The Maze Runner


5 reasons why ‘The Maze Runner’ has the potential to be a huge success

August 28, 2013

With the latest book-to-film YA movies being slumps at the box office, I was brainstorming about which upcoming films I feel have the potential to jump out of that valley of misfortune, due to true and exciting originality. I had the chance to visit the set of The Maze Runner in Louisiana, and while I can’t reveal anything about my trip just yet, I feel like the film will be a success for a variety of reasons. Of course, marketing and advertising will play a big part in box office numbers, but it has many huge advantages in the bag already. I thought I’d share them with you! The film stars Dylan O’Brien, is being directed by Wes Ball, and is based on the novel by James Dashner. It hits theaters on February 14th, 2014.

1. It’s aimed at young guys (but girls will love it too)!

Woah! A young adult GUY movie? That’s different for this genre at the moment. After Twilight, almost every YA film made has been aimed at least somewhat towards women. Beautiful Creatures, The Host, The Mortal Instruments, none of them are guy movies. The base audiences of these films have been 80% women. Attracting more than 20% of guys to the box office can only be a good thing for their numbers!

The thing about male-based movies like The Maze Runner is that unlike guys and chick-flicks (generally, guys don’t like chick-flicks)…girls will also like this movie! I’m certainly excited for it. This is a mature story, as well. It’s a mature action packed adventure that both guys and girls will love, and both young AND old people will love. It’s not dumbed down for young people – unlike Percy Jackson, it’s going to feel real.

2. The cast is nearly entirely male – and they aren’t all described as impossibly attractive. What?!

Bella, Tris, Katniss, Clary – the latest heroes of this latest YA film craze have all been women. There’s an obsession with the “strong female lead” which is absolutely awesome (I absolutely love The Hunger Games, Divergent, and many other books with badass female protagonists) but people are looking for something new at the box office in the YA genre. For some reason, guys and girls can relate to a male hero but males are reluctant to relate to a female hero. I personally don’t believe Harry Potter wouldn’t have been as successful if the titular character were a girl. Sad, but true. Like Harry Potter, Thomas is an unlikely hero. He isn’t particularly athletic or confident at the beginning of the story, but we grow with him.

3. It doesn’t fit into any popular ‘genre’ exactly – this makes it stand out!

Supernatural? Not really. Dystopian? Sort of. We don’t really know for most of the book since the entire plot shrouds our world in mystery. Romance? Certainly not. Is there a love triangle? Nope. If it must be categorized, it would be put into the “Sci-fi/Dystopian” mold. This has much wider appeal than fantasy. There are no vampires, no Shadowhunters, there are no passionate make-out scenes. The plot-point of the maze is extremely intriguing, so the audience is right there, gripped like James Dashner’s characters.

4. It features talented up-and-coming talent, mixed with seasoned veterans.

Dylan O’Brien, an up-and-comer, plays the lead in this film. He has a huge fan base from his role of Stiles on Teen Wolf (seriously, have you been on Tumblr, recently?) and he’s refreshingly goofy and hilarious. We also have a cast of seasoned British actors like Thomas Brodie-Sangster of Game of Thrones, Kaya Scodelario of Skins, and Aml Ameen of The Butler. Then, we have Patricia Clarkson…she was nominated for an Academy Award! Plus, we have total newcomers like Blake Cooper as Chuck. This is a seriously impressive cast.

Wes Ball, an extremely talented young director (he created the short film, Ruin), has taken on this story as his first movie. So he’s diving into it with fresh eyes and understanding – and a lot of care and love. Then we have people like Wyck Godfrey, who is producing some of the biggest book-to-film adaptations the world has ever seen – Twilight, The Fault in Our Stars, and more. He knows what he’s doing. Experience, mixed with the wide-eyed excitement of talented newcomers is key here!

5. It’s based on an extremely popular book with a fanbase that reaches hugely wide demographic.

My 12 year old brother absolutely loves The Maze Runner, I love The Maze Runner. I’m a 21 year old girl! This is an extremely wide appeal. The world is always looking for something truly original, and I feel like this story fits the bill. The book is hugely popular, and has been for a while. The Facebook page of the film already has over 100,000 ‘likes.’ If that’s not proof of the pudding, I don’t know what is.

Some girls will want to see it for the guys (if their Comic Con audience was any indication – it was probably half Dylan O’Brien fangirls), some will be drawn in by marketing, some by the book, and men will see it because they can identify with a male lead/cast. Of course, there’s all the action, interesting relationships, that aren’t too sappy. It’s just logic. Not all guys are into The Host and various other YA adaptations because they have female leads and are trying to sell romance. The Maze Runner appeals to everyone.

Do you think The Maze Runner will be a hit?

Kimmy is a 21 year old nerdfighter who is the founder and editor-in-chief of Page to Premiere. When she's not writing about books and movies here or on her Hunger Games site called, she loves Tumblr-ing, eating sushi, drinking Thai iced tea, and being lazy with her cat Rue! She hopes to be a published author one day. You can follow her on Twitter at @kimmymary.

  • kbrunt92

    I think it will be amazing, but I think a lot more people would think it also if they could see a trailer.

  • Jason Anderson

    Hopefully. I just hope the general movie goers aren’t tired of post-apocalyptic/Dystopia stories by it’s release.

    Since the film comes out a few weeks after the Superbowl, they should use that as an opportunity to get the male demographic interested.

  • EmilyGracie

    eh. I don’t know. I wasn’t a big fan of it. It was alright. I probably won’t be seeing the movie.

  • Greenleaf17

    Agree entirely on this article, but for more accuracy, I’d just like to point out that Patricia Clarkson has only been nominated for an Oscar- she’s still amazing though!

  • Brandon Meacham

    ( SPOILER) Basically, Its Lord of the Flies in a Labyrinth

  • Kimmy West

    Whoops! Thanks for the heads up! Changed it.

  • daniiidarko

    I am excited. I need to read the book, but I’m intrigued. But my boyfriend wanted to see The Mortal Instruments with me. He’s a huge fan of fantasy, so he was interested in it. He says it wasn’t even a bad film… fantasy started out more of a boy’s thing anyways.

  • Kimmy West

    Agreed! Vampire Academy already has one and it’s out on the same day so I’m expecting we’ll get one soon.

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  • scottreadsit

    #1 is only partly true… I am a guy and I saw BC, The Host, and The Mortal Instruments because I wanted to. It is extremely rude to generalize about an entire group of people when it is untrue. I know guys who are fans of The Mortal Instruments and it’s not right to make incorrect assumptions. I’ll definitely be seeing The Maze Runner, but I can’t help but feel annoyed by this post.

  • Phil Barrett Turner

    Almost everything’s true, although I’m a dude who’s read The Host and TMI and who enjoyed the movies, and who also saw Beautiful Creatures. The Mortal Instruments has a huge female fan base but has also a lot of male fans. It’s a fantasy story, it’s not only about romance. BC and TH are kind of more about romance though, but I did like them because of the action, especially in The Host.

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  • irritated

    As a huge fan of The Maze Runner, I was excited to see this article appear on my twitter feed. I was so, so disappointed.

    Basically you’re saying The Maze Runner will do well because it appeals to men and stars primarily men. How is that “something new”? I understand the point you’re trying to make but I can’t help but feel like you’re doing it in the wrong way. “Girls will want to see it for the guys” while “men will see it because they can identify with a male lead/cast”? Because clearly we girls shouldn’t, and can’t possibly, be interested in something that does not star attractive men? Of course, men see the deeper meaning and can identify though!
    I know more female fans than male fans of TMR. You say girls and guys can relate to the male hero (but not female ones) but the rest of the article doesn’t seem to add up to that. Your logic makes no sense in saying this movie will do well because of the male audience or a male protag. Are you forgetting Harry Potter? Clearly, I just cannot identify with Harry because I’m a girl. While your point about the well-known cast is valid and I do agree with it, the amount of generalisation in the rest of this article is just irritating and your gender stereotypes are insulting and comes across as thoughtless.

  • Kimmy West

    The audiences for these films have been over 80% women. I feel like that’s cause to generalize that they aren’t “guy movies.” If these have had a 20% rate of attendance by men, then I think ‘The Maze Runner’ will double that.

  • Kimmy West

    In addition to. Girls like me will be attracted to TMR for the story, but others will be attracted because they are fans of Dylan, etcetera. The audience at Comic-Con was probably half Dylan O’Brien fangirls. I’m not saying women are only attracted by the men. Just some, are. Like I said: in addition to.

    We’ve seen a lot of YA female based movies, this article is about the fact that, as a YA movie, this will break out of the mold set by other films in this genre for the past few years. We’ve seen a lot of girl films (they’ve all had a 80% female audience), I am ready for something new. Guys are an audience this YA genre hasn’t tried to tap into. It’s a fact that guy orientated films bring in the box office bucks. It’s why we haven’t seen a Wonder Woman movie yet, but Batman Spiderman and Superman are being remade over and over again. This isn’t why The Maze Runner will be a GOOD movie, or a BETTER movie than the other YA films. It’s why I think it will be SUCCESSFUL.

    Also no, I’m not saying women can’t relate to Harry. The oppopsite, it’s why it’s so successful. Guys and girls relate to Harry, but it’s harder to get guys to relate to female heroines. This article is not thoughtless. I put a lot of thought into it.

  • Kimmy West

    I actually agree with this, haha. However, in TMR, James Dashner believes that if put into a ‘Lord of the Flies’ situation, the guys wouldn’t become more and more hostile. They’d become more and more organized and determined to escape.

  • Kimmy West

    It is a generalization. The base audience of the latest YA films has been approximately 80% women.

  • scottreadsit

    Glad I’m not the only guy who was bothered by this post! As a fan of TH, TMI, and BC, I totally agree!

  • Phil Barrett Turner

    Well, you’re probably right…
    But I didn’t know The Maze Runner was a guy book, I mean it’s a dystopian novel and I’m pretty sure the fan base is similar to that of The Hunger Games or Divergent, which is mixed.

  • Phil Barrett Turner

    And we got a Divergent one, and that adaptation’s coming out a little more than a month after TMR, so we’re supposed to have a trailer by now… Ugh I need one :’)

  • Kimmy West

    It has a huge amount of female readers, like Hunger Games. I just think the film itself will attract more guys than any other recent YA film (and certainly more junior high aged boys) which means it’s tapping into a large amount of people that will buy tickets and haven’t shown up to the latest YA movies = more box office money.

  • mirandathevampgirl

    I agree

  • mirandathevampgirl

    Good for you :)

  • Lindsay

    You realize there have been all of, oh, two movies that were released this summer with female leads, right? Is it really so important that we have another popular YA movie at the expense of female representation? The film industry and the industry of YA adaptation are two very different things- the last thing we in film land need is more movies starring young white boys.

    I don’t mean to sound condescending, but I realize you’re young and, let’s face it, a little myopic. But to hear you say cite a lack of a Wonder Woman movie as a reason why we should have more male-lead YA adaptations, rather than we should work harder and try better at female-lead properties, is frankly disheartening.

    And of course girls can relate to Harry. We are trained by the media to see and understand the male perspective since birth. Men, on the other hand, are not. “The Male Gaze” – Google it.

    Incidentally, the reason we don’t have a Wonder Woman movie is because the rights are held by Warner Brothers. Take a look at their track record.

  • daniiidarko

    Yesss! Fantasy has a huge appeal to both genders! My boyfriend is one of the biggest fantasy nerds I know. In fact, he is playing the new Final Fantasy as I write this. He wanted to see all of those films with me, because he wanted to. Sure it’s no Harry Potter, but not everything should be.

  • Kimmy West

    This article is not why I think TMR is better or why male led-movies are better. I don’t believe they are. This is why I think the movie will be SUCCESSFUL. Hence the title. This website is about the YA book to film craze at the moment, and this article is about why I think this movie will end the slump of them bombing at the box office. That’s all.

    If you don’t like that male-orientated films have a wider demographic than female-orientated ones, then take that up with the universe. This article is JUST why I think it will be successful.

  • Kimmy West

    We’ve had like 5 similar YA films led by white pale girls with brown hair in a row and I would like a change. That doesn’t make me against female representation.

  • Lindsay

    Homeslice, I understand your prerogative, but “take it up with the universe” – well I hope that’s an attitude you’ll grow out of. I can think of a myriad of reasons why the film will be successful without gleefully perpetuating sexist attitudes that do effect you in the real world.

    Consider this: the movies are bombing at the box office because they’re bad, not because they star women.

  • Eneya Vorodecky

    Sweety, there are what… FIVE movies with female characters and you are happy for FINALLY having a movie with predominantly male cast? Are you serious? We already have a dissproportionate ratio of women even having SPEAKING roles in movies (I am not even going to mention The Bechdel test), yet alone being active characters.

    Though, you put an interesting topic.
    Why do guys have issues with the recent YA novels (sans things created by Stephanie Meyers… that I completely understand)? The Hunger Games is a neat trilogy, Beautiful people is… no idea, haven’t watched it, but damn, it can’t be worse than Transformers and other “guy movies” like it. So… is it because it is not obviously “it is done MAINLY for male audience”? Or maybe it is because “the main character is actually male”? If the latter… what’s the issue with having a female lead? Is it a gender issue or how they are written or something else?

    And about the “incredibly attractive”, now this is a double standard. EVERY movie we see (especially hero/super/whatever) we see the female character (especially if she is a love interest) is extremely attractive but the castings for guys are a lot more diverse. I find it boring, to have only incredibly identical and attractive people to be our heroes but what’s your problem with it, because I think you are coming from a different place of reason?

  • Eneya Vorodecky

    This is called MARKETING. ;) Yes, it is a bit dumb, yes it is… O.o but I’d like to as you. Do you think ANY of those movies are good? Because I don’t think so (sans maybe Hunger Games)…. so… why are they so popular? Oh… i know… BECAUSE THERE ARE NO OTHER OPTIONS.

    Really, every second movie we have is about special male main character who is so special and snowflakey and stuff… which is just a trope, it is understandable… but when you don’t see stories in which you can identify with the character, whatever comes out, you will take it, because crap is more than zero. ;)

  • Eneya Vorodecky

    Ok, but WHY are boys and men having issues with female leads? his is a movie blog… so you should be at least have thought about it, so, why is that? because you have said multiple times “for some reason”. What is the reason? Is it something set in stone or the fact that when TWO movies with female leads from YA novels come out people bemoan that they have been drowned in “girl movies”?

  • Kimmy West

    Consider this: I don’t think movies bomb because they star women. The Hunger Games starred a woman and was brilliantly successful. So did Twilight. I just think that The Maze Runner has a better chance of being successful due to it reaching out further than this 80% female audience. “Take it up with the universe” because this article is NOT ABOUT social justice and getting the world to all go see movies starring women, it’s about why I think a movie will be successful NOW. TODAY.

    Not in the future when people’s minds have been changed and women are more fairly treated in the world. When men will go gleefully rush to the movie theater to watch romance with passionate love and sprinkers and Demi Lovato singing (which isn’t happening any time soon). Trust me, I’d like the world to remove their sexist attitudes just as much as you, I’m a woman. I’m not “gleefully perpetuating sexist attitudes.” I’m just explaining why a movie with a larger demographic, that will appeal to more than 20% of men, and is different than The Mortal Instruments, Beautiful Creatures, The Host, will do better than them (read: actually make money and not bomb).

    I’m not being sexist. I’m just being honest to how the climate is at the movie theater right now. Sigh.

  • Eneya Vorodecky

    Yes but you bemoan the fact that they are girls… not that they are written the same. See… let us compare:
    “ugh… there are so many guy movies this summer and I am bored with it, i want something new… finally there is a movie with female lead”
    “ugh, I am bored with the identical plots/stories and main characters I have been seeing all summer with all the movies with male leads… i want something new and different”.

    See, the first is putting the gender as the main issue with the movies and the second the characters, which now you say is your issue. See? Not hard.

  • Kimmy West

    I’m “bemoaning” the fact that they are girls because I am looking for something different in this YA genre that I spend my days analyzing on this website. I like the films with female leads. I have a website about The Hunger Games. I liked The Mortal Instruments and The Host. I’m not saying it’s a BAD thing these films have girls in them I’m just saying having a male lead will be a different sort of YA novel turned movie and maybe bring more guys to the box office than The Host, The Mortal Instruments, or Beautiful Creatures. I’m saying making guys not think all these YA films are crap is key to making them successful because males are 50% of the population, and appealing to more than 20% of them is sure to help with box office numbers.

  • Kimmy West

    Because guys are unnecessarily worried about their masculinity or something. I have no clue exactly why – I run this website about movies, I don’t know all of the answers.

    I just know and agree it’s sad that “chick flicks” are a thing that guys mock, but there isn’t any sort of guy movie that a girl is embarrassed to watch. Same reason girls can dress up as guys with it being totally fine but guys dressing up as girls makes them “gay.”

    I agree with everyone saying it’s unfortunate that films that aren’t marketed specifically towards girls have a wider demographic. This article is about why a film will be successful, NOW, however. Not in some brilliant future when I somehow make the world a perfect, not-sexist place. I’m a girl, I’d love for that to be the case. I don’t think we’ve been drowned in girl movies. I think that they can keep coming out and it will be great. I’m just saying that this one NOT being focused at girls (unlike the last few major young adult genre adaptations made this year) makes it unique in this small niche marketplace that we cover on this website.

  • Kimmy West

    I cover YA genre film adaptations on this website – this article is about that niche. I liked them all. I liked Beautiful Creatures, The Host, The Mortal Instruments. Doesn’t change the fact that they all bombed at the box office. I’m not “happy we’re FINALLY having a movie with a predominantly male cast” – there are plenty and I agree women are under-represented in film. I know what The Bechdel test is. I’m just saying that the fact it is jumping out of the “next twilight young adult adaptation” bubble and is trying to pike the interest of more than 20% of men (the ones I mentioned only appealed to that percentage of guys), will mean it has “potential for success” like the title says.

    This article was not titled “we finally have a movie with a male cast and that makes it better” or “this movie is the most unique thing ever” or “man led movies are better than female led movies” or “a woman lead means a film will do worse” – it’s just “five reasons why I feel it has the potential for huge success.” I feel like my reasons are sound reasons why a film IN THIS MARKETPLACE TODAY (not in some perfect world where men love chick flicks and don’t mock women) will be successful.

  • Eneya Vorodecky

    ok, i see that everyone have kind of jumped over you (sorry, the things I have written have been said multiple times already, my apologies for adding to the swarm or criticism, it’s just… it kinda grinds my gears how you support “yaay, finally something better than all those stupid female leads stories”).

    I understand that this is not your intention, since you have explained but… I am still unsure why gender has anything to do with it. OK, YA novels, you have mentioned it, fine, it is good. Just… the problem is that this attitude is mirrored everywhere, everyday so I think people are a bit tense (me too by the way, I stumbled upon this place seeing a comment in Tumblr how weird the whole wording of the article and the the issue is).

    However… either me and you are reading very different kind of literature (not impossible since we are from different countries and thus, different markets) since I’am number four and the likes of it are coming in piles and piles or something is afoot here. :) Recently I read about a very interesting study which showed that having a 25% women in a group has as results people (both men and women) reporting that the group is predominantly female. :) It is just a little tidbit of trivia but it is also quite interesting in general.

    Anyway, I hope the movie is good but also, I’d like to hope you understand the reasons why the way you have written the article and the reasons why you are glad we finally have a movie that both men and women can relate… by having predominantly male cast, is giving many people a pause. :)

  • Eneya Vorodecky

    My apologies, I will edit my comment with the remark as well, I am so used to use it when I speak with friends that I completely forget how irritating and insulting it sounds, especially over the internet and especially when speaking with women, since it is regularly used in a demeaning way.

  • Rachel O’Connor

    Hey guys, I heard there was this one movie that had a hot male protagonist and everyone loved it! Whan was is called… “Man of Steel”!

  • Katie Storm

    I think They are so popular because fans are eager for the next big thing! Harry Potter was HUGE. When that came to an end fans were left wondering ” What’s next” Hp opened the doors for a lot of Y/A movies to be made specially as the series got darker. Twilight is done-Was a hit. Hunger games will be done within the next couple years. TMI just started 1 out of hopefully six!

  • Katie Storm

    don’t shoot the people for their say on something! Not many guys READ!
    Compared to girls! She’s not saying that guys don’t read or watch movies that girls like, its just rare ( and nice) to see! Its like saying what are the odds of guys camping out in line for a 1D concert!? Slim to none. While 1D sings love songs etc that mainly girls will fall in love with, no ones saying guys cant like them too!

    And she’s using someone else’s words that did all the number crunching. (I would think at least..)

  • Kimmy West

    Thank you! Sigh. I’m I’m commentating on how people react to films at the box office, it’s no me saying ‘this is how it should be’ this is just me saying ‘this is how it is.’ Not about being better, it’s about potential success, hence the title of this article.


  • Maya

    I absolutely love it and I’m a teenage girl! Although I love Divergent, The Hunger Games, The Host, and all that (Uhm, I for a fact DO NOT like Twilight though) I love this! I feel strangely intrigued to it! My favorite character would have to be Teresa because I can relate to her the most, but my dad and brother like it MUCH more than they like the other things.

  • anood s.

    i was really freaking out because it looked like the fan base is so small that this movie wont make it so i’m glad to see that there are a whole bunch of people who love it i just wish that there is more buzz about it plus when are they gonna release the freaking trailer!!!!

  • curious

    I’m a girl who has read and loved The Maze Runner Trilogy, and I am also a huge Dylan O’Brien fan, so I am really excited for it to come out for two reasons! You stated that 80% or the audience for YA movies have been female, do you have a source for that statement? Also, I have a bit of a problem with Bella being called a “strong female character” because I thought that she actually set feminism back. She seems incapable of saving herself, and when Edward leaves her she becomes even more useless. Basically saying that without a man, her life is pointless and she has no future.

  • Guest

    I feel this article was written by a very opinionated young woman that does not have a good understanding of the novel’s diverse audience.

  • Zofia Sierra

    Wow, I was not aware that people labeled films/ novels specifically for “girls” or “guys”.

  • Kimmy West

    If you think they don’t, you certainly don’t understand marketing.

  • Kimmy West

    That’s the point, that it has a huge diverse audience and everyone will love it.