• YA dystopian films became popular in the 2010s due to the success and love of dystopian and fantasy novels for young adults such as The Hunger Games, DivergentAnd Maze Runner.
  • The boom in teen dystopian films eventually ended because the stories became repetitive and lacked the compelling world-building of the novels.
  • While the dystopian genre may not make a comeback, there has generally been an increase in book-to-film adaptations, with an emphasis on bringing more novels to the big screen.

In 2012, a dystopian film was released. The Hunger Games had a great influence on youth cinema. Children wore the clothes of the heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) braided his hair to school and always had with him a book from the critically acclaimed trilogy written by the author. Suzanne Collins, at hand. This film also helped start a brief but intense period of fantasy films depicting a cruel world that forced young people to fight simply for their survival. Many series that painted this harsh picture, e.g. Maze Runner And Divergent, were released during the era of dystopian short films. By 2018, the intense demand for these YA stories had almost completely disappeared and shifted to other types of coming-of-age stories. The over-the-top depiction of various dystopian worlds may have been fleeting, but it certainly had its moment. What led to the era of dystopian teen films in the first place, and why did it end? Given the recent surge in nostalgia following the release The Ballad of Songbirds and SnakesWill this subgenre make a comeback?

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows young Coriolanus (Tom Blyth)—the last hope of the once-proud Snow family—who is reluctantly assigned as mentor to Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a nod from impoverished District 12 for the 10th Hunger Games. Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and find out whether he will become a songbird or a snake.

Date of issue
November 17, 2023


lead time
165 minutes

Much of the dystopian era consisted of book and film adaptations.

The films made during this era of cinema were not the first dystopian films. It is believed that the first film of its kind is Fritz Lang’s Metropolisand has since been followed by many classics. One of the key factors of previous dystopian films, which is similar to the period of dystopian films of the 2010s, is that most of these films were adapted from novels.. Some of your favorite futuristic stories on screen, e.g. Blade Runner, A Clockwork OrangeAnd V for Vendettabeforehand there were books or graphic novels.

However, the biggest difference between the pre-Y2K classics and the dystopian madness of the 2010s was the target demographic: young adults. One of the most notable reasons for this phenomenon that sent everyone rushing to the theaters was the love that dystopian and fantasy novels for young adults received in the years leading up to it. Series of books type Maximum ride And Compliant were fuel for avid readers. Dystopian novels sometimes contained fantasy elements, but always followed protagonists who required wit, resourcefulness, and intelligence to survive unforgiving circumstances, be it world-destroying monsters or a merciless government system that monitors their every move. These series often included romantic plots as well as commentary on real events and society.

Thus began an obsession with dystopian teen films. Release Gary Ross’ The Hunger Games from this phenomenon, and was followed by other book-to-film adaptations such as Ready first player, 5th wave, Donor, Maze Runner, Divergent and much more. The last two as well The Hunger Games, continued as franchises, as intended in the respective book series. The films were wildly successful until they stopped.

The era of teen dystopian films ended when they became boring

The boom in dystopian stories continued for several years, fueled almost entirely by fans of the source material. There was also a question about Harry Potterthe huge void experienced by moviegoers and the box office as the film franchise ended just a year before release The Hunger Games. New fantasy stories for young adults with a futuristic twist were a reliable antidote to this emptiness, and for a while it worked. However, less than a decade later, there was no sign of the dystopian craze of previous years. The box office returns of these franchises slowly but surely declined, leading to a quiet flop at the end rather than an explosion. So what happened?

To begin with, the passion for young adult novels set in dystopian settings has faded over time.. What followed was the rise in popularity of coming-of-age stories and romance stories based on realism rather than surreal settings such as a gaming arena or a creature-infested maze. In terms of the growing subgenres of the time, the closest to dystopia were fantasy and historical fiction. According to Goodreads, by 2018, almost none of the most popular books contained dystopian elements.

Regarding the content of films such as Donor And Maze Runner its themes and storylines have become stale over time. While the stories of Katniss and Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) it was interesting at first, screen adaptations have never been able to transcend the confines of their source material or the stereotypes of their genre. While their books took the time to go into significant detail, making their fictional worlds immersive and realistic, their adaptations rarely managed to do the same. WITH Donor In the film, many of the elements that made the world so frightening and the stakes so high did not make it to the screen, causing the film to fall flat and simply blend in with the insanity of the dystopian cinema that birthed it. It was the same with the film. 5th wave, another casualty of that era. While the apocalyptic circumstances of the main character Cassie Sullivan (Chloe Grace Moretz) were creepy and exciting, the film fell into the stereotypical traps of previous dystopian films and simplified the story and its main character into a love triangle. The longer the dystopian craze continued, the more obvious it became that the films were not created to satisfy the audience.

In addition, many studios have never learned How depict a dystopian world on the big screen. The key to a successful story, especially when depicting a false utopia, is worldbuilding. Authors such as Collins and Veronica Roth created and developed characters, as well as entire fictional governments, from scratch. While it’s not unusual for films to leave out important details from the source material, it seems to have had a greater impact on dystopian adaptations. Many later films of the YA era felt cold, dark and mechanical, which was obvious in the way the films looked. The generic industrial futuristic film eventually became the standard in terms of visuals and tone. In the end, Star power and solid performances can’t save films that don’t incorporate the soul and passion of the novels into their adaptations.. Demand for such films The Hunger Games slowed down almost as soon as it started, so much so that Divergent the franchise couldn’t even release the latest installment.

The Hunger Games

year 2012

And the flames will burst into flames



year 2014


year 2014

Mockingjay: Part 1

year 2014

5th wave




Mockingjay: Part 2




Ready first player


Fourth Divergent Movie


There will be an increase in book-to-film adaptations, but not necessarily dystopian ones

However, recently, readers and moviegoers were reminded of their love for this subgenre in the latest installment of the magazine. The Hunger Games franchise, the most timeless and original dystopian fashion of the 2010s. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes serves as a prequel and origin story for the villain from Collins’ novel published in 2020. Latest entry featuring Tom Blyth And Rachel Zegler found a way to avoid the problems that held back previous films in the genre by building on the more interesting and mysterious elements of Panem without getting hung up on the completed story of the original trilogy.

Only the most loyal adaptations of dystopian stories will be able to revive the former passion for the genre, and its heyday will most likely remain in the 2010s. When it comes to YA fantasy and book-to-film adaptations in general, there is already a greater focus on bringing more novels to the big screen. The rise of book content on social media has helped bring reading back into fashion.and recent favorites such as Courtyard of Thorns and Roses And Fourth wing is also on its way to becoming your new favorite TV show. Other critically acclaimed books, both old and new, such as Eileen, Poor people of color And Percy Jackson, also this year there is a screening of the book on the screen. So, while the dystopian craze of the 2010s likely won’t return anytime soon, a new wave of adaptations is certainly on the way.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is now playing in cinemas.

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