Is The YA Adaption Film Market Oversaturated? | Guest Post from Amy @ Ode to Jo and Katniss

Is The YA Adaption Film Market Oversaturated? | Guest Post from Amy @ Ode to Jo and Katniss

Is The YA Adaption Film Market Oversaturated? | Guest Post from Amy @ Ode to Jo and Katniss

[stextbox id=”guest2″ image=”null”]Since this is a very busy time of year for all three of us, we can’t always keep up with the steady flow of quality content we strive to provide here on Oh, the Books! So we decided to ask a few fellow bloggers to guest post for us during our down time, and Amy agreed to help us out! Amy has become good friend of ours over the past year, and it probably all started with her and Kelley bonding over Star Trek! If you’re not familiar with Amy’s blog, Ode to Jo and Katniss, you should go visit her and say hi immediately!

– Kelley, Asti, & Leanne[/stextbox]

I feel as if every time I look at Twitter, I see that yet another YA book is being adapted to the big screen. At first glance, this seems great, but the more I see, the more I wonder…

Will the film industry soon be too saturated with these YA adaptations?


There are two things I’ve dreamed of for most of my life – to author a book and to be heavily involved in the making of a movie. So believe me, if I was an author whose book was optioned for film, I would be crazy ecstatic. And I hope to one day experience this sensation.

But not every story needs to be shared visually.

I won’t point out specific examples, but there are a couple of YA books that were recently optioned for film that were really underwhelming reads for me. One I think could have some potential for it as a film because of the action and premise, but the other I just cannot imagine as a movie. It just seems it would be so boring to watch the story unfold on screen.

Thinking about this reminded me of a project I did for my Entertainment Marketing class in college, where we had to market a book for a movie. My group chose The Shack, which none of us had read before the project but was popular at the time. While reading it I ran across a problem: it would be a terribly boring movie. That is not necessarily my opinion of it as a book (though I will admit it is not a favorite of mine), but most of the book is conversation.

Could it be a good play? Quite possibly. But a good movie? That would be extremely difficult. And what should have been a fun project became a more difficult one than I had bargained for. Thankfully I just had to write up a marketing plan, not a movie script.

But despite the fact that I think I am oh-so-creative, I’m not always right about these things. On my blog a while ago I adamantly stated that The Book Thief should not be made into a movie. Thankfully, the adaptation turned out quite lovely. Not perfect, of course, but Death still narrated, though non-intrusively, and the characters were spot-on. So who knows, maybe I’m wrong now.

So what do you think? Do you think the movie studios are adapting too many YA novels? What do you look for in a book for movie adaptation potential?

Read 38 comments

  1. I personally see a lot of books as movies in my head. But I don’t actually expect them to make movies out of it. I think book to movie adaptations are now all over the place, and i begin to wonder why. I guess it’s good exposure for the book, but then again, most don’t even stay true to it. Honestly, I like some, but find most to be lacking.

  2. I do think there’s a lot of YA movie adaptations lately and I do wonder if some of them are necessary and really, if some of them could be altered and made into TV series. Some bigger series could be fantastic in this way and it’d stop the market being flooded with YA movies. Not to mention that the movies are marketed as YA, they’re either ‘childrens’ or ‘adults’ with no inbetween which is a shame. I think some books are meant to stay books and only fantastic books with a bit of everything can be movies. Greta post! :D

  3. I’m really glad you wrote this post, Amy, because this is something that’s been bothering me for a while. On the one hand, I do like that they’re taking the hint and deciding that YA book-to-film adaptations are worth it, but it sort of feels like the same of thing where everyone jumps on the bandwagon and wants a piece of the act, whether or not it makes sense. I wish I knew which ones you were thinking about specifically when you wrote this post, but I understand if you don’t want to say the names.

    Your observations about The Shack are pretty interesting, though. I do agree that it would make a terribly boring movie — so why does the prospect of a play seem more palatable? Is it the notion of audience participation? The immediacy of the story, making it more tangible and interesting, as opposed to the pretty detached feeling that accompanies movies? So interesting.

    Thanks again for guest posting on our blog today! I love this discussion!

    • With plays, I think the more intimate setting helps with all the dialogue and little action delivered. Though I haven’t seen or read this play, Waiting for Godot is about a guy sitting and waiting, yet it’s highly revered. No one would go see that movie though. I suppose because there would be some sense of detachment.

      Glad I’m not the only one who has been thinking on this topic!

  4. I’ve always been torn about YA book-to-move adaptations. I like the fact that such sort of publicity will garner readers for the book way beyond they would otherwise. However, like you, I don’t think that every book is written in a way that could be portrayed well on the screen or be enjoyed in the same way. I think it’s about living up to the level of the story in the book.

    I wasn’t sure how I felt about the adaptation of The Hunger Games trilogy but it’s probably one of my favorites YA adaptations out there. They definitely did justice to Catching Fire way beyond my imagination. Yet that’s not the case with every adaptation out there.

    VE Schwab’s Vicious and Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle series are my favorite books ever and I do feel excited about the fact that they’ve been optioned. However, I’m so nervous about how it’ll turn out. I never felt that John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars could be made into a movie that’ll be perfect like the book but it is. And I’m already tired of all the hype.

    In the end, I think it varies. I don’t mind the saturation. I just want the saturation to be on a first class level.

    • I can definitely agree that if there’s going to be a saturation, I want it to be on a first-class level! Catching Fire really was amazing; almost perfect, really! Unfortunately, not all books get treated so well.

      Some YA books would make great movies if the technology was available, but as it is I fear it would fall short, like The Lunar Chronicles for instance. I’d rather them not be done than be done poorly.

  5. I’m a little tired of book-to-movie adaptions, to be honest. I don’t feel like a lot of them are well done and a lot of them don’t really capture exactly what the book was. Book-to-movie adaptations seem to be all the rage now and I’m questioning if the books themselves are even good candidates for movies. I like the publicity that it brings to the book, but when a movie isn’t good, it kills the book a little, too.

    That said however, there are some great adaptations, like the Hunger Games trilogy. Ultimately it comes down to the book being suitable for a movie and how they decide to portray it.

  6. I’m really torn about this! On the one hand, I love it when books I love are adapted for film because it’s just EXCITING — it’s awesome to see the characters and settings come to life on-screen. I do agree that most adaptations are almost always lacking in some way, though. And I agree that right now, the market is a bit over-saturated with the adaptations.

    YA lit isn’t just a market to be jumped into for the profitability. It needs genuine fans to help it grow. Sometimes I feel like certain adaptations were made just to make money (I mean, all films are, to an extent, but still). Those ones always end up being especially awful, I feel like, because the people making them don’t stay true to the book — they change them up for what the filmmakers deem “marketability”, and those adaptations actually end up being *bad*. =/ Some adaptations, though, DO understand the story and stay true to the feel of the books, and I wish more of those would be made, with care and understanding.

  7. I am definitely of the opinion that too many of them are being made into movies. But then in the same instance I think its a good thing so many books are being made into movies. So I’m torn. Many of them are books/movies that I have no interest in so I can’t speak to how well they were adapted or if the movies were even any good. Some I’ll find out when they come to cable cause I most certainly am not renting or buying them or paying to watch them in theater.

    But hopefully it will entice some more teens to read. I know that some of the movies look terrible LOL and so that doesn’t make me want to read the books but who knows maybe teens will love them. What do I know I’m just a woman in her 30s LOL

  8. I’m probably in the minority on this one, but I’m just not a fan of YA adaptations. There are definitely some amazing ones out there, but I feel like it’s getting to the point where everyone is trying to follow a trend and churn out as many movies as possible, which affects the quality. If you can make a quality adaptation, then yeah I’m all for it (Hunger Games, HP, etc), but so many of these feel rushed or underdeveloped/underfunded and I think that hurts the book more than helps it.

  9. I agree that some books don’t deserve the hype and even less to have a movie made out of them. Some books I love so much that I cannot bear to see the movies (I haven’t watched Vampire Academy or City of Bones.) Others have turned out great, like Hunger Games and Harry Potter. Yet other books are so good and the adaptations are awful (Percy Jackson anyone?) Still, I’m looking forward to TFiOS and If I Stay.

  10. It’s unfortunate that a lot of times, the decisions about optioning books for film adaptation aren’t made by creative types — they’re made by number-oriented people who lack the vision to look beyond the bottom line. The investigative process begins and ends with, “How many copies did it sell?” and “Is it in the same demographic as that book-to-film that made a zillion dollars last quarter?”

    On another level, I think all this optioning YA books is taking away from the “get young people to read” movement. How many kids see the movie posters go up and think, “Meh, I’ll just wait for the movie instead of reading the book.”

  11. I feel much the same as the other commenters. The market is really becoming inundated with YA adaptions. It makes me wonder if Hollywood really has run out of original ideas. I also think its giving YA books a bad rap. Non-YA readers are becoming annoyed. And when they see bad movies, they translate it to bad books :/

  12. I have to admit that I do like that there has been a lot of YA adaptations but you do have a point. It’s possible that there may be too many. It’s okay if they’re well done, but sometimes they just fall short of the potential. I feel like there aren’t any original ideas anymore in the film industry, since they seem to be coming out with all book adaptations.. lol

  13. Kelley used the perfect word: bandwagon. While I’m thrilled YA is getting mainstream/media recognition, it really does feel like everyone’s trying to cash in on the latest trends & honestly, half of these series just don’t translate to the big screen. Or any screen for that matter, unless we’re talking e-readers :)

    Sadly it seems that the first movie is so gung-ho, but then it fizzles out. So many of these YA adaptations turn out to be a single movie, rather than a complete franchise (Beautiful Creatures, anyone??)

  14. I guess when it comes down to it, they can make whatever they want into a movie. I mean, Nicholas Sparks has sold the same exact story like six times over and his movies keep coming out so I guess it doesn’t really matter WHAT the book is about as long as they can somewhat turn it into script. My issue with so many YA adaptations is that it seems like they aren’t taken seriously, even by the producers! I haven’t seen Vampire Academy yet, but I’ve heard that it was basically treated as a joke the whole way through. So while I’d love to see more of my favorite books adapted, I’m a bit hesitant. No more Eragons please!

  15. I do like to see all the book-to-movie adaptations, because there are a lot of books I would like to see as films so I’m hoping they will be done someday! But I do think a lot of the films now aren’t made very well or just hurried along to take advantage of the booming interest. If filmmakers really looked at the YA books that would make great films and then tried to actually make a great film it would be nice to read the books and then see it on the big screen after.

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  18. Excellent discussion! I really do agree that maybe TOO many adaptations are being made but…. I am a sucker for a YA adaptation and seeing things on the big screen! I just get so scared that they won’t be adapted well. I do think the choices of movies that they’ve adapted were good though (well, for the most part). Some movies I’ve actually liked more than the books, some almost as much as the books, and some solidified that I just didn’t like the book that much haha.
    I do get worried that too many books are being adapted though! I don’t want it to be a random thing that takes off and then all of a sudden people are doing bad adaptations just to adapt books and draw in a crowd! Tricky business.

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  20. I think there’s definitely books that shouldn’t be movies. I even think my book would be tough to adapt and I’m not sure it’d be a good idea (not that anyone is offering). But when I read Divergent I immediately knew it would be a good movie and, if done well, a better movie than it was a book.

    Hollywood runs in trends that follow the money. I think there’s enough different types of stories in the YA genre that it won’t become saturated because the only people who will notice all the movies are YA books are the people reading YA books. But, even though few people notice, it’s totally getting saturated :)

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