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'Mortal Instruments' Looking to Global Box Office to Avoid 'Twilight' Curse

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Bower - H 2013
Screen Gems
"The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones"

The $60 million adaptation of Cassandra Clare's young adult bestseller had a soft opening in the U.S.

BERLIN – Germany's Constantin Film, the producer of Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, is hoping enthusiastic international fantasy fans will compensate for the film's lackluster start in the U.S.

The adaptation of the hit young adult novel by Cassandra Clare that stars Lily Collins made just $14 million over its first five days in the U.S., a soft opening for the $60 million property produced and financed by Constantin and planned as the first film in a franchise aimed at the same global audience that made Twilight a mega-hit.

Martin Moszkowicz, head of film and TV at Constantin and an executive producer on Mortal Instruments, blamed the weak early U.S. figures on "a strongly competitive environment," which included a pair of similarly-skewing genre pics in Lionsgate's horror movie You're Next and Edgar Wright's sci-fi action-comedy The World's End. He also cited strong holdovers The Butler and We're the Millers. Sony's Screen Gems picked up the film for the U.S.

Mortal Instrument's international rollout has only just begun. Constantin said the film's total take so far is $26.6 million, driven by a U.K. bow of around $1.8 million and more than $1.4 million from Australia. Several major territories follow this week, including Spain, Italy, Germany and Mexico. From there, the film will make its way around the world throughout the fall and into the winter months.

Moszkowicz said it was still too early to make a prognosis for Mortal Instrument's global box office revenue. But Constantin has proven before that it can successfully use international markets to recoup a shortfall in the U.S. Paul WS Anderson's The Three Musketeers (2011), a Constantin production, earned s disappointing $20 million in its U.S. release through Summit Entertainment, but went on to gross some $150 million worldwide.

Despite the soft U.S. start, Moszkowicz said the reaction from the book's fan base has been "very positive." And he said that Constantin is proceeding with plans to begin shooting a sequel, Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes, in Toronto this fall.

The performance of Mortal Instruments is being closely watched for the signal it sends to an industry eager for YA franchises to fill the void left following the end of the Twilight box office juggernaut. YA best-sellers were snatched up by the truckload in the wake of Twilight's success, but so far only Lionsgate's The Hunger Games has been a true break-out hit, grossing $400 million in the U.S. and around $700 million worldwide. Some have spoken of a Twilight curse that has affected most films trying to emulate its success.

Other YA adaptations have produced mixed results. Lionsgate's zombie-themed Warm Bodies has earned a comparatively modest $117 million worldwide, according to figures from boxofficemojo.com, while Warner Bros.' Beautiful Creatures was a flop, earning less than $20 million stateside and $60 million globally.

Even Andrew Niccol-directed The Host, based on a novel by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, failed to deliver, earning around $26 million in the U.S. and less than $50 million worldwide.