Why The ‘Mortal Instruments’ Movie Failed

With any successful YA series comes the opportunity for a movie, and unfortunately, ‘City of Bones’ did not make the mark.

Adaptations Fantasy Pop Culture Young Adult

Today is The Mortal Instruments series’ author, Cassandra Clare’s 47th birthday, and it’s safe to say that her books have reached a huge and diverse audience. With themes touching on self-acceptance and various LGBT and POC representation, it is a beloved fixture of YA literature.


Cassandra Clare, author of the sprawling Shadowhunters series


Of course, with any successful YA series comes the opportunity for a movie, and unfortunately, City of Bones did not make the mark. Now, I know bringing up a failed movie on the author’s birthday might seem weird, but we still LOVE Cassandra Clare and the source material she wrote so wonderfully.

And maybe, by bringing up what went wrong, hopefully in the future, we’ll get a proper adaptation.



On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has an approval rating of 14% with a rating average of 3.93/10. Not only was it a critical failure, but a box office flop as well, with 95.3 million made to its budget of 60 million.

Around the time this movie was made, Twilight and The Hunger Games were hugely popular, ergo it made sense to try and copy what made those movies successful and apply it to this movie. The critics panned it, some calling it a Twilight ripoff, and not having its own unique identity to set it apart from the others.



Not only that, it was a pretty long movie with a run time of two hours and ten minutes. This resulted in a weird mix of rushing some scenes and taking too long in others, which meant that some pivotal scenes weren’t given enough time, and exposition and non important ones had too much. It is rather daunting to adapt something, especially with a loyal fanbase, but this was one of the reasons why its featured on many ‘Worst Adaptation Lists.’

Cassandra Clare has since penned other series, and has had a TV show adaptation, but maybe one day we’ll have a movie adaptation worthy of the books she’s written.

Featured Image Via Entertainment One Films