The Powers That Be heard the fangirls coming. Twilight had been out for less than forty-eight hours when the sequel was greenlit—not a surprise to anyone who had felt the earthquake of a million feet stampeding for the theatre nearest them. However, a week before Twilight’s release, its production company Summit quietly optioned P.C. and Kristin Cast’s YA vamps-in-boarding-school series House of Night, bringing two bestselling YA vampire series under one roof.
The seventy-million dollar message is clear: teens want paranormal YA adaptations, and they want them NOW.
The question is: who’s next?
Berkley, with its recent US trade rerelease of Robin McKinley’s Sunshine, has slyly tossed its hat in the ring, and movie producers couldn’t ask for a better contender: written prior to Twilight’s release, Sunshine has had several years to grow and keep a large audience, and there are hints of a sequel on the horizon. With such a well-written hotbed of forbidden human/vampire love, and a heroine more Buffy than Bella, Hollywood should come knocking soon if it hasn’t already.
Of course, the sign-ups needn’t stop there. Producers are bound to drool over the Dracula-cum-Gossip Girl Blue Blood series, in which models are vamps who stay slim by living off human blood (which explains a lot). If brand-name vampires push the costume department over-budget, you could try the good-girl-gone-Gothic aesthetic of Claudia Gray’s Evernight books, with a loner heroine up against a bevy of beautiful, dangerous monsters—a story that rings true with anyone who spent more than five minutes inside a high school. And when Hollywood gets tired of making pointy dentures, there’s always room for a chaste thwarted-love story in the vein of Laura Whitcomb’s ghostly A Certain Slant of Light. (Get it? In the vein? Sorry. I’m sorry. I don’t know what I’ve been…drinking. Okay, seriously, sorry.)
Then again, without blockbuster numbers, it’s hard to tell how well a title will translate. It’s a no-brainer that a book that sells 1.3 million copies in one day will get some butts in the seats , but those numbers are treated like Halley’s Comet—it comes around occasionally, but you never know who will get to see it. For every Twilight there’s a buzzed-about book that will never meet expectations (I’m looking at you, The Historian), and even when the book is well-known and beloved, there’s no guarantee the movie will be any good (I’m looking at you, The Golden Compass).
However, with Twilight spurring a burst in YA book sales, audiences are growing, and with a perpetual dearth of decent scripts and an oncoming actors’ strike, Hollywood has plenty of time to sit back and watch for movie opportunities that don’t require strategic placement of Drew Barrymore.
Tell us: what YA paranormals would you line up to see at the midnight show?