Ten Potter pretenders that were definitely more hogwash than Hogwarts.
It was the pre-teen fantasy film shot heard round the studio boardroom. Many had initially dismissed JK Rowling's rapid readership as a fad, then watched as billions of books were lapped up by an otherwise ADD-addled audience. Soon, no one could ignore the cultural uproar. By 2001, Warners was ready to step in and make the fledgling franchise into films. The author herself argued for some amount of creative control and the bucks behind the bestsellers spoke loudly. Keeping the cast British and working with the studio to secure the right director, Chris Columbus was approved and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (renamed ...and the Sorcerer's Stone for US wee ones) hit theaters. It became a worldwide phenomenon.
With each books release, another adaptation was approved. Soon, Warners was sitting on a major marketing goldmine, titles raking in hundreds of millions in cold hard kid vid cash. Naturally, those left out began to frantically search bookshelves for the next sure thing. Along the way, they stumbled into a few good ideas (Lemony Snicket, The Books of Ember). Sometimes, they just stumbled (Twilight). Whatever the case, it's been nine years since a certain boy wizard captivated commercial crowd, and with rare exception, none of the Harry Potter wannabes have equaled his haul. In many cases, it's not hard to see why. In others, the misstep speaks to something much more prevalent in Tinseltown - a lack of originality.
In celebration of the long goodbye which is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, we look back at ten sure fire franchises that, in all but one instance, came up substantially short - including what many still think is the most viable of the bunch:
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
The Chronicles of Narnia (2005)
The Golden Compass (2007)
The Seeker: The Dark is Rising (2007)
City of Ember (2008)
The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)
Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (2009)
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)