In the wake of the success of such YA adaptations as the Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games movies came a flood of wannabe properties based on other popular YA novels. But already several have come and gone with little more than a whimper, like for instance Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. The teen-centered action-adventure was based on the first of six books in author Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instrument series, but proved such a flop in August that its production company Constantin was quick to shut down production on its already-planned sequel just a week before it was to begin principal photography. However, with some time to assess what went wrong with the first movie, Constantin is proud to announce Mortal Instruments 2 will be happening after all.
This is frankly astounding news considering how badly the first film failed. Opening weekend, the $60 million dollar movie made a little over $9 million, coming in third place behind the historical epic Lee Daniels' The Butler and R-rated comedy We're the Millers. Aside from being scorned by critics, its total domestic gross came to $31 million, and its worldwide total barely broke $80 million. Constantin claims their estimate is closer to $100 million but admits even this was less than they had expected from the property. What makes this total even less impressive is that distributor Sony was said to have spent another $60 million on marketing the picture. But according to Martin Moszkowicz, Constantin Film’s head of film and TV, the problem was not the movie itself, but how its makers chose to sell it. He explained to THR:
“We are analyzing what we did wrong with the first film -- particularly with the positioning and marketing -- and what changes we have to make. We are working with a great group of people to reposition the franchise [for second film]…The readers of Mortal Instruments are older than you might think. That may have been one issue in our marketing, that we focused too much on a very young audience segment."
Moszkowicz went on to say that it was the fervent appreciation fans have shown for the adaptation--if not by box office turnout then by mentions online and emails to its makers--that have encouraged Constantin to pick up where they left off with the sequel, which will be named for the second book in the series Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes. Production is expected to begin next year.
For what's in store for Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes, check out the book's abridged synopsis below:
Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go—especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil—and also her father.
Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Robert Sheehan are likely to return, and Sigourney Weaver has been attached to join them.