The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is just the latest in a long line of wannabe Twilight franchises. Could a fairly solid opening make it the next YA film to do well at the box office?
Brent Lang at The Wrap reports that The Mortal Instruments had a "respectable" $3 million opening yesterday, and is on track to make upwards of $16 million over its first five days of release, when it will go up against the highly praised The World's End and horror-comedy You're Next. That's a much better haul than February's Beautiful Creatures, which grossed only around $7.5 million its opening weekend, and March's The Host, which made $10.6 million opening weekend.
It's not that Mortal Instruments, which is based on the first of a series of Cassandra Clare books about demon-hunters, is necessarily better than its predecessors, but it's loyalty to its source material may help it win over the fans that made Clare's books bestsellers. Producer Robert Kuzler told The Hollywood Reporter's Ford that he and director Harald Zwart intended to make something that was faithful. "If we'd tried to squeeze this book into the current movie formula, we would have had to change so much that we would've ended up with something that the fans don't like," Kuzler said. (Beautiful Creatures fans were outraged, for example, that the movie version of that story differed so much from the book.) Still, Kuzler and Zwart's loyalties to fans may have blinded them to narrative quality: The movie is being savaged by critics, with a 17 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Michael Rechtshaffen at The Hollywood Reporter calls the film a "melodramatic take on the age-old battle between the forces of good and evil." Adds Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle: "'The Mortal Instruments'...is a film that fans of Cassandra Clare's book series will enjoy, or at least absorb with interest as they see their favorite characters on the big screen. Almost everyone else will watch a bad movie, with too much exposition, ridiculous dialogue, an unsympathetic heroine and a love triangle that goes nowhere, like a season of 'Three's Company.'"