We have a winner!
There is a new champion at the box office this weekend. I will spare you all the financial details, but it looks like there is now a true successor to the young adult genre series, and this one wears a tiara. Regardless of my personal enjoyment of the Hunger Games, this is big news for Hollywood. Another chance at the wallets of young (and not so young) movie goers. It’s not a very long series, so I thought I would point out some key ingredients in the successful formula. Maybe someone will find it useful.
1. You Can’t Create These Fans
Well, fans of these young adult series come from somewhere, but it’s (currently) not controlled by movie studios. A popular book series can spread like a virus with the right fanbase. New fans are easily recruited through online communities, and true believers find encouragement for their more dedicated tributes. In addition to the fabulous Hunger Games manicures on Red Hair and Black Nail Polish, I also came across multiple food blogs, fashion commentary, and cupcake posts, all inspired by the series. This level of fan builds over years of following a book or comic series, and can’t be manufactured by a marketing team, as some studios have recently discovered.
2. Fresh Meat
A glaring similarity between both Harry Potter and the Hunger Games is the dedication to casting the books, rather than bowing to celebrity. Both series would have easily attracted the Disney-created pop monsters, but shunned them in favor of more sympathetic faces, free of modern associations. Now, as long as the contracts are in order, we can look forward to a continuous cast coming of age together. This leads into the third rule quite nicely.
3. Don’t (Fun!) it up!
An additional bonus to casting young leads with limited exposure is just that. It means that the adult audience is less likely to be scared away by the stars of the film. It might have been a bit of a battle to get a 28 year old man to watch a film like the Hunger Games if it had co-starred Justin Bieber. Quite justifiably so. Additionally when your film is interesting enough to involve Donald Sutherland or Alan Rickman, you may just get some adults wandering into the theater unaccompanied by minors. Kids these days are pretty mature, so there is no reason to pander to the Youth Crowd with mediocre movies. Keep the script classy, and attract the established actors.
Separate from the future sequels in the Hunger Games saga, what YA series are you looking forward to next? Please post a comment, I would love to expand my summer reading list!