'Percy Jackson': Could THIS be the next 'Harry Potter'?

Piercebrosnanpotterpercy_lMany have tried and failed to bring the so-called "next Harry Potter" to the big screen. The Chronicles of Narnia came close, but interest in the second film, Prince Caspian, considerably waned from the first. (The first grossed $291.7 million domestically, compared to the second’s $141.6 million — still impressive, but less so.) Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events should have been promising, but suffered in transferring the series’ sardonic tone. And The Spiderwick Chronicles probably was too similar to Potter itself to reach blockbuster status.

So now we have news that Pierce Brosnan and Uma Thurman have joined the cast of the Percy Jackson movie adaptation…which is being directed by Chris Columbus…who directed the first two Potter pictures, Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. (Nevermind they are often considered the weakest entries in the series.) Brosnan, Thurman and a host of other actors will play Greek gods in the adaptation of Rick Riordan’s first Percy Jackson novel, The Lightning Thief. In it, the half-human son of Zeus (Percy, to be played by Logan Lerman) embarks on a quest to prevent war between the gods of Mount Olympus. Thurman will play Medusa, which already seems like a stroke of genius. All of which leads to the question: Could this finally be the next big family fantasy franchise?

With Columbus at the helm, Percy Jackson will certainly be big, loud, noisy and not at all subtle, but there’s hope: Lerman is a talented young actor (you might’ve seen him in 3:10 to Yuma, or the short-lived series Jack & Bobby), and the film’s premise sounds fresh. There will be no goblins or trolls or Christ-like lions, just awesomely-powerful Greek gods. Sign me up! The fifth and final book in author Riordan’s series, to be titled The Last Olympian, is due in stores in May — plenty of time to generate buzz for the movie’s February 2010 release. But what do you think, Percy-philes? Are you excited for your beloved series to hit the big screen? And for those of you who haven’t read, do you think Percy Jackson has the makings of a Harry Potter-sized hit?

addCredit(“Pierce Brosnan: Jon Furniss/WireImage.com; Harry Potter: Peter Mountain”)

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  • tia

    I love this series (and I am way outside of the target age) and can’t wait to see it come to theaters. My 11 year old nephew loves it, too. Uma Thurman as Medusa is brilliant… but I really hope Chris Columbus does justice to this book and sticks to the source material.

  • JT

    The fact that it’s being released in February instead of during the summer or the holiday season doesn’t send a good signal.

  • Melinda65

    “And for those of you who haven’t read, do you think Percy Jackson has the makings of a Harry Potter-sized hit?”
    If someone hasn’t read the books, how would they know? I enjoyed the books, and I would love to see a good movie adaptation. As long as Brosnan doesn’t sing, that’ll be a bonus right there. However, Grover is supposed to be a teen, and they’ve got a 25-year-old cast in the part, so I’m not holding my breath.

  • Jessica

    I love this series! but from what I’ve heard they are really changing the book, so the characters are older, and i don’t think the movie will be nearly as good as the book. and by the way, Percy’s the son of Poseidon, not Zeus.

  • KAH

    I would be willing to bet 1 in like a thousand have actually heard of this series, compared with like 950 for HP. Potter was huge because the books were huge, the momentum just crossed into a different medium. Twilight, however crappy, is the next HP because of its huge fanbase before the movie came out, something this does not have.
    That said, it at least sounds cool, so I hope it doesn’t suck.

    • Marissa

      I totally agree!
      I actually just finished the first one and really liked it. it was fresh and new, and i hope it gets an even bigger fanbase

  • Kayla

    I love the percy jackson series, and I am excited to see the movie. I think it should do well, although I’m not sure if it’s well known enought to acheive HP success.

  • Molly

    He’s actually the son of Poseidon.

  • Cecilia

    Two words. Christopher Columbus. So no it will not be the next HP because he ruined those movies well enough. I don’t need to see him do it again.

  • Amanda

    I absolutely love the Percy Jackson series. I really like the casting of the older characters especially the gods. McKidd as Poseidon (btw, as someone pointed out, he’s Percy’s dad not Zeus) is fantastic. I can’t wait to see that. The younger characters worry me mostly because most of them are much older than they’re supposed to be. I’d say the were aging them except the kid playing Percy is 16.
    I think Percy has a decent chance of being somewhere close to HP. I’ve already hooked all of my family members on the books. Can’t wait for May.

  • Beth

    While I don’t think this series will be quite as big as Harry Potter, which had a huge, unprecedented built-in audience when the movies debuted, I think these wonderful books could be translated into really successful movies. Of course, with Chris Columbus helming it, all bets are off on the quality of the material. I know the director is good with working with kids, but he’s got the subtlety of a jackhammer. Seeing his name attached to it disappoints me.

  • Brenda

    There is no such thing as the “next” Harry Potter. Harry Potter can not be touched. Not by Twilight, Not by Narnia. Nothing. Ever. So lets stop trying shall we?

  • J

    Brenda – Completely agree!!! Harry Potter is in a league of its own and will not be replaced any time soon. Its fan base is too large and ever growing.

  • lucy

    Umm its not zeuses son but Poseidons

  • Beth

    As the mother of an 11-year-old boy (who also loved the HP books), I can assure the doubters that kids have heard of the Percy Jackson books — there are even summer camps based on the camp in the novel.
    Riordan’s series is a witty, original take on mythology that should translate really well to the big screen, especially with that fabulous cast.

  • brooklyngirl

    FIRST OFF: Percy is POSEIDON’S SON, not Zues’.
    Second: I like this book series, but I heard that the three main character’s ages are gonna be changed and lots of other changes will also. So, no. This is the same thing that happened with Eragon (PercyJackson is ALSO from Fox2000 Pictures); they screwed up that book. Now they are gonna ruin Percy Jackson. With a HUGE problem like this, I personally don’t think that sequels will happen.
    So everyone, don’t hold your breath. And anyways, Percy Jackson is actually a Harry Potter rip off/knock off, so whatevs. And also, Harry Potter is its own seperate, amazing thing, which no one could replace.
    Another point: Twilight, although very different from Potter, is basically the “new Harry Potter”. Percy is not nearly as popular as the other two series, so it has no chance. Another point: Maximum Ride, another book-turning-into-movie, is going to be directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), so Ride will have instant popularity cause of this

    • Marissa

      I doubt Ride will be popular becaues of Hardwicke- but I also belive Twilight is the “New Harry Potter” (not that anything can top HP!)
      Personally, I like this series a lot, not as much as HP or Twilight, but I’m not not reading the series yet. I’m glad they are making the kids a bit older-12 seems a little younge for a lot that goes on in the book.

      • Jacki

        but its important that they b 12 for storyline it progresses to a climax in the last book when percy is 16 yrs old. and as a demi-god with monsters and being out there trying to kill you an easy life is not guna happen at all 12 is about the time people “mature” hit puberty watever so it kinda fits in that their other blood the one they get from their immortal parent would kick in about this time its a building block in the story line which hollywood likes to mess up

        p.s. harry potter is harry potter twilight is twilight there will be no next harry potter unless the author makes another book and twilight is not harry potter

        potter is a witch/wizard watever percy is a demi-god not rip off cuz he is a son of the big three potter has a scar there are difference in both books we shouldnt be comparing any of them to eachother they have their own elements and some similar ones too so its wateves

      • jaci

        but its important that they b 12 for storyline it progresses to a climax in the last book when percy is 16 yrs old. and as a demi-god with monsters and being out there trying to kill you an easy life is not guna happen at all 12 is about the time people “mature” hit puberty watever so it kinda fits in that their other blood the one they get from their immortal parent would kick in about this time its a building block in the story line which hollywood likes to mess up

        p.s. harry potter is harry potter twilight is twilight there will be no next harry potter unless the author makes another book and twilight is not harry potter

        potter is a witch/wizard watever percy is a demi-god not rip off cuz he is a son of the big three potter has a scar there are difference in both books we shouldnt be comparing any of them to eachother they have their own elements and some similar ones too so its wateves

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