That’s the short answer. What about a more detailed look at why it will work?
Harry Paved the Way
Fantasy is in; it has been for years, and it isn’t going away any time soon. With a flick of her wand, J.K. Rowling unintentionally kicked off a successful fantasy YA revolution, both in print and on the big screen. The Harry Potter films appealed to those who previously didn’t enjoy reading, as well as those outside of its target audience – adults. Harry Potter opened the door for massive young adult franchises, both in print and on the big screen. New readers flooded bookstores, and after devouring Rowling’s series, were hungry for more stories beyond Hogwarts’ gates.
Eragon was one of the earliest to the party, enjoying a wide publication in 2003 and quickly gaining traction with readers. From there, many other book series took off, including Twilight and Hunger Games. Studios took note and quickly gobbled up the film rights, pushing them to the big screen for near-guaranteed success.
It’s no coincidence that Hunger Games, Twilight, and other franchises have gone on to dominate the box office. Their global audiences are vast and passionate, and the team behind each film paid careful attention to the source material, author, and existing audience when creating the movie. Sure, each of the franchises’ films had to take certain creative liberties when adapting the book, but those careful, well-thought-out changes are to be expected. And that’s where Eragon deviated from the tried-and-true method used by successful book-to-movie franchises: its creative liberties were not careful or well-thought out. It ignored its vast and passionate audience. It didn’t take it seriously.
The Avengers Enter the Ring
Since the release of Harry Potter, dozens of fantasy-based films have soared at the box office. A majority of these were adaptations, proving that it can be done well and make substantial amounts of money. Marvel burst into the arena, paving the way for a superhero takeover. While not strictly fantasy, these films hit the same audience as the aforementioned series and share many of the same elements and themes. Combined, these book and comic-based film franchises have grossed tens of billions of dollars. They’re unstoppable juggernauts, and it’s time for Eragon to join their ranks.
Post-Apocalyptic Dystopian Futures Take Over
We’re getting a bit tired of these dystopian movies, and we’re certainly tired of vampires and zombies. After the success of Twilight, everyone jumped on the vampire bandwagon. We saw books, films, television shows, video games, and more shoved down our throats. What happened? Vampires faded and zombies rose. With the exception of The Walking Dead, that fad has all but gone back to grave, likely due to the over-saturation vampires also suffered from.
And we’re getting there with post-apocalypse and dystopian media. Hunger Games was “the next Harry Potter,” and publishers and studios took note. They rushed to fill book stores and theaters with more of the same, leading us to sub-par films such as Divergent. But even those managed to find success, and that series continues to draw millions at the box office. The Maze Runner offered a fresh take on the genre, but we’re still left hoping studios will break the mold and venture into other territory. Perhaps…
Dragons have been a staple of fantasy since its inception. The Inheritance Cycle, Dragon Riders of Pern, Seraphina, Harper Hall, Dragons in Our Midst, A Song of Ice and Fire, and many more have held a special place on fantasy readers’ bookshelves. However, dragons never became a fad at the box office, and we believe this had a large impact on the fantasy creatures’ longevity in the fantasy world. The market isn’t over-saturated by dragon films, and that’s a very good thing.
Looking toward the box office, we immediately notice that there have been just nine movies featuring dragons over the past decade, with only a half of those heavily focusing on dragons: The Hobbit trilogy and the two How to Train Your Dragon films. That’s a market open for the taking! These nine films have grossed an astounding $6.3 billion alone over the past decade – and that’s not including DVD/BluRay sales, rentals, and streaming! Dragons are cash cows. Or cash dragons.
With The Hobbit having recently finished its run and How to Train Your Dragon 3 not due to hit theaters until summer 2018, we see an opportunity for Fox to jump in and dominate the dragon market. After all, dragons are more powerful than wizards, eat vampires and zombies for breakfast, and cause apocalypses. Those genres stand no chance.
The Game of Thrones Revolution
Like Harry Potter did for non-readers, Game of Thrones paved the way for a broader audience enjoying fantasy and dragons. Fans who have never taken part in fantasy franchises are flocking to the show in droves, making it one of cable’s most successful shows ever.
Playing on gritty, gory, and adult themes not previously seen in fantasy television and films, the show and its universe has managed to be taken seriously and avoid the cheesiness that often plagues media in that genre. While Eragon would avoid the hyper-sexual themes seen in Game of Thrones, its would benefit largely from following the show’s model, utilizing its brilliant delivery of epic politics, battles, dragons, locations, and character development to build a rich, mature, and gritty Alagaësia on the big screen.
A large thing to note is the fact that the Inheritance Cycle is a heavy magic world, in comparison to Game of Thrones‘ light magic world, providing a challenge for a potential Eragon film reboot: how to incorporate magic without deviating into cheesy territory, or feeling to capture a true mature feel to the world’s rich magic system. We’re sure a talented production team can figure that out.
Cornering the untapped Game of Thrones-like box office area would be a great move for Fox.
There’s a huge market ready to be conquered. The YA fantasy book world has showed no signs of slowing, book consumption is at an all-time high, and moviegoers are showing an endless hunger for films Eragon closely aligns to. We can’t help but wonder why Fox isn’t mulling the idea – it almost seems like a no-brainer.
Taking on a dark, mature, and gritty feel similar to Game of Thrones, incorporating the successful acting, special effects, and audience elements used to make hits out of Harry Potter and Hunger Games, and forging a unique path of success for itself, we know there’s a place in Hollywood for Eragon.
And that place is starving for dragons.
Want to see Eragon take its rightful place in Hollywood? We do too! We recently launched a petition asking Fox to consider rebooting the Inheritance Cycle film franchise. Over 33,000 fans have joined in by adding their signature. If you haven’t already, please consider doing so, and share the petition with your friends! Let’s make it happen.