Why was the Vampire Academy film series canceled?

A 10-episode adaptation by Richelle Mead vampire academy books are coming very soon to a TV near you, developed by The Vampire Diaries‘ showrunner Julie Plec and actress/producer Marguerite MacIntyre.

Like her previous hit show, it promises romance, friendship, scandal and – of course – vampires, and it’s a project that Plec first mentioned she liked in a Tweeter back in 2015.

However, Plec’s series won’t be the first version of Mead’s books to hit the screen. The first in the six-book series was adapted into a film in 2014 and a sequel, based on the second book, Frostbitewas to follow, but was never realized.

So while we prepare for the new TV series (which will be available on Peacock of September 15), here is what happened to the vampire academy series of films that should have preceded it.

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Watch Vampire Academy on Prime Video

For those unfamiliar with the books, author Richelle Mead’s novel YA, vampire academywas first published in 2007 and introduced readers to 17-year-old Rose Hathaway, a ‘dhampire’ (half-vampire and half-human) who is training to become a tutor at St Vladimir’s Academy.

His job is to protect the Moroi (good vampires who take blood from donors and can harness one of the four elements) and kill the Strigoi (evil vampires who drink and kill their victims). Her best friend is a Moroi named Lissa, and Rose also develops feelings for fellow Guardian Dimitri.

The book was a hit and made the American Library Association’s 10 Best Books for Young Adults list in 2008, alongside bestsellers like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Dusk Payment Eclipse and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Meade followed vampire academy along with five other books in the series (Frostbite, shadow kiss, blood promise, Spirit Link and Last Sacrifice) published between 2008 and 2010.

Vampire Academy Box 1-6

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With the success of Dusk film adaptations (which began in 2008) and TV adaptation of another series of vampy novels, The Vampire Diaries (which debuted in 2009), it’s no surprise the producers were looking for another series of vampire books to translate to the screen.

In 2010, it was announced that the first vampire academy novel would become a film. Fans of the books have been eagerly awaiting a film adaptation, creating their own movie trailers, online discussion groups and petitions demanding a film be made, as noted at the time.

“This spontaneous viral event exploded on the internet,” commented producer Michael Preger (who bought the rights to the books).

“Finding an epic story like this to adapt is one thing, but then finding out about this exponentially growing mainstream audience who are eagerly waiting – even demanding – for a movie to be produced, is something very compelling. .”

zoey deutch, lucy fry, dominic sherwood, vampire academy

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They had to wait a little longer, however, as the road to making the film was quite slow, with Daniel Waters, who wrote a cult teen movie. Heathershired to write the screenplay nearly two years later, and the casting finally announced in February 2013.

Zoey Deutch – best known at the time for her role as Emily in beautiful creatures – starred as Rose, with Lucy Fry as Lissa and Russian actor/director Danila Kozlovsky (who vikings fans may recognize as Oleg the Prophet) as Dimitri. Other cast members included modern familythis is Sarah Hyland, The crownis Claire Foy and Gothamis Cameron Monaghan.

Directed by Mark Waters – brother of screenwriter Daniel and director of a classic teen comedy mean girls and fantasy film The Spiderwick Chronicles – the film was shot in early summer 2013 in London, Surrey (Charterhouse School being used for the exterior shots of St Vladimir’s Academy) and at Pinewood Studios.

The film was released in the United States on February 7, 2014 and as reported by rolling stone‘s Pete Travers, it was not shown to film critics beforehand.

It’s often a sign of a studio’s lack of confidence in a movie (or as Travers described it: “a surefire sign of disaster”) and in the case of vampire academyit seems so – the film received almost universally poor reviews from critics who paid to see it.

vampire academy

The Weinstein Society

It seemed the script (which featured hefty dollops of head-scratching exposition to explain what was happening to anyone unfamiliar with the book inside out), performance, effects and direction were all criticized, while that the fans were upset that the movie looks like a comedy and yet, above all, it was not funny.

Travers described the film as wanting “to be the evil offspring of Dusk‘s Bella and Harry Potter, and ends up creating endless boredom”, while the Washington Post‘s Stephanie Merry wrote that “the only thing that sets this aspiring teen magnet apart from his predecessors is how lazily he seems to have been slapped.”

In August 2022, Collider spoke with star Zoey Deutch about the negative reviews.

“I’m a double Scorpio,” she said. “I remember every reporter, everything they say, and they don’t know it, and when I see them, I know everything anybody ever said. I keep it in my head and I lock him up, and that’s it.”

Thanks to these poor reviews and the release being too late to take advantage of the Dusk YA vampire love (the finale Dusk Payment, The breaking dawn, part 2 had been released two years earlier), the film flopped at the box office.

lucy fry, zoey deutch, vampire academy

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vampire academy cost $30 million to make but only generated $15 million in ticket sales – and a UK theatrical release was canceled entirely (the film was sent straight to DVD and Blu-ray in July 2014).

“I was really scared,” Deutch said of the film’s poor box office in her Collider interview. “I’m sure I was really scared. I think I’m grateful that it didn’t totally deter me from getting another job.” (She has since had success with films including Everyone wants it!! Zombieland: double tap and the recent release Not good.)

Despite the appalling reviews and even worse box office, the filmmakers – and vampire academy fans – were still hoping for a sequel (based on book two, Frostbite) would happen.

According Forbessome of the film’s producers launched a crowdfunding campaign in the summer of 2014 to raise $1.5 million to produce a second film, saying they already had most of the budget but needed help. extra cash to prove there was an appetite for a sequel.

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Unfortunately, the campaign closed a month later, after raising just over $250,000. And Vampire Academy 2: Frostbite was never done.

All is not lost for vampire academy the fans, of course.

If Julie Plec’s new TV series wows fans and lasts more than one season, it’s possible that Frostbite – and the other four novels in the series – can finally be adapted for the small screen, and with Plec on board, these books are in the safe hands of a vampire academy fan.

“We like to promise fans that if there’s anything you love about the books, most likely about the run of this series – if we’re allowed to tell the stories for as long as we want – you’ll see it. , ” she promised during the presentation of the series at Comic Con in July.

“We are fans of the material, so we give each other what we want!”

Will the TV show be more successful than the movie? We’ll just have to wait and see.

vampire academy is available to watch on First videowhile the TV show airs on Peacock in the United States on September 15 and on Peacock on Sky and Now in the UK on September 16.

Andrea G. Henderson