Following the financial success of Fifty Shades of Grey, Hollywood’s takeaway appears to be that audiences will support stories derived from published fanfiction… especially if there’s a steamy aspect to it. Now that the vampire lover Edward has inspired kinky businessman Christian Grey, a new object of obsession will be moving to the big screen, this one with roots on the pop music charts.
Anna Todd’s book series After chronicles the torrid romance between college freshman Tessa and the tattooed, British "bad boy" Hardin Scott, who changes everything about the squeaky-clean girl with just one kiss. Over time, it was revealed that Todd’s inspiration for Hardin was Harry Styles of the mega-group One Direction – a fact that might have helped the book secure a movie-rights deal. THR reports that Paramount is moving forward with a movie adaptation of After, and has hired Susan McMartin (the CBS sitcom Mom and Eddie Murphy’s upcoming Cook) to pen the screenplay.
On the surface, this makes a ton of sense. Anna Todd’s books were first published on Wattpad, and have since racked up more than 1 billion reads (according to the THR report). Paramount will hope that the fanbase that supported Fifty Shades of Grey will respond to After in a similar fashion. The Valentine’s Day release milked its scandalous headlines for a worldwide gross of $569 million. Sequels have been greenlit, though the cast currently is negotiating for more money while the studio looks for a new director.
In addition, though, Paramount could luck in to a new franchise if After ends up being a hit. Anna Todd produced a series of books in the After line, so sequels to the film could be adapted from novels like After We Collided, After We Fell and After Ever Happy. The movie, in turn, could inspire a run on purchases of the books, another win that happened with Fifty Shades. When these deals succeed, multiple platforms soar.
Need proof there's a fan base? After already has movie trailers on YouTube. Lots of them:
The argument regarding fanfiction often becomes that it’s not worthy enough of a genre to be adapted to the silver screen. Fifty Shades, as many of you know, started as fanfiction for Twilight -- a saga with plenty of its own detractors. However, if Anna Todd is able to tap into One Direction’s fan base as well as the growing audience that her books have attracted, I have a hard time seeing how a movie like After could fail.