The final film in the Maze Runner motion picture trilogy comes out this weekend, and we have to be honest: It’s something of a milestone event. No, it’s not because the Maze Runner films are the most popular movies in the world. It’s actually because The Maze Runner series is one of the very few Young Adult (YA) movie franchises to actually reach its conclusion. It may not have made as much money as Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games, but The Maze Runner actually adapted all the books in the series, and that’s more than most YA would-be movie franchises can say for themselves.
In Hollywood’s mad dash to duplicate the success of the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises, studios swept up the rights to every YA sci-fi/fantasy series they could find and rushed them into production, resulting in a tidal wave of similar motion pictures. For the most part they cannibalized each other, even the good ones, leaving audiences irked by shoddy adaptations of popular books, or by movies that felt like they were chasing old trends instead of trying to start new ones. Most of these YA movies were supposed to launch successful franchises, and only a handful of them earned a sequel, and even fewer still were popular long enough to adapt every book in their respective series. Still, there’s probably an alternate reality somewhere where the Eragon movies are still going strong, or where Vampire Academy was the number one film of the year, or where Alden Ehrenreich had to turn down the title role in Han Solo because he was too committed to the blockbuster Beautiful Creatures franchise.
With that in mind, let’s explore the YA movie franchises that almost were (for better or worse). Most of these came after the huge success of Harry Potter, but you’ll see that Hollywood has been chasing the YA market long before the boy wizard hit it big.
So there you have it — 25 Young Adult would-be movie franchises that failed on the franchise part (and sometimes on other parts too). Were any of these series that you wish had been seen to fruition? Let’s discuss in the comments!