Constantin Film announced on Tuesday that the sequel would be delayed in order to "analyze the results to date and reposition the franchise."
THR The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes has been pushed in the wake of a lackluster box office opening for its predecessor, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
Constantin Film announced on Tuesday that principal photography on the sequel, which was already in production with Sigourney Weaver attached to join the cast, has been delayed. A statement from the production company states that it will use the time to "analyze the results to date and reposition the franchise in order to maximize results for future installments."
City of Bones, adapted from Cassandra Clare's best-selling novel of the same name and released by Sony, took in $14 million over the course of its five-day opening (the film hit theaters on Wednesday, Aug. 21). Producers of the $60 million film, starring Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower, hoped to compensate for the underwhelming opening overseas. To date, the film has grossed $37 million worldwide.
Harald Zwart directed the critically panned film, which THR film critic Michael Rechtshaffen dubbed a "desperate Twilight wannabe" which "hits more than its own share of clunky notes."
Speaking with THR at a press day for the film in August, Zwart said that he was "very excited about the script" for City of Ashes, adding: "It's gonna be even more complex and scary than the first one."
thewrap Constantin Film has a long tradition of adapting books to the big screen. Pushing back the start of production of ‘City of Ashes’ was a decision we did not take lightly. But after speaking with all of our partners on the creative and distribution side, it was clear that it will be beneficial to have more time to reposition the film in the current market place,” said executive producer Martin Moszkowicz of Constantin. “‘The Mortal Instruments’ series has an incredibly loyal and ardent fan base and is a bestselling book series. While taking Cassandra Clare’s vision to the screen, we want to make sure to draw on the full potential of the franchise.”
The decision to delay “City of Ashes” was made several days ago after Constantin spoke with its international distributors at the Toronto International Film Festival, Moszkowicz told TheWrap. While Constantin is committed to making the sequel, the company did not want to rush into production with an unfinished screenplay, preferring to take the time to get right.
“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” currently has a 12% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. TheWrap’s review said it “feels like a pilot for a Teen Nick series you wouldn’t want to watch.”
Outside of “The Hunger Games,” YA movies have struggled of late, with “The Host” and “Beautiful Creatures” joining “Mortal Instruments” among Hollywood’s high-profile under performers.