Shadowhunters are very fearful when it comes to how well their beloved movie will do in the box office. The sad thing about book-to-movie adaptations recently – especially YA – is their obvious failure to draw audiences to the theater. We’ve seen a pattern recently with Beautiful Creatures and The Host; studios throw money at these popular book series thinking the built in audience will bring in the big bucks. However, for some reason these adaptations are barely making bank, and fans of Cassandra Clare’s best selling series believed The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones would break that pattern and move forward with future installments.
Last April, fans were delighted to hear that Constantin Films had green lighted City of Ashes, the second book in The Mortal Instruments series. Some people were skeptical saying it was “too soon” for the studio to move forward with a sequel, but the movie makers were relying on the fervent online community for the film’s success. Many people thought The Mortal Instruments would do well. It’s action packed, romantic, and entertaining. So what went wrong? Instead of asking “why” (which we kinda already know the answer to), I’d like to dive into the future and hope for City of Ashes.
Sony and Constantin Film dulled out $60 million for the Young Adult Fantasy film and another $60 million in marketing, and unfortunately the reality of the numbers are a bit crushing. The first weekend came in third at the box office with only $9.3 million according to Box Office Mojo. People who aren’t even versed in movie business lingo know that that number is extremely low. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones has now been in theaters for a week earning a total of $26.6 million domestically including some countries worldwide. The Hollywood Reporter wrote an article stating “‘Mortal Instruments’ Looking to Global Box Office to Avoid ‘Twilight’ Curse”, here’s what they had to say on the box office forecast:
Mortal Instrument’s international rollout has only just begun. Constantin said the film’s total take so far is $26.6 million, driven by a U.K. bow of around $1.8 million and more than $1.4 million from Australia. Several major territories follow this week, including Spain, Italy, Germany and Mexico. From there, the film will make its way around the world throughout the fall and into the winter months. Moszkowicz said it was still too early to make a prognosis for Mortal Instrument’s global box office revenue. But Constantin has proven before that it can successfully use international markets to recoup a shortfall in the U.S. Paul WS Anderson’s The Three Musketeers (2011), a Constantin production, earned s disappointing $20 million in its U.S. release through Summit Entertainment, but went on to gross some $150 million worldwide
You see that Shadowhunters! Don’t lose hope now!
Constantin has proven to do well internationally, yet with the soft opening in the U.S., sales will not be reliant on just the box office. With a possible franchise comes licensed merchandise. Hot Topic as well as other merchandisers have been in high demand over their Mortal Instruments products when they debuted back in June. Fans went a little crazy over items on presale, the demand was so high merchandiser couldn’t keep up. Some items sold out instantly, and fans are still searching high and low for Isabelle’s night club dress, mugs, and of course shirts with the actor’s faces on them.
The soundtrack to the film was released just a couple days prior with artists such as Demi Lovato, Colbie Caillat, and Ariana Grande. Also the movie tie-in books are bringing in revenue for the film. The Co-President of Constantin had something to say about the subject in LA Times recent article discussing “Building a Foundation”.
Even if the movie performs moderately, it will still warrant a sequel. Now that $60 million has been spent worldwide on prints and advertising, you can already see how the book sales are accelerating, the soundtrack is hitting the charts. Even if the first one doesn’t become a gigantic success, we will have a profitable track ahead of us.” – Co- President of Constantin
The quote above settled many of the fans worries, but not to put a damper on anything, the article was published two days prior to the movie’s U.S debut. The co-president might be singing a different tune these days.
City of Ashes is set to begin filming mid September, but at any moment the production companies could pull the plug on the project. With a sequel comes redemption, the moviemakers have the opportunity to fix their mistakes and continue the story telling. As my friend Christine said in her The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Movie Review and Discussion video – “It felt like a bunch of action sequences mashed together with not enough dialogue in between to properly develop anything that was going on. Or properly develop the characters.”
As a HUGE fan of Cassandra’s series, I know that City of Bones is just a small part of the series. I’m still on the edge about the movie, I liked it, and I hated that I ridiculed a movie that I so wanted to love. We need a sequel to explain the world Cassandra Clare so beautifully constructed, then general audiences will be used to it. I have faith that City of Bones will make a formidable profit with merchandise, the soundtrack, and the box office revenue combines. Producers of the film know how hard-core the fans are, and will surely try their best to do us right.