(CNN) — Outside of superheroes, young adult adaptations have become one of the few thing studios can count on.
From the “Twilight” series ($3.3 billion earned globally) to “Harry Potter” ($7.7 billion total) to “The Hunger Games” ($1.5 billion worldwide so far), franchises based on popular books made for adolescents have turned into a safer gamble. With the alluring promise of an eager, built-in fanbase, even stand-alone YA adaptations — like “The Fault In Our Stars,” which opened at No. 1 in June — hold the potential to be deliciously lucrative.
Taking stock of the studio landscape, it isn’t too surprising that “The Giver’s” moment at the movies has finally come to pass. Based on Lois Lowry’s best-selling, award-winning 1993 novel, “The Giver” actually struggled to make it into production, being ahead of its time with dystopian themes of an all-controlling government and a young boy who begins to rebel against it.
When Jonas is elected to become the Receiver of Memory, he learns from The Giver — the wizened, silver-haired gentleman seen gazing out from the book cover — all that’s amiss in his world.
Lowry’s tale resonated with actor Jeff Bridges upon its release, and he initially pictured his father, Lloyd Bridges, playing the role of The Giver. But Bridges’ road to getting the movie made turned out to be longer than he thought.
According to Lowry, Bridges and his team first approached her about two years after “The Giver” was published.
“He was passionate about the book,” Lowry said at the movie’s August 11 premiere in New York. “What sold me on it was his passion. I knew he wouldn’t let the themes and ideas of the books be lost.”