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A Brief History of YA-Epic Movie Adaptations

From sensitive bloodsuckers to boy wizards, we look at the Young Adult books that have grabbed for the big-screen brass ring
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Summit Entertainment

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The big-screen version of author Veronica Roth's youth-dystopia Divergent will bow in theatres on March 21st, and its producers are clearly hoping for another blockbuster series à la The Hunger Games—or the Twilight or Harry Potter films. The goal now is to make a giant, culture-defining juggernaut that will bring in boatloads at the box office and become a guaranteed-sequel moneymaker. There's something particularly appealing about the grail of the successful YA epic fantasy/sci-fi franchise, too, a kind of magic that comes only when you manage to embed a story in the consciousness of most of the children – and yes, young adults – in America and beyond. It's about as close as pop culture ever gets to creating religion, really; just think of how many times the young must ask themselves, "What would Katniss do?" It would horrify evangelicals just to think about it.

Check out Rolling Stone's Guide to 'Harry Potter'

That said, it's a tricky wicket, the creation of something that actually sticks in the bigscreen YA adaptation genre. The last few years have brought a mixed bag of results, and here are some of the lessons we've learned from both flops and blockbusters as we count down the big-screen YA epics from least to most successful.
By Michelle Dean

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