Is ‘Young Elites’ the Next YA Film Hit?

Source: Penguin Young Readers Group

The studio and producers behind The Maze Runner franchise have just found their next YA film project. Fox and Temple Hill have reportedly bought the rights to Marie Lu’s 2014 fantasy novel The Young Elites. The book, which first hit shelves in October and is the first of a planned trilogy, centers on a group of teens that survived a deadly plague called the blood fever. Many of those who survived have not only been physically transformed, but have also acquired special powers.

This secret band of gifted teens, called the Young Elites, must protect themselves from a group called the Inquisition Axis, which is looking to destroy them. One particular target? Adelina Amouteru, a young woman who — after the plague — has silver hair and only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. She also holds powers the likes of which have never before been seen in their world.

The Young Elites reached No. 4 on the New York Times bestseller list upon its debut. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fox and Temple Hill jumped on the opportunity to develop the big-screen adaptation of the series following the novel’s strong sales. Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, the duo behind the Twilight and Maze Runner franchises, are already on board to produce the project. The film is only in the early stages of development, so it has no writer or director attached yet.

Fox and Temple Hill’s involvement in the project should come as good news to fans of the novel.. The studio has found notable box office success taking on the young adult genre in recent years. The Maze Runner series, based on James Dashner’s collection of novels, kicked off last year, with its debut film earning $340.8 million worldwide. The sequel, The Scorch Trials, is set to hit theaters this fall.

Temple Hill and Fox are also behind last summer’s smash hit The Fault in Our Stars, based on John Green’s 2012 bestselling novel and starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. In addition to elevating Woodley’s star power and effectively putting Elgort on the map, the film proved to be both a critical and commercial success. It nabbed the No. 1 spot at the box office during its opening weekend and eventually grossed more than $266 million worldwide against its budget of $12 million.

Whether the studio can reach similar success with The Young Elites remains to be seen, but it’s easy to see why it sees potential. Young adult dystopian stories, like The Hunger Games and Divergent, have continued to remain popular among moviegoers, drawing sizable audiences to theaters. With two more sequels still set to be released in The Young Elites series, Fox could have another hit franchise on its hands.

The Young Elites will actually mark the second upcoming book-to-film adaptation based on one of Lu’s works. The author is best known for her young adult post-apocalyptic Legend series. The film version of the series has been in development for several years at CBS Films. Bowen and Godfrey are set to serve as producers on that project as well, with Andrew Barrer and Gabe Ferrari (Die in a Gunfight) on board to pen the script and Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies) signed on to direct. A  premiere date has not been scheduled.

The Rose Society, the second novel in The Young Elites series, is currently scheduled for publication on October 6.

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