alli Shearmur, Lionsgate's President of Motion Picture Production and Development, who will be overseeing the production for the studio, with Senior Vice President of Motion Picture Production Jim Miller. "We feel privileged to be bringing these powerful and exquisite books to cinematic life."
Based on that description alone, those unfamiliar with Ness' literature can see why it has prompted comparisons to Collins' Hunger Games novels (see: the dystopian futuristic setting, totalitarian government, messiah-like protagonist in the form of a young adult, etc.).
Hunger Games isn't the only contender watching Twilight's throne after the second half of the franchise finale, Breaking Dawn, hits theaters in November 2012. Screen Gems is still working on an adaptation of the Mortal Instruments series and Legendary Pictures hopes that The Seventh Son - a cinematic treatment of the first novel in Joseph Delaney's Wardstone Chronicles, "The Spook's Apprentice" - will also prove to be popular.
While the success of the Harry Potter franchise is partly responsible (or, rather, to blame) for all these YA-book-turned-film projects, Twilight's popularity is arguably the main culprit. The latter franchise not only caters directly to the teenage demographic - its influence on the tone and style of its peers is also readily apparent. Case in point: for every supernatural romance literary series that panders directly to the Twilight crowd, there's at least one (like The Hunger Games) which is thematically fashioned - either intentionally or coincidentally - as the antithesis of author Stephenie Meyer's books.
With that said - until we have more information about the creative talent that will be involved with adapting the Chaos Walking novels to film form, it's best to not jump to any conclusions about whether this will be a hit - or one of the many YA adaptations that fail to become profitable.
We shall keep you posted on the status of the Chaos Walking adaptation(s) as this story develops.
Source: Lionsgate (via Deadline)