News hit recently that the latest planned supernatural series, The Mortal Instruments, is unlikely to continue for a second film. The first, City of Bones, opened in the UK three weeks ago to dismal numbers, and grossed just over $9 million in the US in its opening weekend, making back just one sixth of its $60 million budget.
The Mortal Instruments marks another typical try-hard endeavour to rob the pocket-money from starry-eyed tweens, although it has failed to replicate the huge success of super-franchises such as The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games, both of which captured the zeitgeist with tales of supernatural romance and brooding hunks.
Written by Cassandra Clare, the books follow a traditional ‘young adult’ narrative, revolving around a teenage girl, in this case Clary (Lily Collins), who discovers an epic secret destiny, this time involving an underground world of Shadowhunters and weirdly incestuous plot twists involving on-screen love interest Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower).
The Mortal Instruments is just another failure in a line of Hollywood flops aimed at pre-teens, coming hot on the heels of The Host, also by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, and Beautiful Creatures; both films failed to achieve the expected results earlier this year, seeming to pass the whole world by in spite of heavy marketing campaigns.
It seems that even diehard teenage fans, a market traditionally generous when it comes to money, have given up on these films. Have they suddenly become savvy to studios producing the same bag of tricks over and over again, like something on a factory working line? It’s all starting to get a little tiresome; the teens are probably too busy saving their pocket money for the new One Direction film, This Is Us, which happened to gross double the amount of City of Bones in its opening weekend.
It is worth noting that the planned sequel, City of Ashes, has not been cancelled – merely postponed indefinitely. But with the first making little money for the studio it seems more likely that it will fade into nothingness. Teenagers may be getting bored of these kinds of films, though Campbell Bower is clearly happy to have them pay his mortgage, having previously played one of the Volturi in Twilight and Young Grindelwald in the two-part Harry Potter finale. Never mind though, he’ll most likely just find another young adult saga to sink his teeth into. Next year’s Divergent, anyone?