These have been worrying times for fans of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments books and Constantin Film’s attempts to spin them into a film franchise. Following the box office fizzle of the first story, City Of Bones, work on sequel City Of Ashes was suspended pending review. Now the company says it is pushing ahead with the second film and looking to start shooting next year.
With Bones opening to a lacklustre $14 million across five days in the US and ending up with around $80.1 million worldwide at the box office (though Constantin says the final figure is closer to $100 million), the film failed to recoup the combined cost of a reported $60 million budget and the marketing money spent getting the word out.
The second book in the series sees Jace (Jamie Campbell-Bower) in trouble with the Shadowhunter authorities after Valentine (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, last time at least) steals another of the Mortal Instruments, the powerful artefacts that gave the Shadowhunters their power. Clary (Lily Collins) has to help him, while still caught between her apparently doomed love for Jace and the affections of her friend Simon (Robert Sheehan).
After some consideration – and support from fans – Constantin thinks it’s worth trying to make the sequel work. "The fan response, from the blogosphere and the thousands of mails we have received, has encouraged us to keep going,” the company’s Martin Moszkowicz told The Hollywood Reporter. “It's been overwhelmingly positive, in contrast to some other YA titles. We are analysing what we did wrong with the first film, particularly with the positioning and marketing, and what changes we have to make. We are working with a great group of people to reposition the franchise.”
There is still work to be done on figuring out the new movie, which will possibly have to rely on an even stricter budget (sock puppets for creatures, then?) Stars Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower are among those who signed multiple film contracts, so they’ll be back, though whether director Harald Zwart and the production can still afford Sigourney Weaver is anyone’s guess.