The Maze Runner marks the latest in the current craze of films based on young adult novels. After The Giver’s underwhelming $12 million opening, many wondered if The Maze Runner would also be added to long list of young adult dystopian flops.
Despite the great success of many young adult franchises, such as Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games, the number of young adult flops have definitely saturated the market plenty (including recent films like The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, and Beautiful Creatures). After a promising $11.25 million Friday opening, however, The Maze Runner seems to be on track for a successful run… but will it be enough to establish itself as a franchise?
Compared to many other young adult films, The Maze Runner’s budget was relatively modest, coming in at $34 million. With the opening weekend predicted to bring in over $30 million in the United States alone, the film is pretty much guaranteed to make a profit. But despite all this, and despite the fact that we know the sequel to The Maze Runner is currently in the works, $30 million opening weekend doesn’t seem like much to write home about these days when it comes to franchises. For reference, the first Hunger Games film made $152 million its opening weekend, and Twilight made $69 million, according to Box Office Mojo. While $30 million may be enough to keep the lights on over at the studios, it hardly seems like a sufficient bang to start off a franchise.
Forbes is even starting to question if The Maze Runner will be the film that marks the significant decline of the entire genre.
“Looking at future releases of what Box Office Mojo qualifies as young-adult adaptations, the slate is thinning. While there are ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Divergent’ sequels hitting theaters in the next two years, there aren’t many attempts to jump start any new franchises. Plenty of YA books have been optioned (which means a studio has the right to make a movie of a given novel) but few are actually in production… Hollywood is always chasing trends and it may be that YA, as a franchise, is just getting played out. A movie like ‘The Maze Runner’ just feels like the same old thing…”
Comic book movies aren’t making things any easier for the YA crowd, as the past few years have seen the significant decline in mid-budget films. Nowadays, it seems like the movies that make it big are either made on a shoestring budget or for hundreds of millions of dollars. Hollywood isn’t interested in marginal profits, and unfortunately for The Maze Runner, marginal profits may be all that it has coming for it, especially if you start to include the cost of marketing into the budget (which can often times equal or double the actual production cost of the movies).
Did any of you happen to catch The Maze Runner in theaters? If so, do you see it as the next big YA title to beat? Let us know below!