8 Children’s Film Franchises That Tried — And Failed — To Be the Next ‘Harry Potter’

Disney just announced it’s working on films of Eoin Colfer’s bestselling children’s series Artemis Fowl. The studio is hoping it’ll be the next Harry Potter, and a production team that includes Robert DeNiro and Harvey Weinstein could make this happen. However, the Artemis Fowl series is about ten years old, and despite its success, it never broke through into grown-up pop culture the same way Harry Potter did. Many studios, producers, and actors have already gambled on attempts to create a phenomenon as sweeping as Harry Potter, and they’ve very rarely succeeded. Below, we look at the children’s book adaptations that failed to follow Harry Potter‘s footsteps.


The Golden Compass

Philip Pullman’s controversial children’s trilogy His Dark Materials seems like an immediately strange choice for a film franchise, but New Line Cinema anticipated a huge hit and spent $180 million on The Golden Compass. But the film was neither a critical nor commercial success, and the resulting financial blow contributed significantly to New Line’s eventual demise. The anti-Catholic themes of Pullman’s trilogy also caused a boycott from Christian communities across the country — the film never really stood much of a chance after Pullman admitted his books are “about killing God.” This movie did, however, launch the career of Dakota Blue Richards, who would eventually become a cast member of the third and final generation of Skins.