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'The Maze Runner' Trailer Reminds Us that Male-Centric YA Films Are a Big Gamble

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Jul 29, 2014 | 3:54pm EDT

The Maze Runner20th Century Fox Film

 The power of YA fiction is undeniable. While not every film becomes a sure-fire hit in cinemas, some do gangbusters. It's a gamble, but one that can pay off extremely well. The last Hunger Games film netted $864 million worldwide, while other films like Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars both did great business that far exceeded their respective budgets. But the thing that all these films have in common are that they're all fronted by female protagonists. Looking on the other side of the coin, YA films with primarily male protagonist tend to not do nearly as well as their counterparts. From I Am Number Four, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker, Ender's Game, City of Ember, the two Percy Jackson films, and countless others have all failed to become to next big thing in ya cinema. Outside of Harry Potter (which we're going to call the exception that proves the rule), it's hard to think of a male fronted YA series that has had as big of an impact as something like Twilgiht.

So what chance does The Maze Runner stand? The film, directed by Wes Ball, is only the latest hopeful in the YA film craze, one that shares a ton of themes with huge hits like The Hunger Games and Divergent. This time, dozens of teenage boys are locked in the middle of the glade, a grassy plain enclosed by gigantic maze with seemingly no solution. Each day, a group of boys ventures into the maze to search for clues, but many fall victim to the mysterious creatures that lurk in its passages. 

The latest trailer boasts an intriguing premise with a ton of potential mysteries to be explored, but the undeniably male-centric cast might not have the appeal to capture as wide as an audience as a series like The Hunger Games, which has ballooned into a minor phenomenon. Since The Maze Runner is only the first part in a planned series of films, and answers to the mysteries won't likely come until deep into the series. We're hoping that this series goes the distance, but the box office may be a maze to complicated for this film to solve.

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