Universal and Imagine films have announced the development of a film based on the young-adult fantasy novel.
By now, anyone can see the pattern. Every studio is buying up the rights to whatever young-adult fantasy they can find in an attempt to make a great franchise out of it, since that seems to be a way to make a lot of reliable money. Not that all young-adult fantasy franchises are instant successes - The Golden Compass, for example, went nowhere - but they have seen now that if they can find an audience for the first film, and they keep consistent quality for the following films, they have a great built-in audience.
This trend is getting a bit strange, however, in that studios are snatching up these books before they even have a chance to become popular.
I could understand if it was a popular author with a proven track-record, but many of these acquisitions are from mostly unknown authors, and thus are very speculative.
The reason must be that the studios are essentially gambling on the book’s success. True, they can always cancel the film if the book is trash, but if they wait until it’s wildly popular, the cost of obtaining the license would skyrocket. Perhaps they hope that the simple fact that a film is in the works will propel the novel ahead of the pack.
One such gamble is Universal’s development of Arclight. This is Josin L. McQuein’s debut novel. And the studio has already hired a writer to adapt it to a screenplay, and several producers are already on board. No word if they plan on extending the plot to several films, nor if this novel is only the first in a series.
Arclight takes place in a world separated into Light and Dark, geographically. No human who ever passes into the Dark ever returns, but one day, a girl emerges with no recollection of her past. At first she is a curiosity, even a hero, but soon it becomes apparent that a great evil has followed her out of the Dark. The Fade, a parasitic alien race, are on a rampage, and she seems connected. Is she an ally of The Fade or a weapon to be used against them? Even she doesn’t know. Also: she falls in love.
Arclight, the novel, will hit shelves in April 2013. The film is still in the early stages of development, and has no announced production or release dates.