Fun with Numbers: The “YA” Phenomenon

With the recent release of ‘Divergent‘ in theatres I decided to take a look at other young adult (or “YA”) films of the past 30 years or so. There has been no shortage of YA films to hit the big screen in the 00’s and 10’s with no less than 39 film between 2000 and 2014 alone. Take a look at the graph below showing the number of YA films released since 1983’s “The Outsiders”.

Count Young Adult films by Year

As you can see 2013 saw the largest spike of YA films with 7 being released: “Beautiful Creatures (2013)”,”The Host (2013)”,”Tiger Eyes”,”Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters”,”The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”,”Ender’s Game” & “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” raking in a combined total of $632 Million dollars (and 3 colons). With those numbers it looks like we may be in for more YA films in the years ahead.

Or are we?

Despite there being 3 fewer YA films released in 2011 compared to 2013 the former has grossed a bigger total box office tally than the later. Meaning not all YA films are making money hand over fist. Take a look at the graph below for the yearly Box Office tally for all YA films released.

BO Sum Young Adult films by Year

This means films released in 2011 made $194 Million while in 2013 they made $90 million each, a clear downward trend. In fact, lets look at the top 20 YA films released in the last 30 years.

Top 20 Young Adult films by Domestic Box Office

As you can see the top performers are Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games films, all released between 2001 and 2014. Lets look at them by series:

Box Office Returns Young Adult films by Series

Does this mean we will see a slow decline in the genre with all the ‘heavy hitters’ turned into films in the last 15 years? That all depends on the next batch of films to hit the silver screen. This includes the conclusion of The Hunger Games series, and, if they decide to continue, the continuation of the Divergent and City of Bones series. Certainly the big studios like Warner Bros. who have benefited greatly from their relationship with the Harry Potter series, would like to continue. In fact, see the list below of studios who have the biggest box office returns thanks to the YA genre.

Box Office Returns Young Adult films by Studio

What do you think of the entire YA film phenomenon? Comment below!


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