This weekend topped off an excellent summer for producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey. Their movies, The Fault In Our Stars and The Maze Runner, have both passed significant milestones sure to cement the duo's reputation in Hollywood as smart spenders that turn in hits under modest budgets.
The Maze Runner easily debuted at the top of the weekend box office charts, both domestically and internationally. Its opening weekend was the sixth strongest September debut ever, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. Studio estimates bring the North American total so far to $32.5 million.
Variety reported today that the movie also brought in an additional $37.6 million in 45 foreign markets, topping the chart in each country. That means Bowen and Godfrey's The Maze Runner, based on the young adult novel by James Dashner, only cost $35 million and has already brought in over $70 million. Starring Teen Wolf's Dylan O'Brien and directed by Wes Ball, the movie is doing well with CinemaScore surveys, where it's averaged an 'A-.'
Critics aren't quite as in love with it, though. RottenTomatoes.com currently has it at 63% with critics and 81% with their users. Whatever people think of the movie itself, 20th Century Fox is clearly happy. They previously expressed plans for a sequel, and this morning announced that The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, based on Dashner's second novel in the trilogy, will arrive in theaters on September 18, 2015 as confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter.
Marty Bowen and Wyck Godrey started off the summer with another adaptation of a young adult novel and an even bigger success. The Fault in Our Stars opened in June and ended the past week reaching the $300 million mark in combined domestic and foreign ticket sales, according to The Hollywood Reporter. With a budget of only $12 million, the movie has proved to be the alternative of choice when up against bigger Hollywood spectacles.
While The Maze Runner is a post-apocalyptic tale more similar to The Hunger Games, The Fault In Our Stars is a much more grounded romance about two teenage cancer patients falling in love. The tear-jerker is based on the novel by John Green, who has an impressive social media presence with his brother as the Vlogbrothers.
Stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, who co-starred in Divergent just prior to the release of The Fault In Our Stars, also helped bolster online buzz, according to Deadline. Critics and audiences both have liked the movie. Rottentomatoes.com gives it an 80% among critics and users rate it at 88%. The Wrap reported in June that audiences told CinemaScore the movie earned an 'A.'
While some lament the loss of mid-budget movies in Hollywood, producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godrey might be bringing them back and proving they can be just as profitable as big budget movies. Before these two movies, Bowen and Godrey were mostly known for the big success of the Twilight Saga. The young adult genre is no guarantee, but with The Fault In Our Stars and The Maze Runner under their belt, they may have established themselves as the YA experts of Hollywood.