Although The Hunger Games seemed to usher in a wave of young adult dystopian novel adaptations in Hollywood, diminishing box office returns for the franchise seemed to indicate this particular type of film was losing steam with moviegoers. Earlier in 2016, the third movie in Lionsgate's Divergent series, titled Allegiant and based on the first half of the final novel in the series, opened below expectations leading to the studio cutting the budget to the final installment, Ascendant.
In the years following The Hunger Games' popularity, one YA novel to be in the works for an adaptation was Kiera Cass' The Selection. Now it seems Warner Bros. may be close to moving forward with a film adaptation of the book, since the movie has tapped a director.
Variety is reporting Thea Sharrock, who helmed the recently released romantic drama Me Before You (which was also her film directorial debut), has been attached to helm The Selection. Deadline previously reported that Warner Bros. set Black List writer Katie Lovejoy to pen the script for the movie that is "described as The Hunger Games without the bloodshed."
The story of The Selection mixes themes of The Hunger Games (as well as other YA dystopian novels like Divergent) with a premise similar to ABC's The Bachelor. America Singer is the protagonist who finds herself in a competition called the Selection run by the country's royal family in which she is meant to compete with other women to win the heart of the prince. However, the country's strict caste system has led to unrest among the people, causing a rebellion that threatens the lives of the royal family and the Selection competitors.
The Selection has already had a bumpy road to from page to screen, since Warner Bros. TV previously attempted to adapt the novel to The CW, filming pilots with two almost entirely different casts before the network eventually passed on the project. Now, as Cass stated on Twitter, The Selection film has not yet been given the official green light by Warner Bros. However, the addition of Sharrock may offer some hope to fans since Me Before You performed above expectations at the box office - it has so far made $42 million domestically on a $20 million budget.
Still, the downward trend of The Hunger Games' box office with the franchise's final two installments, the underperformance of Allegiant, the failure of The 5th Wave early in 2016, and the delay of the final movie in 20th Century Fox's The Maze Runner series doesn't exactly bode well for YA dystopian blockbusters - and in fact may be an indication that this particular trend ushered in by The Hunger Games in 2012 may be coming to an end.
That being said, The Selection is an interesting case because the source material lends itself more toward romantic drama, which Sharrock has proven to be skilled at handling, rather than the action blockbuster route taken by adaptations of The Hunger Games and Divergent. Of course, though The Selection film may lean toward romance, it does take place in a dystopian society, which means the movie will need to do some world-building in order for the premise to make sense to casual filmgoers.
But, though The Selection now has a script and a director on board, the adaptation is still waiting on the official green light from the studio. It remains to be seen whether Warner Bros. will choose to move ahead with the film, and what form The Selection movie will take if they do so.
We'll keep you updated on The Selection as more information becomes available.