It was hard enough reaching the end of the "Harry Potter" series in book form. Knowing the end is nigh for the movies leaves us feeling a little empty inside.
Empty and extremely curious about what big, magical franchise will come out on top in a post-"Potter," post-"Twilight" world.
As we dry our tears – in some cases, literally – we look into our office crystal ball, consult a few aurors and shuffle our Tarot cards to conjure up six book franchises on the cusp of taking the world by storm.
"Hunger Games," by Suzanne Collins
The Gist: From the bottom of NextMovie's collective heart, "Hunger Games" is the heir apparent to Harry Potter's vacant throne -- we haven't been this passionate about a series since the first Hogwarts acceptance letter appeared in Harry's fireplace. Suzanne Collins' terrifying page-turner takes place in a post-revolution future, where the rebels have been defeated by a militaristic government and pay for their mutiny with two underage tributes, per district, every year. The children are released in an arena and forced to fight to the death until one kid is left standing -- and the whole thing is televised for the viewing pleasure of the protected Capital city citizens.
Series Status: The third and final installment, "Mockingjay," was released last August.
Movie Status: Mark March 23, 2012 on your calendar -- that's the day we'll be waiting in line at theaters to see Jennifer Lawrence ("X-Men: First Class," "Winter's Bone"), Josh Hutcherson ("The Kids Are Alright") and Liam Hemsworth ("The Last Song") bring "The Hunger Games" to life. "Pleasantville" director Gary Ross is filming the first movie adaption currently.
"Beautiful Creatures," by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Gist: Ethan Wate is counting the minutes until he graduates and can leave his small town of Gatlin, South Carolina, until outcast Lena Duchannes moves to town. Seeing as she's been appearing in his dreams for months, he's determined to get to know her. But little does he realize that Lena is no ordinary girl – she can do some crazy things to the weather! – and spending QT with her means learning the town's deep, dark secrets dating back to the Civil War. The Southern Gothic influences – as well as the authors' superb writing – gives this series a flair that sets it apart.
Series Status: Book 2, "Beautiful Darkness" was released in October 2010. The third installment, "Beautiful Chaos," hits bookstore shelves on October 18, 2011.
Movie Status: Oscar-nominated screenwriter Richard LaGravenese is adapting and producing the project, currently in development, for Warner Bros.
"The Mortal Instruments," by Cassandra Clare
The Gist: Spunky, headstrong New Yorker Clary Fray sees things normal people can't -- including the brutal murder of a teen whose body immediately disappears. In her quest to understand the motive of the three young killers -- demon-slayers called Shadowhunters, as she learns -- Clary is thrust into a mysterious world that exists alongside the one she's always known.
Series Status: Book 4, "City of Fallen Angels," was released on April 5, 2011. A spin-off series, "The Infernal Devices," launched with "Clockwork Angel" on Aug. 31, 2010. Its sequel, "Clockwork Prince," was published Dec. 6, 2011.
Movie Status: Casting is underway, with the Edward to Clary's Bella -- Jace Wayland -- played by Jamie Campbell Bower (Caius of "The Twilight Saga") and Clary herself assigned to up-and-comer Lily Collins ("Priest").
"Wolves of Mercy Falls," by Maggie Stiefvater
The Gist: Good news, Team Jacob: Here's a series devoted to werewolves -- and completely devoid of vampires. Their absence hasn't cost the "Wolves of Mercy Falls" books an audience; the first installment, "Shiver," spent 31 weeks on bestseller lists. The series follows Grace, a teen fascinated by a wolf living in the woods near her home. Eventually, he winds up at her doorstep -- in the form of a human guy named Sam. The mythology of Mercy Falls dooms their burgeoning relationship; Grace learns the winter months will change Sam back into a wolf. Not ideal, as romantic scenarios go.
Series Status: The final book of the trilogy, "Forever," will be released on July 15, 2011.
Movie Status: "Lord of the Rings" executive producer Bob Shaye is among those working on bringing this to the big screen."Ramona & Beezus" writer Nick Pustay has penned the script for "Shiver," and the film is listed as being in pre-production.
"Wake," by Lisa McCann
The Gist: 17-year-old Janie has dealt with a supernaturally devastating affliction since childhood: she's sucked into the dreams -- and nightmares -- of anyone sleeping in close proximity. Napping kids in study hall and Janie's subsequent trance-like reaction have kept her isolated, but when she witnesses the darkness inside a hottie classmate's head, Janie's moved to adapt her curse into something more useful. The edgy narration and punishment-free teen sex makes this PG-13 read unique and occasionally a touch shocking.
Series Status: The third book of the trilogy, "Gone," was released in Feb. 2010.
Movie Status: Hannah Montana herself (a.k.a. Miley Cyrus) has snagged the part of Janie -- and her mom, Tish Cyrus, is one of the movie's producers.
"Matched," by Ally Condie
The Gist: If "The Handmaid's Tale" and "The Giver" had a clever little baby, it would be Condie's first book in a proposed series of dystopian YA novels. Cassia is a happy, well-adjusted teen living in some undetermined future where mandatory mates are delivered by pictures on digital information cards. It's only when a glitch flashes the wrong boy's face that Cassia considers the relative merit of dating options -- and therefore questions the whole nature of her world.
Series Status: "Matched," out Nov. 30, 2010 was the first book in a trilogy from Dutton. The second book, called "Crossed," will be released Nov. 1, 2011.
Movie Status: Disney beat out Paramount in a bidding war over the rights to this love triangle of the future.
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