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Disney+ Announces Percy Jackson Series - Can It Outperform the Movies?

Ben Bowman

The Percy Jackson book series has sold more than 69 million copies. Now, Disney+ is hoping it can lure a big chunk of those fans to stream an upcoming TV series. Author Rick Riordan shared the news on Twitter.

20th Century Fox had high hopes that Percy Jackson would do Harry Potter-sized business at the box office back in 2010. “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” hauled in $226 million in theaters. It was even directed by Chris Columbus, who helmed the first two Potter films. The sequel, “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” pulled $200 milion. But the first film was a critical miss, with just a 47 on Metacritic and a 49% on Rotten Tomatoes. The sequel fared even worse with a 39 on Metacritic and a 42% on Rotten Tomatoes. Although the franchise was supposed to run over five films, Fox pulled the plug after just two.

For reference, the worst-performing Harry Potter film (“Prisoner of Azkaban”) pulled in $797 million worldwide. The entire franchise sold over $7.7 billion in tickets. Potter’s success kicked off a wave of adaptations of young adult fiction, including the Divergent and Maze Runner series, all of which faded quickly.

Disney bought the 20th Century Fox library in 2019, giving it the rights to the Percy Jackson book series. Now, we’ll see if the property can succeed on the small screen.

Disney+ has been struggling to branch out beyond its Star Wars and Marvel properties. While “The Mandalorian” was a hit, “The Book of Boba Fett” hasn’t caught on. A look at the Google Trends data below shows that searches for “The Mandalorian” are now higher than those for “Fett,” even though the new show is still releasing new episodes.

When it comes to Marvel, “WandaVision” and “Loki” hit the mark, but “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Hawkeye” were met with more muted responses.

If Disney+ is really hoping to grow, it will need far more compelling content that can appeal to a wider audience. While international markets have the benefit of the Star section of the site, which contains more mature movies and shows, Disney+ users are stuck with relatively harmless PG-13 options unless they choose to bundle the service with Hulu. That may change in time, but for now, the library seems aimed at a narrow audience.

  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

    February 1, 2010

    Accident prone teenager, Percy discovers he’s actually a demi-God, the son of Poseidon, and he is needed when Zeus’ lightning is stolen. Percy must master his new found skills in order to prevent a war between the Gods that could devastate the entire world.

  • Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

    August 7, 2013

    In their quest to confront the ultimate evil, Percy and his friends battle swarms of mythical creatures to find the mythical Golden Fleece and to stop an ancient evil from rising.

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