Now, I am a proud YA reader. Anyone who has been on this blog would be able to tell you so. And I like movies. So when some of my favorite YA books get adapted to movies, that can be pretty exciting. But that does not mean that I’m excited for ALL YA movie adaptations, nor that I think all of them are high quality. Now, why am I getting into this right now? Because, whenever there’s a rush of new YA movie adaptations hitting theaters, on Twitter I see A LOT of sentiment in the YA community, PARTICULARLY from authors, along the lines of the following:
“Watch [insert YA movie adaptation here] to support more YA movie adaptations! If you don’t watch, they won’t happen!! Bad fans!!”
Excuse me. No.
Point 1: Hollywood isn’t going to stop adapting YA books if one film flops. Not all YA is created equal.And this is probably the most important point. Let’s give Hollywood a little credit, okay? They have enough resources to have market researchers who will tell them that NOT ALL YA IS ALIKE. And they do know this. Of course they know this! Otherwise they would have STOPPED making YA movie adaptations entirely after flops like Beautiful Creatures, The Host, and City of Bones, but you know what? They didn’t. They keep coming anyway, because Hollywood also sees that the paranormal romances are dying out, so they move with the trends to dystopias like Divergent and contemporaries like The Fault in Our Stars. They will keep trying so long as there’s money to be made. They will keep trying to find the next Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. Seriously.
And think about it this way, would you say the same about other adaptations? So many films are adapted from books, or comics, or what have you. Are they going to stop making superhero flicks because The Green Lantern flopped? Are they going to stop making romantic dramas or comedies if god forbid a Sophie Kinsella or Nicholas Sparks movie flops? (If it ever happened, doubtful as it is.)
Now yes, if ALL YA movie adaptations flopped, Hollywood could take a note and back away slowly. That’s why I’m not saying we shouldn’t go see ANY YA movie adaptations – but we should be free to support the ones we really want to support. And there will be stand-out hits like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, so I’m not worried. And believe me, when I like a movie adaptation, I make that shit known to the WORLD. I’ll watch it TWICE in theaters, buy merchandise, buy the special edition DVD, spam my Facebook and Twitter friends — THE WORLD WILL KNOW. All of these things, in fact, I did when The Hunger Games came out. And that’s what being a fan truly is to me.
Point 2: I’m not going to watch a YA movie adaptation if I KNOW it’s bad.And this comes mostly because this argument was running rampant when Vampire Academy hit theaters. Come on, guys. We all saw that trailer that turned a kick ass vampire story into Mean Girls: Vampire Edition. We heard the reviews. We saw the 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Why would I PAY to go see that? Because it’s YA? God no. If I were to go see that in theaters, it would send entirely the wrong message to Hollywood. It would tell them, “Sure, take a massively popular book and turn it into a parody of itself – I’d love to pay money to see that.” Quality? What quality? PSH, at least they ADAPTED it, because that’s all that MATTERS now.
By supporting movie adaptations like that (and I realize that it’s mostly a one-off exception), Hollywood could get the wrong idea. We want MORE paranormal romances. We want the drama turned up, the worldbuilding and plot consistencies turned way down, and we don’t really care about the tone of the book shining through. I know adaptations can’t be 100% faithful to their book counterparts, but that doesn’t mean that butchering the book is okay with me. It is not. (And note, I didn’t even really like Vampire Academy that much.)
Not going to see that movie doesn’t mean I’m a bad fan of YA – it means I’m not going to sit by and let my YA books be butchered. Fine, I’m a bad fan of bad quality adaptations. I want better adaptations. If anything, that means I’m the BEST fan of YA. *hair flip*