2019 brought the hit series After to cinemas and… it was awful. A bland flavourless movie that only exists because the One Direction fanfiction it’s based on did well online. It made about $12 million on a $14 million budget and in a fair world that would mean the series died there… of course, that’s just the domestic total. Worldwide, After made (I swear I’m not joking here) $69 million and therefore it was going to get a sequel. Now, the first film was spectacularly bland so surely the second film is going to be just as bland right? Right?
…So, this is somehow less original than 50 Shades of Grey and a lot less interesting.
In April of 2013, Anna Todd released the first chapter of a story titled After onto the website Wattpad. Wattpad is a website known mostly for fan fiction and in Anna’s case, she was big into One Direction. This would prove to be good for Anna because One Direction was still really big at the time, indeed probably at the peak of their collective career. So this fanfiction would focus on Harry Styles, the heavily tattooed member of the well-loved boyband, and create a tale where Harry Styles was a college boy who broods and has a bit of a dark side to him who would end up falling for the sweet innocent Tessa. The book was a huge hit on Wattpad, netting half a billion reads for the 99 chapters of romance between a member of One Direction and some girl who could be you, dear reader. Now, there was a time when this would be the end of the story. The Fan Fiction would stay online, net the writer some credibility in the internet space and we’d never have to talk about it on this blog because it would be unfair to be incredibly critical towards fan fiction which is normally written by bored people with a few hours to kill and a little fantasy they want to imagine… but then After just had to go get turned into a book, change the name Harry Styles to Hardin Scott (for obvious legal reasons) and become enough of a hit that someone had to make a movie out of this book because if Fifty Shades could turn into a hit franchise, surely this one will be a major hit too.