Hollywood thirsts for young adult films as 'Twilight' ends
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The studio moved quickly based on a high level of anticipation for the property in the online community and other young adult circles, it said in a statement.
Lions Gate's Summit studio scooped up the rights before publication for Divergent, a novel set in a futuristic Chicago where people are divided into factions based on personality traits. The studio is producing a movie for 2014 that features young Hollywood star Shailene Woodley, who played George Clooney's troubled daughter in the movie The Descendants last year.
The Divergent book series has sold more than 2 million copies, pacing ahead of both Twilight and The Hunger Games at the same point in their histories, Lions Gate CEO Jon Feltheimer told industry analysts on a Nov. 9 conference call.
We are putting out to our fans right now we think that this is the next big franchise, Feltheimer said.
The web is producing hot properties, too. Media Rights Capital plans to develop three movies based on writer Amanda Hocking's Trylle Trilogy about a young girl with special powers.
Hocking gained fame by selling more than 1 million copies of self-published books on the Internet, an unusual feat that demonstrated fans' rabid support for the stories, said Media Rights Capital Co-CEO Modi Wiczyk.
There is clearly a pre-existing audience, Wiczyk said. It makes life easier.
Still, there is no guarantee book lovers will flock to a movie version of their favorite read, said Keith Simanton, managing editor of movie website IMDB.com. Film adaptations of The Seeker and The Spiderwick Chronicles failed to give birth to the kind of big movie franchises that have become the lifeblood of Hollywood's movie studios, he said.
It is going to continue to be a trend, until one of them fails in a big way, Simanton said.