Constantin Film has confirmed that it is pushing ahead with the “Mortal Instruments” franchise, and is planning to go into production on the second film, “City of Ashes,” sometime next year, although a start date has yet to be decided.
Principal photography was expected to start late this year, but after a disappointing theatrical run for the first film in the franchise, “Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” Constantin decided to take stock before moving ahead.
Constantin board member Martin Moszkowicz told Variety: “We are analyzing exactly what went wrong, and that needs some time. We’ll go back to the drawing board, and we’ll work on the screenplay; we’ll work on the elements of the movie; and then we’ll budget it.”
“City of Bones,” which reportedly had a budget of $60 million, grossed $99 million worldwide, although the film has yet to open in a couple of territories. It was helmed by Harald Zwart, and starred Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower.
Zwart may return as the helmer of “City of Ashes.” “We are talking to him and others. At the moment there is no director attached,” Moszkowicz said. “It also depends on his professional availability of course.”
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Moszkowicz said that Constantin “strongly believes” in the franchise, which is adapted from a series of best-selling books for young adults by Cassandra Clare. The books have sold 26 million copies, and Constantin also has the rights to other Clare young adult franchises, including three-book series “Infernal Devices,” and the upcoming five-book series “The Magisterium,” which is co-written with the author of “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” Holly Black. The first book in the “Magisterium” series, “The Iron Trial,” will be published next year.
“We believe strongly in her and the world that she has brought to the readers, but we feel that the movie obviously under-performed. Something was wrong there, and we are trying to make it right the next time,” Moszkowicz said.
Changes to the marketing strategy are in the cards, including the target demo. “Maybe we have targeted too young an audience,” he said. “They are very outspoken, especially in the social media world; they are extremely active. But the readers of the books are from 14 to 34 — that’s the main age group — and maybe some of them had issues with how it was marketed. We need to go behind that, and find out exactly what it was.
“It is an ongoing discussion that we are having, and it is not done. We haven’t made a final decision. But we will only move forward — and we plan to move forward — when we feel we are going to get it right,” Moszkowicz said.
Although the intention is to shoot the film sometime next year, it is not carved in stone.
“That is the plan, but it is not a given,” Moszkowicz said. “We believe in that franchise, and we would like to do that, but we need to get it right.”