Movies based on Young Adult books are all the rage right now. Just this year in 2014, there’s Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, If I Stay, and The Maze Runner. However, despite the huge success of movies like The Hunger Games and Twilight, movie production companies are still hesitant to turn popular books into movies. Not all have been successful and the resulting loss of money serves as a huge disincentive to take a risk on a movie based on YA novels. Even with the few non-successes, I believe it is worth it for companies to take a chance. If done correctly, YA movies have the potential to be incredibly successful. With a focus on marketing to the right audience and companies staying true to the beloved story, YA movies have the potential to be very profitable.
When a book’s movie rights are purchased, that doesn’t mean a movie is guaranteed to be made. I am going to argue that it is worth the risk using one of my favorite YA novels. If you aren’t familiar with Ally Carter’s Heist Society series, here is a quick summary from Ally’s website:
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.
Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.
For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.
The rights for Heist Society have been optioned by Lionsgate and Pitch Perfect Producer and Hunger Games star Elizabeth Banks. Here are 5 reasons that Elizabeth Banks should take a risk and follow through on the Heist Society Movie:
1. Girl Power: Hollywood may be making money with heroines like Katniss and Tris, but movies are still largely lacking strong, female lead characters. Heroine Kat has the potential to join the inspirational ranks of some of the most beloved characters of all time. She leads a team of teenagers in completing heists, and does it for all of the right reasons. Young girls need more strong role models. Kat follows her beliefs and stands up for herself and her friends. Her strength and desire to follow her own dreams are inspirational for girls of all ages. The more strong females that appear in movies, the better.
2. Appeals to a large audience: While Heist Society may be a YA book, it has the potential to reach a much larger audience. Besides the fans of the book series, Heist Society can reach many other people. Tweens, teens, and 20-somethings all have the potential to be ready-made fans of the movie because they like the books. Younger children will be intrigued by the strength of Kat and her friends and older audiences will want to see Heist Society because of its basis in real life. Parents will be able to take children of all ages because, unlike The Hunger Games and Divergent, Heist Society is not filled with violence or other PG-13 themes.
3. Based on history: Heist Society isn’t encouraging theft for the sake of the stealing but instead for the sake of righting wrongs. Kat returns to “the business” to save her father and to make something right. Anyone familiar with the story of the Monuments Men will know about the men and women who risked their lives to save artwork from Hitler’s regime during World War Two. Many pieces of art were stolen and never returned to their original owners. Kat and her crew is the modern version of the Monuments Men, working to return stolen works to whom they rightfully belong. This aspect of the story has the potential to attract audiences interested in the history behind stolen art.
4. Story of friendship: YA movies often have a large focus on a romance between two main characters. Kat and Hale’s relationship isn’t based solely on swooning or romance but instead on trust and friendship. While there are romantic feelings between the two of them, their friendship also shows the importance of young women and men working together. Kat’s crew works together seamlessly because their relationships are based on friendship and morals. This is an important message for people of all ages to learn.
5. It’s a story of strength, adventure, and strategy: Who doesn’t like movies that involve adventure, mystery, and strategic thinking? Heist Society is like Oceans 11 with younger characters. It encourages young people to be smart and strategic and to do the right thing. How can that be a bad message to spread in a movie?
Want to see more movies based on YA books? Make sure you go see the ones that are being made-the more successful they are, the more likely it is that studios will be willing to take the risk!
And if you want to see Heist Society made into a movie, let Elizabeth Banks and Lionsgate know via social media: Twitter or Facebook are great options to let them know you support this project!