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How 'young adult' fiction conquered the box office

By Steve Holden
Newsbeat entertainment reporter

Published
image copyrightAP
image captionJennifer Lawrence takes the lead in The Hunger Games

The UK is the latest country to see the film version of the Hunger Games top the movie box office.

It took £4.9 million in its opening weekend, having already broken records in the US.

The appetite for movies based on 'young adult' fantasy books has grown in recent years.

In 2011, the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises accounted for almost a tenth of all tickets sold in UK cinemas.

That's a hefty chunk when you consider 577 films were released domestically in 2011.

In total, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 took more than £104 million at the UK box office.

But with no more Potter films to be made and the final Twilight movie coming out later this year, producers are on the look-out for the next adaptable series of 'young adult' fiction.

Some of the people who've starred in, and been involved in the genre, explain the appeal.

Jamie Campbell-Bower (Caius in the Twilight saga)

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionJamie Campbell-Bower

"For a while, the film industry hadn't catered for that market between 12 years-old and the early twenties / late teens.

"There's a resonance with that particular age group because they felt they never mattered. Noses were turned up at them.

"But now the teenager matters. That's why authors are writing for teenagers and that 'young adult' populous. It's nice for them to be taken seriously. You used to see a kids film and it's a kids film. You see an adult film it's for adults. There's been nothing in between until now."

Sam Claflin (Prince William in Snow White vs. The Huntsman)

"So many teenagers are on social networking sites and that's where the buzz starts.

"Having them as the target audience is perfect as they are the guys that spread the word quicker than anyone else.

"To target an audience of that age and who have that lifestyle is perfection really."

Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter series)

image copyrightPA
image captionHarry Potter set the trend says Bonnie Wright

"I think Harry Potter was very much an early example of the recent teen trend.

"For the filmmakers, they have such an avid following of the books, you already have your target audience.

"All these films have come from books so it's hopefully inspiring children to read."

David Yates (Director of 4 Harry Potter movies)

image copyrightPA
image captionDavid Yates directed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

"Ultimately audiences will flock to see good films and films that have an iconic reach.

"It's wonderful these movies are based on books. I credit JK Rowling more than anything for getting young people reading. It's what the Hunger Games has done too.

"It's exciting that people will follow a book's translation to the screen."

More on this story

  • The Hunger Games is something new, say teen film's cast