The final film in the box office-munching Hunger Games franchise comes out this week (November 20), marking the end of one of the most successful cinema franchises of recent years. The dystopian films, which depict a society whose teenagers are forced to fight to the death annually in an enormous arena, were based on a series of young adult novels by Suzanne Collins.
While similarly dark trilogies Divergent and Maze Runner have followed in its footsteps, there’s still a huge appetite for dark, teen-themed stories – and a huge number of series lining up to be turned into films. Given the appetite for dystopia dressed in young adult clothing, studios have scrambled to get hold of rights for other, similar intellectual property – here are 17 best-selling book franchises that could soon be doing massive business on the big screen…
1. CHAOS WALKING – PATRICK NESS
Details: This series follows Todd, a tween living on a dangerous planet colonised by settlers from the previous generation. The biosphere on the planet caused a weird reaction in the human newcomers – men’s thoughts became public ‘Noise’, while women remained telepathically silent, yet able to hear men. Sounds weird, but it opens up an interesting gender politics theme – and when Todd and new settler Viola become the subject of a nationwide chase, they must flee for their lives and solve the mystery of the planet’s past.
Production: Rights to the trilogy were acquired by Lionsgate in 2011 and Jamie Linden’s work on the screenplay began last year. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless mind writer Charlie Kaufman has been named as its unlikely director.
First novel: The Knife Of Never Letting Go
2. SILO SERIES – HUGH HOWEY
Details: This one isn’t technically a young adult book – it began life as a self-published series of chapters. In a post-apocalyptic world, humans find shelter in Silo, an underground metropolis that extends 144 stories downwards. Over the course of the series, a dark past about the operation of the city emerges.
Production: Gladiator and Alien director Ridley Scott has expressed an interest in directing the film, the rights for which have gone to 20th Century Fox.
First novel: Wool
3. THE FIRE SERMON TRILOGY – FRANCESCA HAIG
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Details: The film rights for Haig’s trilogy were snapped up by Dreamworks before its first instalment had even been published. The series is about a society living 400 years after a nuclear apocalypse, when all humans are born twins. One twin – the ‘Alpha’ – is born normal, but the other – the ‘Omega’ – has some kind of mutation. They live in different settlements, but the death of one twin results in the death of the other. The Fire Sermon is about one set of twins whose Omega, Cassandra can see into the future. She hides her mutation, and is thus a bit of a problem for brother Zach, who becomes her worst enemy.
Production: This one’s been in development since 2013 so we may not see it for a while.
First novel: The Fire Sermon
4. THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING TRILOGY – ERIKA JOHANSEN
Details: Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn is turning 19, and as heir to the Tearling throne, she is in danger. The series mixes Game Of Thrones’ politics with The Hunger Games’ grit – Kelsea must defeat the evil Red Queen and win over her guard.
Production: It’s such a page-turner that Emma Watson declared she couldn’t put it down, and she’s now attached to executive produce and star in its adaptation. This is being produced by Harry Potter producer David Heyman and has been bought by Warner Bros – which would suggest a lot of care will go into the franchise.
First novel: The Queen Of The Tearling
5. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE SERIES – LAINI TAYLOR
Details: Karou is a 17-year-old art student in Prague. She was raised by four chimaera – a hybrid creature – in a trans-dimensional plane, and in exchange for being looked after, Karou has to find teeth as payment. Actual teeth, yeah. It soon becomes clear that she’s part of a huge war between chimaera and angels, and it gets proper emotional. Twilight author Stephanie Meyer has publicly praised the series.
Production: Universal Pictures have the rights for the films, and Joe Roth (Maleficent, Snow White And The Huntsman) will produce. The script is being adapted by Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl)
First novel: Daughter Of Smoke And Bone
6. GRISHA SERIES– LEIGH BARDUGO
Details: This novel, Shadow And Bone, is told from the perspective of Alina Starkov, a teenaged orphan in the land of Ravka. Her life changes suddenly when she uses a power she never knew she had to save her friend. Soon she’s on a quest to reunite the kingdom.
Production: Dreamworks have rights to the film, which Harry Potter producer David Heyman will produce.
First novel: Shadow And Bone
7. BLOOD OF EDEN SERIES – JULIE KAGAWA
Details: In a post-apocalyptic North America – yes, again – the ‘red lung virus’ has killed most humans. In the first book, The Immortal Rules Vampires rule over the remaining people, many of whom have been rendered ‘rabids’ by the virus – mindless things that kill both vampire and human. Allison, wounded, is offered the chance to turn vampiric by a kindly vampire. She escapes and encounters a group of humans looking for Eden, a place unaffected by rabids or vampires – but she must control her hunger around them.
Production: The film has been optioned by Palomar Pictures – which doesn’t mean much yet.
First novel: The Immortal Rules
8. THE BONE SEASON SERIES – SAMANTHA SHANNON
Details: In 2059, clairvoyant 19-year-old Paige Mahoney lives in the criminal underworld of a London controlled by a security force named Scion. She’s able to enter people’s minds, but when she’s kidnapped and taken to Oxford – a city kept secret for 200 years – she meets the Rephaim, another race of creatures, who enslave her to use her powers. Author Shannon has been hailed as the next JK Rowling, and the series is set to be formed of seven books.
Production: Rights have been acquired by Imaginarium Studios, the production company that is behind all the motion capture in the upcoming Star Wars films. It’s owned by Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings’ Gollum). The film’s been sitting in development for three years, though.
First novel: The Bone Season
9. THE MAGISTERIUM SERIES – HOLLY BLACK & CASSANDRA CLARE
Details: In a world of dark magicians, apprentice children are trained for battle. Twelve-year-old Callum Hunt breaks the three rules of the world – never trust a magician, never pass a test a magician gives you, and never let a magician take you to the Magisterium – and his life completely changes.
Production: Constantin Films acquired rights two years before the first book The Iron Trial was published, and the script is being adapted by authors Black and Clare themselves.
First novel: The Iron Trial
10. PURE TRILOGY – JULIANNA BAGGOTT
Detais: Pure is the first in a trilogy about Pressia, who lives in a post-nuclear world, and Partridge, who lives in The Dome, a bunker. Dome-dwellers are known as ‘pures’ and surface-dwellers as sub-human ‘wretches’ – and one day, Pressia and Partridge unexpectedly meet.
Production: The rights have ben acquired by 20th Century Fox, and Karen Rosenfelt (Twilight, The Devil Wears Prada) is on board as producer. James Ponsoldt (The End Of The Tour) is set to direct the film.
First novel: Pure
11. DUST LANDS TRILOGY – MOIRA YOUNG
Details: Saba lives in a lawless wasteland with her father, her twin brother Lugh and younger sister Emi. When she and her twin are 18, men show up to kill their father and kidnap Lugh. She must seek him out, and on the way discovers the nefarious methods used to keep the people of the world under control.
Production: Ridley Scott has been linked to the project, but that was back in 2013.
First novel: Blood Red Road
12. THE YOUNG WORLD TRILOGY – CHRIS WEITZ
Details: Wouldn’t it be weird if everyone between 12 and 21 was killed in a cataclysmic disaster? That’s what happens in this contrived Lord Of The Flies-style scenario, where teens’ hormones save them from The Sickness, a disease they have to try to find a cure to, after grouping into several tribes throughout New York City.
Production: Warner Bros won a bidding war for the rights to this trilogy by filmmaker-turned-novelist Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass, director). He’s going to adapt the books, direct and produce, so it’s a real one-man show.
First novel: The Young World
13. UNWIND QUADRILOGY – NEAL SHUSTERMAN
Details: Another US-set book, following a civil war over abortion rights. The resolution is that parents can have any children between 13 and 18 ‘unwound’ – taken to ‘harvest camps’ to have their body parts harvested. Three teens awaiting this grim fate decide to take matters into their own hands.
Production: Rights are owned by Constantin Film, and Shusterman adapted the screenplay himself. Roger Avary, the man behind Pulp Fiction’s story, is directing the first film, slated for release in 2016.
First novel: Unwind
14. MATCHED TRILOGY – ALLYSON CONDIE
Details: In this futuristic dystopia, 17-year-olds are ‘matched’ with their life partners and controlled strictly by their government. Cassia is matched with her best friend Xander, but when she reviews her match at a screen, another man’s face flashes up – Ky, an outcast. She slowly becomes disillusioned with the rules of her society and decides to rebel.
Production: Disney owns the rights to the films, after a contest with Paramount Pictures. Hairspray producer Adam Shankman and his sister Jennifer Gibgot have signed up to produce, while Step Up 2: The Streets director Jon Chu will direct. The writer of the latest Sherlock film, Kieran Mulroney, will adapt the book.
First novel: Matched
15. GRACELING SERIES – KRISTIN CASHORE
Details: Lady Katsa is a fearsome girl who can kill any who displease her using overpowering force – one of many supernatural abilities known as a Grace in this fantasy world. When she meets a mindreader named Po, her perspective on the world changes dramatically.
Production: Reliance Entertainment acquired the film rights two years ago, and St Trinian’s writer Piers Ashworth is adapting the first novel.
First novel: Graceling
16. LEGEND SERIES – MARIE LU
Details: In a part of America now known as the Republic, a prodigy – June – is tasked with tracking down the Republic’s most wanted criminal, a 15-year-old thief. The two band together when June realises the government has been engineering plagues to keep the population under control. No way? Yes way.
Production: CBS Films have taken charge of film rights, while Twilight producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen will produce.
First novel: Legend
17. MONUMENT 14 SERIES – EMMY LAYBOURNE
Details: Six high school kids of varying popularity, two middle-schoolers and six children are trapped in a superstore. As they build a home for themselves inside, catastrophic natural disasters destroy the world on the outside.
Production: Strange Weather Films (the creatives behind the Shrek and The Chronicles of Narnia franchises) have rights, and it’s being adapted by disaster film San Andreas’ director Brad Peyton. It’s still in development at the moment.
First novel: Monument 14