Is The Mortal Instruments movie dead?….. Not entirely


The fiscally fucked movie bureau has dispelled a storm cloud on another film, Sony Screen Gem’s “Mortal Instruments” movie.

What some deem ‘a sure thing’ – it is, after all, another of these young-adult-novel cum movie franchises, along the lines of “Twilight” and “Hunger Games” – has been cut from the studio’s production line-up due to what some would call a ‘tightening of wallets’.

As many studios have been doing lately, we’re told Screen Gems have simply been dropping projects that can’t be done for a certain dollar amount.

Blame it on dwindling box-office receipts, the economy, and the fact that micro-budgeted films with no-stars  – like “Paranormal Activity” – have proven they’re just as viable earners as the bigger-budgeted fare (Why spent $130 million on an unproven entity when you can spend $3 million on a lip-licking sequel to something like “Paranormal Activity” or “Saw”).  Whatever the case, we’re going to be seeing less and less pricey studio fare.

“Mortal Instruments”, based on a book by Cassandra Clare, has actors Jamie Campbell Bower and Lily Collins attached to the lead roles and New Line legend Bob Shaye producing.

Screen Gems have dropped the project, but other shingles, like Constantin, may decide to take the project on if they can make the numbers work (UPDATE : and as you’ll read below, Screen Gems haven’t been onboard since 2011 and it seems Constantin will indeed take over)

Victims of the wallet-tightening exercise in recent months have included Ron Howard’s ambitious adaptation of Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series (planned as a multi-picture franchise with a cable TV series), “The Lone Ranger”, which was delayed until director Gore Verbinski could shred millions of his budget, “At the Mountains of Madness”, which despite the involvement of Tom Cruise and Guilllermo del Toro and Tom Cruise wasn’t enough to solidify Uni’s confidence in the project, a sequel to the highest grossing film of 2010 “Tomorrow When The War Began”,  Alex Proyas’s “Paradise Lost” is gone, and “Akira” has been asked to go cheaper or not play. Meanwhile films with superstars like Morgan Freeman (who, with others, is attached to a sequel to “The Last Detail”),  Vin Diesel (“xXx 3”, “Hannibal the Conqueror”) and  Keanu Reeves (“Jekyll”) attached can’t even secure financing. It’s a sign the times are-a-changing.

Now the good news is, author Cassandra Clare is telling her fans that she’s confident the movie will still happen (unlike so many of those aforesaid projects). She also says Screen Gems and director Scott Stewart, who the trades said have “dropped” the project, have been off for many, many months. Assuring fans that the movie is indeed happening, Clare says she’s been speaking with Constantin film about casting and they’ve even decided on a start date.

Over on her blog, the author writes :

vita-libri-amator asked you:

Did the movie really get dropped? Love your books! And you, for that matter. Thank you.”

Whoa, so this is inconveniently timed given that I’m leaving the country and I was going to announce that I was turning off my Ask box till I get back in March. Eep.

So, THR’s is a slightly bizarre (and weeeirdly outdated) version of events. Screen Gems didn’t drop the project; they weren’t involved with it — it was given over by Sony to a different division to develop back in… August of 2011, which is also when Sony took Scott Stewart off the project. But yes, Screen Gems and Scott Stewart aren’t involved with the movie of City of Bones. The rights are owned by Constantin, they always have been. Constantin makes movies: they just made The Three Musketeers with Logan Lerman. Screen Gems would have been the distributor and co-producer but it was never their project; it’s Constantin’s. Screen Gems hasn’t actually been involved with the project since — well, let’s just say it’s been a while. (Some people have asked me if this is the news Marlene King was talking about on Twitter last week but it wouldn’t be; she was brought on after Screen Gems wasn’t involved any more so that the new production company would have a screenplay that was more “theirs”. She’s never worked with SG so it wouldn’t be news to her.( She’s probably all like, whoa, explodey-what? right now.:)

Why didn’t I tell you guys? This isn’t really even the sort of thing that people tell me. Constantin owns the movie rights: who distributes it and co-finances and all that isn’t actually anything to do with me in any real meaningful sense. Projects get moved from studio to studio all the time — Twilight started at Paramount and went to Summit, etc. Screen Gems isn’t even the only production company CoB has been involved with, or the most recent. And half the time I don’t know about it, so 1) I can only give out news that’s been confirmed and okayed for me to give out — if I wasn’t trusted to keep my mouth shut about ongoing negotiations they would just stop telling me things period and 2) the other half the time I don’t even know this stuff or it’s so in flux there would be no point saying anything about it if I did.

In this case, I will say:

1) The movie isn’t “cancelled.” This really doesn’t make much of any difference at all except in who distributes it.

2) Lily and Jamie are still attached. I mean, it’s been months since Screen Gems was connected with the project, and L&J are still attached, so I’m fairly confident they’ll be attached for the foreseeable future. Will they be attached forever? NO idea. But nothing about this makes it any more or less likely. And this isn’t news to them.

3) Really, this makes no difference to anything. I know words like “dropped” sound shocking and horrifying but in this context, it doesn’t mean much. I talked to Constantin last week and actually gave them a list of actors I liked for Simon (because why not?), and they gave me a schedule they expected to start filming by (August.)

No movie is going to be made until it’s greenlit. The movie was in development. It’s still in development. That said, Hollywood is like a big pinball machine. Projects bounce up, they roll around, they go this way, they go that way. This is (was) a bounce.

What do you think, guys? Will it happen?