One Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone had exploded onto the scene at the end of 2001 to turn the literary phenomenon into a global one, earning close to a billion dollars during its initial theatrical run, Hollywood went on a rampage to snap up the rights to as many YA novels as possible in an effort to capitalize on the newfound audience desire for big budget fantasy brought from page to screen.
As tends to be the case anytime the industry jumps on a bandwagon, there were more than a few failures along the way. In fact, outside of Harry Potter only The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games managed to reach a natural conclusions, while others failed to get past the first film, and the likes of Divergent and Percy Jackson were abandoned after a sequel or two.
In a new interview, star Alexandra Daddario admitted she was oblivious to the pressure that came attached to Percy Jackson, which was both a beloved book series in its own right and the latest attempt to try and replicate the formula for success that had worked so well for The Boy Who Lived.
“I loved Harry Potter and I knew that it was structurally similar, but to me, at that time, when I was cast in it I was 22. To me it was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m gonna go do a movie!’. Now I’m older and I’ve been in enough films and gone through a bunch of press cycles and all of that stuff, so I have more of a sense of how important this is or that is, or if a movie’s gonna work or not work. But at the time, it was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m in a movie’.
So I didn’t think about the pressure of anything. I didn’t really understand what was gonna happen from that movie or the concept of tracking or budgets or first weekend box office. That was all stuff I learned through it, so any pressure I felt was just a pressure to do a good job. I just wanted to do a good job and to have fun, and that was the pressure that I was putting on myself. I wasn’t thinking about, ‘Is this too similar to Harry Potter?’, or, ‘Is this gonna work?’, or anything like that.”
The Percy Jackson duology weren’t bombs by any means, but they hardly set the world on fire after combining to earn $428 million at the box office on combined production costs of $185 million, rendering the profit margins small enough to dump the idea of continuing the franchise.
The good news for fans is that a much more faithful translation of Percy Jackson is in the works for Disney Plus, one that looks to do the source material justice after author Rick Riordan essentially disowned the movies.