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BERLIN – Constantin is pushing ahead with its adaptations of Cassandra Clare’s best-selling Mortal Instruments franchise and plans to restart production on the second film in the series, The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes, next year.
Constantin slammed the brakes on City of Ashes, which had already begun production, after the first film in the planned franchise, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, underperformed at the box office.
City of Bones, starring Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower, opened to $14 million over its first five-day weekend and grossed about $31 million domestically for Sony/Screen Gems. But the film, which was also critically panned, had a reported $60 million budget, with Sony putting up an estimated $60 million more to promote the film’s release.
Nevertheless, Martin Moszkowicz, Constantin Film’s head of film and TV, said Clare’s massive fan base has responded positively to the adaptation and that Constantin is determined to continue the franchise.
“The fan response, from the blogosphere and the thousands of mails we have received, has encouraged us to keep going,” Moszkowicz told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s been overwhelmingly positive, in contrast to some other YA titles.”
Moszkowicz said international returns for City of Bones means the first film’s worldwide take is now close to $100 million but admits box-office revenue was below Constantin’s forecasts.
“We are analyzing what we did wrong with the first film — particularly with the positioning and marketing — and what changes we have to make. We are working with a great group of people to reposition the franchise [for City of Ashes].”
Moszkowicz suggested one reason for City of Bones’ misfire may have been a marketing campaign that was too narrowly focused on teenage fans, to the detriment of Clare’s 20- and 30-something readers.
“The readers of Mortal Instruments are older than you might think,” he said. “That may have been one issue in our marketing, that we focused too much on a very young audience segment.”
What exactly this will mean for City of Bones is unclear. In addition to studying its marketing mistakes, Constantin will be picking through the Harald Zwart-directed feature to see if the script, casting or style needs to be tweaked for City of Ashes. Sigourney Weaver had been attached to join the cast of the Mortal Instruments sequel.
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