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This is what happened to Percy Jackson movies

This is what happened to Percy Jackson movies
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Percy Jackson is a publishing phenomenon, and the author, Rick Riordan, has been named several times as the heir of J.K Rowling’s legacy. However, while J.K Rowling ’s wizarding story transcended the world of literature, seems like Rick Riordan’s story didn’t work that well in their movie adaptations.  After the second movie, the adaptations were canceled, so for those wondering when is Percy Jackson 3 coming out I have bad news for you. What happened to the Percy Jackson movie adaptations? Will Percy Jackson have a reboot?

This series, Percy Jackson & the Olympians, was written by American author Rick Riordan. This is a pentology, and has sold a million copies around the world, this saga translated into 34 languages. This, being a bestseller saga, was easily expected to be a success on the big screen. The author made up Percy Jackson’s adventure as a bedtime story for his son, who enjoyed so much the story that suggested his father put such a story into the paper. Like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson is addressed to a children audience. The producers knew this, so they hired the same director who directed the first two Harry Potter movies, Chris Columbus.

Percy Jackson movies

Only the first two volumes, The Lightning Thief and Sea of Monsters, made the leap to the big screen.

Lighting Thief was released in 2010, the movie was directed by Chris Columbus and cast Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson.  The film had a $95 million Budget and grossed $226.4 million.

The sequel, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, was released in 2013 this time directed by Thor Freudenthal. Both Budget and grossing were lower than the first movie, being $90 million and $199.8 million respectively.

As you can see, both movies recouped their production budgets. But where profits as high as expected? As said before, Percy Jackson was expected to be the next Harry Potter, a media phenomenon such as J.K Rowling’s saga, The Lord of the Rings (see here to know about this movie adaptation) or The Hunger Games.

Now, compare Percy Jackson’s numbers with the first movie adaptations of these other known sagas:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: Budget. $125 million. Box office: $974.8 million
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Budget $93 million. Box office $871.5 million
  • The Hunger games: Budget $78 million. Box office $694.4 million
  • Mortal Engines: Budget $100–150 million. Box office $102.6 million

As you can see on these other movie adaptations, despite having a fairly similar budget the films had a way better reception and grossing. There is an exception though, Mortal Engines, which, well, being such a flop I guess the movies will share Percy Jackson’s destiny…

Fans reception

Percy Jackson movies were profitable, true, but not as successful as expected. The critics didn’t rate the movies very high, Rotten tomatoes ranked these movies with 49% and 42% in their Tomatometer. Same goes for Metacritic scores, most of the reviews being unfavorable and both movies scoring 47 and  39  respectively. Too low.

When you make a movie adaptation you want the original fanbase, that is, the readers, to love it. At the same time, you want people who have never read the novels to enjoy what they are watching. This gets tricky sometimes, and the formula applied for Percy Jackson’s movie adaptation didn’t work. Percy Jackson’s fans didn’t like it, and the rest of the audience wasn’t captivated either.

Fans thought the movie was quite disappointing, the story does not follow the books, there are major changes along the plot and the character development is not proper enough. Yes, the Greek gods and so are the demigods (obviously), but not like in the novels.

The author’s impression

But not only the fans didn’t like it, but also the author, Rick Riordan, shares his movie experience on his website. Here are some Excerpts of the emails the author sent to the movie producers:

“The core readership for Percy Jackson is age 9-12. There are roughly a million kids that age, plus their families, who are dying to see this film because they want to see the pictures in their imagination brought to life.”

“I understand that you want to appeal to teens because they are a powerful demographic, and conventional wisdom says that teens will not see movies about kids younger than themselves. Harry Potter proved this wrong, but aside from that, deviating so significantly from the source material risks pleasing no one – teens, who know the books are meant for younger kids, and the younger kids, who will be angry and disappointed that the books they love have been distorted into a teen movie.”

“The script as a whole is terrible. I don’t simply mean that it deviates from the book, though certainly it does that to point of being almost unrecognizable as the same story. Fans of the books will be angry and disappointed. They will leave the theater in droves and generate horrible word of mouth. That is an absolute given if the script goes forward as it stands now. But the bigger problem is that even if you pretend the book doesn’t exist, this script doesn’t work as a story in its own right”.

As you see, the author was right, it didn’t work and Percy Jackson 3  never had a release date. He saw it coming, he was brutally honest with the producers. Even so, the movies were an absolute flop.

Will Percy Jackson have a reboot?

If you checked the author’s website you will see he theorizes about this. Right now, there is no date for a Percy Jackson reboot. As Riordan says, Disney acquired the rights from Fox, so if Disney decides Percy Jackson to be rebooted it will. Logic says that it won’t be Percy Jackson 3 but the saga itself would be rebooted. For all those Percy Jackson fans who whish there is a good movie adaptation for their beloved saga do not despair, this series has a lot of potential and maybe one day it will have a proper movie adaptation.

Meanwhile, we will always have the novels.

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