Thursday, June 2, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks #412: Failure to Launch

Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share your movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.


This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Failure to Launch (Movies that were supposed to launch a franchise)


This is easy as there are just so many movies that were supposed to launch a franchise but failed to make much money and so the sequels were scrapped. There especially seem to be this scramble to make the next YA franchise, which I think began with Twilight. Before it, I don't think there had been a teen movie franchise. Twilight was the little movie that could. According to IMDB Twilight, the first movie, had a budget of 37 million and made a little more that 400 million worldwide. Next of course came The Hunger Games which was similarly as successful, it made about 9 times its own budget, but no other YA series seem to do as well. Most never got sequels, and the ones that got sequels however they tend to sort of sputtered near the end (Allegiant anyone?). So I'm going with a theme with a theme: adaptations of YA books I've read.

Beautiful Creatures (2013)
The Caster Chronicles series has four books. I've only read the first book and wasn't really into it. Felt mostly the same way about the movie. However I did sorta like the setting of movie, it had the whole Southern Gothic thing going on with the main character living in what from the outside looks like a decaying grand mansion on a sorta look darkly beautiful. But I think they overdid with the costume choices and the story was not that strong either.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)
The Mortal Instruments series has six books. I remember reading the first book and thinking why do people like this. I don't get it. It seemed as if the writer was trying so hard to make the characters cool to teens: The characters are teens who are demon hunters, wear a lot of black (leather?), are weapons experts and have magic tattoos. Well I guess because I was not a teen, they just don't appeal to me. The movie was just as unimpressive. Then when City of Bones failed to launch a movie franchise, they rebooted it and made a TV series, Shadowhunters, which lasted 3 seasons. Which is sort of unbelievable because I saw like the first two episodes and it was not an improvement from the movie. The lead female actress was super wooden and the production looked very budget. 

Vampire Academy (2014)
The Vampire Academy series has six books. I only read the first one and I can't say I like the book much, but it was definitely better than the movie. The movie could have exploited the appeal of supernatural kids in a boarding school setting (remember Harry Potter) unfortunately it didn't. The movie didn't really set up the franchise well and was not a good introduction to the Vampire Academy world and its characters. I remember being confused to the different type of vampires there were. Despite it having a theatrical release the movie also look very budget more like a TV movie with rather wooden acting. Anyway, since the movie franchise failed, it too is getting a new life as a TV series on Peacock with apparently Julie Pelc as the showrunner. If her name is familiar it's because she was the show runner for The Vampire Diaries which is also based on YA book series.

The 5th Wave (2016)
The 5th Wave series has three books. I've read the first two books. I actually really like the first book, it was I thought a pretty good YA apocalyptic book with plenty of action. The second one I didn't like so I didn't finish the series. The adaptation was pretty bad. I think it looked budgety. I saw a review that said it was a little Red Dawnish...and I kinda agree. While I thought the book was quite thrilling and action packed, the movie felt dull and like the story all feels stupid. I guess sometimes when you read something on a page it sounds okay, but when they try to realise into a movie it is just seems dumb and very juvenile.

The Darkest Minds (2018)
The Darkest Minds series has four books. I had wanted to read this book so much because I thought the  plot summary sounded interesting, however I was so disappointed when I finally read it. I think it's because by the time I read The Darkest Minds I had already ready a bunch of YA apocalyptic or dystopian novels and they all seem to have a similar basic plot which is children being taken from their parents and being put into some groups for various nefarious reasons (The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Divergent, The Fifth Wave, etc), so it was not bringing in anything new and some of the other books were better than it. The movie was sorta ok but like I said the story was unimpressive and boring, we've seen it before and done better, so I totally get why this didn't get a sequel.


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  1. I'm familiar with all of these movies but I never saw them. I didn't realize City of Bones and Shadowhunters were the same property. It sounds like the show worked better for them just like His Dark Materials worked better for The Golden Compass.

  2. Thankfully, I haven't seen any of these even though big heard about them I'm getting tired of teens saving the world or trying look cool..meh

  3. I haven't yet seen any of your picks, but I've definitely had all of them on my radar, especially since some of them would be interesting in book vs. movie terms.
    I hope I'll get around to them eventually 😅


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