Hollywood thirsts for young adult films as "Twilight" ends
By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As vampires Bella and Edward take their last bites on the big screen, Hollywood studios are on the hunt for the next "Twilight," a movie that plays on teenage angst and, more importantly, lights up the movie box office.
The first four "Twilight" movies earned $2.5 billion at theaters worldwide, propelled by passionate fans of a book series about a vampire-and-werewolf teen love triangle. Box office watchers project "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" will haul in $150 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters this weekend, one of the year's biggest film debuts.
Eager to replicate that performance, studios executives have been trolling through young adult novels with the dream of uncovering the next big blockbuster franchise, paying as much as $1 million to secure the film rights to the hottest books.
At least four films based on books for teenagers will reach theaters next year, with young love forced to overcome alien parasites, evil zombies and other supernatural bad guys.
Executives hope they can uncover a story that excites tech-savvy teens, who supercharged the buzz mill for "The Hunger Games" and other hits by spreading the word to friends through social media posts.
"It's a very enthusiastic and deep passion that young people feel for a book they love," said Nina Jacobson, executive producer of "The Hunger Games," which spawned a blockbuster film franchise with $687 million in worldwide ticket sales this spring.
"When they love something, they share it," Jacobson said.
The four-year "Twilight" movie saga lifted tiny studio Summit Entertainment into Hollywood's big leagues and paved the way for its $412 million acquisition in January by Lions Gate Entertainment, the studio behind "The Hunger Games." Continued...