I was reading an article today from YPulse on the topic of moviegoers having 'supernatural fatigue' -- meaning perhaps audiences are less enamoured by stories of ghosts, zombies, vampires, monsters and werewolves than they were in the past. Maybe. But the question needs to be asked, why do some supernatural stories turn into phenomenons, such as The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Twilight, while others do not? What is it about these three series that captured the broader audience? The answers? Original, fresh stories - each was unique to their markets at the time, not borrowed themes and plots from previous predecessors. And maybe more importantly, each reflected something that Millennials as a whole, not just teens and tweens, were feeling - from optimism to uncertainty to the struggle to survive - at the time they were published.
- Harry Potter was an optimistic story about a unique and special boy who was destined for great things, a theme that resonated with Millennials in 1997 when they still believed they too were special and had great expectations for their future achievements.
- Twilight was a dark romance with a heroine who was less sure of herself and what the future held for her, reflecting Millennial attitudes in 2005-2008 when the series was released around the recession. (The love story in Twilight was of course also a huge part of readers' devotion.)
- Finally, Hunger Games is about a struggle to survive, and its heroine Katniss needs specific learned skills, not special powers, in order to come out on top, details that more closely reflect the reality of the generation in 2008-2010 when their moods were darker and they themselves were struggling to make it in a world less friendly than they had been promised.
Look, the economy remains pretty scary and life is an ongoing struggle to make ends meet, so I think we can safely say that audiences will continue to seek an edge-of-their-seat escape. A zombie apocalypse is a lot less scary to me than the current gas prices, you know? So what might the next unique story line be to capture the broader audience? Perhaps the answer can be found in the pages of Young Adult literature. The Giver, The Fire Sermon, and The Young World are books that are big contenders to be the next big thing, and have already been picked up by major film studios.