Look no further than Suzanne Collins' dystopian teen thriller 'The Hunger Games' for proof that studios and book fans are salivating for the next big movie series. Here are five more to watch out for in the next couple of years:
'The Hunger Games'
Written By: Suzanne Collins, who wowed audiences and critics with her dark, sociopolitical trilogy that captured an audience that's nearly as diverse in age and gender as 'Potter'
What It's About: In a bleak, postwar future, huntress Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence, above) takes her little sister's place in an annual, televised battle-to-the-death contest against 23 other teen competitors, including her classmate Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). As they train to become their District's winning "Tribute" to the titular Hunger Games, it's obvious their developing friendship complicates their ability to kill each other in the Arena.
Movie Cred: It's TV's 'Survivor' times the 'Twilight' love triangle multiplied by a 'Potter'-like fanbase. Directed by Gary Ross ('Seabiscuit'), the 'Games' begin March 23, 2012, starring a host of hot young stars and A-list supporting players. In the meantime, fans obsess over every image (like this awesome "motion poster"), cast listing and gossipy tidbit about the adaptation. From what we've seen so far, it looks great.
'The Mortal Instruments'
Written By: Cassandra Clare, whose supernatural-romance books have a massive following that spans tweens to moms
What It's About: Clary Fray (played by Lily Collins) is a New York City teen with a peculiar power -- she can see supernatural beings, like the cocky young demon hunter Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower) and other strange creatures that appear out of nowhere. When her mother gets kidnapped, Clary discovers she's not quite the regular city girl she imagined.
Movie Cred: In addition to casting Collins and Campbell Bower (who beat out Alex Pettyfer and a crew of other hunky young blonds to land the role of Jace), Screen Gems has signed on director-producer Scott Charles Stewart ('Priest,' 'Legion'), and is planning a 2012 release.
Written By: Catherine Fischer, a sci-fi/fantasy master in the Y.A. genre
What It's About: Seventeen-year-old Finn lives in a living, ever-changing prison where no one but him can remember an "outside." Even he's not sure his vague memories are real, until he hears the voice of a young woman, Claudia, who tells him she's the prison warden's daughter, trapped in a world where everyone lives according to centuries-old rules and technology.
Movie Cred: Taylor Lautner is set to play Finn, but despite rumors that Emma Watson is the front-runner to play his leading lady Claudia (bringing together the 'Harry Potter' and 'Twilight' fandoms), there's no director or other cast attached yet to the twisty steampunk adventure.
Written By: Ally Condie, a Stephenie Meyer–esque mother of three who hit publishing paydirt with a seven-figure deal
What It's About: Cassia's world is completely without choice: The Society chooses your job, your home, your entertainment options, your spouse. But on the day of Cassia's matching ceremony, a technical error shows her the face of Ky, even though she's actually been assigned to marry her best friend Xander, a rare privilege. Given that scrap of doubt, she begins to see Ky everywhere, making her question Society's control.
Movie Cred: The producers behind the teen-friendly movies 'Hairspray,' 'The Last Song' and 'Step Up' are on board to adapt the series.
Written By: Veronica Roth, a young, first-time author who wrote the manuscript her senior year at Northwestern University
What It's About: In a distant future, society is divided into five co-existing "factions": Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the kind), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave) and Erudite (the intelligent). When 16-year-old Beatrice Prior chooses to live in Dauntless over her native Abnegation, she's initiated into her fearless new community by a mysterious blue-eyed instructor named Four, who reveals a secret that changes their lives.
Movie Cred: Optioned by the producers of 'Gladiator' and the upcoming 'Great Gatsby' adaptation, this fiercely original series is sure to create as much of a buzz on-screen as it has on the page since its release in May.
More Teen Page-to-Screen:
- No stranger to Y.A. adaptations, Catherine Hardwicke ('Twilight') will direct James Dashner's sci-fi series 'The Maze Runner,' which follows a group of 60 boys trapped in a maze that gets even twistier with the arrival of its first, mysterious girl.
- Maggie Stiefvater's poignant 'Shiver' trilogy, a love story about a Minnesota teen whose yellow-eyed dream guy turns out to be a werewolf (but no vamps, we swear), has a writer and studio attached.
- Carrie Ryan's post-apocalyptic zombie thriller 'The Forest of Hands and Teeth' (also featuring the requisite love triangle) was adapted by W. Peter Iliff, who wrote 'Varsity Blues' and 'Patriot Games.'
- Lauren Oliver's futuristic love-is-a-disease drama 'Delirium' was optioned by Fox 2000, which also optioned her debut novel 'Before I Fall,' about a high-schooler who relives the day she dies in an accident (a la 'Groundhog Day') for seven days.
- Author Julianna Baggott's post-nuclear-holocaust thriller 'Pure,' which hits bookstores Feb. 8, 2012, has already been swept up by Fox 2000, a studio that's clearly ready to be the go-to-distributor for young-adult books.