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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

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Harald Zwart

Adapted from
City of Bones




Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Music director
Atli Orvarsson

Canada Germany

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie poster

Release date
August 21, 2013 (2013-08-21) (United States, Canada, United Kingdom)

Based on
City of Bones  by Cassandra Clare

Jessica Postigo (screenplay), Cassandra Clare (based on the novel by)

Lily Collins
Jamie Campbell Bower
(Jace Wayland),
Kevin Zegers
(Alec Lightwood),
Jemima West
(Isabelle Lightwood),
Robert Sheehan
(Simon Lewis),
Lena Headey
(Jocelyn Fray)

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The mortal instruments city of bones official trailer 2 2013 lily collins movie hd

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a 2013 Canadian-German urban fantasy action-adventure film based on the first book of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. The story takes place in an urban and contemporary New York City. Directed by Harald Zwart, the film stars an international cast, including Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Godfrey Gao, Lena Headey, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Aidan Turner, Kevin Durand, and Jared Harris. It was released in theaters on August 21, 2013, by Screen Gems in the United States and Entertainment One in the United Kingdom. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones earned $91 million against a $60 million production budget. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 3, 2013, by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.


The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie scenes

The mortal instruments city of bones official trailer


The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie scenes

New York City teenager Clary Fray begins seeing a strange symbol, worrying her mother Jocelyn Fray and her mother's friend Luke Garroway. Later, at a nightclub with her friend, Simon Lewis, Clary is the only person who sees Jace Wayland killing a man, who he claims is a demon. Meanwhile, Jocelyn is abducted by two men, Emil Pangborn and Samuel Blackwell, but she is able to call Clary and warn her about someone named Valentine. Jocelyn drinks a potion putting her in a comatose state. Returning home, Clary finds her mother missing and is then attacked by a demon. Clary kills it, and then Jace appears. Jace explains that he and her mother Jocelyn are both Shadowhunters (also called Nephilim), half human half angel warriors that slay demons and rule over the downworlders. Clary has inherited her powers, including the ability to use runes.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie scenes

Madame Dorothea, the Fray's neighbor and a witch, deduces that Pangborn and Blackwell seek the Mortal Cup, one of the three Mortal Instruments given to the first Shadowhunter by the Angel Raziel. It allows normal humans to become half-Angel Shadowhunters. Simon, now able to see Jace, arrives and they go to Luke's bookstore. Pangborn and Blackhell are interrogating Luke there, who claims he cares nothing for Jocelyn and only wants the Mortal Cup. The trio escapes to the Shadowhunters' hideout, the Institute, where Clary and Simon meet two other Shadowhunters Alec and Isabelle Lightwood, and their leader, Hodge Starkweather. He reveals that Valentine Morgenstern, an ex-Shadowhunter who betrayed the Nephilim, now seeks the Mortal Cup to control both Shadowhunters and demons.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie scenes

Hodge instructs Jace to take Clary to the City of Bones so the Silent Brothers can probe Clary's mind for the Mortal Cup's location. The Brothers uncover a connection to Magnus Bane, the High Warlock of Brooklyn. Bane says Jocelyn had him block the Shadowhunter world from Clary's mind. Vampires then kidnap Simon from Magnus' party for downworlders. Clary, Jace, Alec, and Isabelle trail them to their hideout and rescue him but are outnumbered. Werewolves (that share a truce with the Shadowhunters) intervene and save them. These are led by Luke.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie scenes

At the Institute, Clary shares a romantic evening with Jace, ending in a kiss. When Simon confronts Clary about it, she downplays the incident, angering Jace. Simon confesses to Clary that he is in love with her, leaving her feeling guilty because she does not reciprocate his feelings.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie scenes

Clary realizes the Mortal Cup is hidden inside one of Madame Dorothea's tarot cards that were painted by her mother. The group goes to Dorothea's apartment but she has been replaced by a demon sent to steal the Cup. Simon and Jace kill it, but Alec is critically wounded. Clary retrieves the Mortal Cup and they return to the institute.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie scenes

Clary gives the Mortal Cup to Hodge who betrays them by summoning Valentine Morgenstern and giving him the cup. Valentine reveals he is Clary's father and wants her to join him. She escapes through a portal that transports her to Luke's bookstore. Luke, revealed to be a werewolf, confirms that Valentine is her father, and says Clary had an older brother named Jonathan who was killed. Luke and his werewolf pack return to the Institute with Clary to fight Valentine, who has summoned an army of demons through a portal he created. Simon and Isabelle close the portal with help from a repentant Hodge, who sacrifices himself. Meanwhile, Magnus Bane arrives and heals Alec.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie scenes

Clary and Jace fight Valentine, who claims both are his children. They refuse to join him and, following a battle, Clary pushes him through the portal after giving him a fake Mortal Cup. The portal is destroyed, and Jocelyn is rescued, but she remains in a coma at the hospital. Clary tells Simon that someday someone will love him. Clary heads back home and uses her new-found powers to repair the apartment. Jace appears on his motorcycle, confessing he needs her and wants her to return to the Institute. Realizing that she belongs in the Shadowhunter world, she goes with him and they ride into the distance.


  • Lily Collins as Clarissa Morgenstern
  • Jamie Campbell Bower as Jonathan Christopher Herondale (aka Jace Wayland)
  • Robert Sheehan as Simon Lewis
  • Kevin Zegers as Alec Lightwood
  • Lena Headey as Jocelyn Fairchild
  • Aidan Turner as Luke Garroway
  • Jemima West as Isabelle Lightwood
  • Godfrey Gao as Magnus Bane
  • C. C. H. Pounder as Madame Dorothea
  • Jared Harris as Hodge Starkweather
  • Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Valentine Morgenstern
  • Kevin Durand as Emil Pangborn
  • Chris Ratz as Eric
  • Robert Maillet as Samuel Blackwell
  • Stephen R. Hart as Brother Jeremiah
  • Elyas M'Barek as Raphael Santiago
  • Chad Connell as Lambert
  • Harry Van Gorkum as Alaric/Werewolf
  • Pre-production

    While shopping the film prospect around, author Cassandra Clare had difficulty finding a studio interested in making a film with a female in the lead role. Studios asked her to switch the lead to a male character, which she refused.

    On December 9, 2010, it was announced that Lily Collins had been cast in the role of Clary Fray.

    Alex Pettyfer was originally offered the role of Jace Wayland, but turned it down. Alexander Ludwig, Ed Speleers and Leebo Freeman tested for the role but it went to Jamie Campbell Bower. Xavier Samuel, Nico Tortorella, Max Irons, and Douglas Booth were also in consideration.

    The film is a co-production of the Germany company Constantin Film Produktion GmbH and Canadian company Don Carmody Productions and a co-production with Unique Features.


    Principal photography took place between August 20 and November 7, 2012, on location in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, and New York City.


    The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) was released by Republic Records in stores and digital retailers on August 20, 2013. It is headlined by Demi Lovato, Zedd, Colbie Caillat, AFI remixed by LA Riots, and Jessie J among others. The soundtrack is a collaboration between trance DJs Myon & Shane 54 with Seven Lions, as well as a song by Bryan Ellis, produced by Brian West. Some songs, including Lovato's "Heart by Heart" and Caillat's "When the Darkness Comes", were recorded specifically for City of Bones. Zedd "scored for a key scene in the film".

    "Almost is Never Enough", performed by Ariana Grande and Nathan Sykes was released as promotional single from the album on August 19, 2013. The album peaked at #32 on the US Billboard 200. "Almost is Never Enough", performed by Ariana Grande and The Wanted's Nathan Sykes, debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 84.

    Beth Crowley had also written a song inspired by the movie called "Warrior". "All I Need" by Radiohead was the song used in the trailer for the film.


    The official score was composed by Atli Örvarsson, and was released on August 20, 2013 for physical purchase and digital download.

    When the Darkness Comes

    "When the Darkness Comes" is a song (recorded by American singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat). An adult contemporary ballad that incorporates elements of piano rock, built around a sparse piano arrangement, the song was released on July 10, 2013 via Republic Records as the first promotional single from the soundtrack. Praised for its "haunting, atmospheric" sound which is intended to capture the dramatic feel of the story. "When the Darkness Comes" features a darker theme than most of Caillat's work.


    A teaser trailer was released in November 2012, and a second trailer was released March 2013. The film was originally due for release on August 23, 2013, but was pushed back two days earlier, on August 21, 2013. The film secured broad European distribution deals at Cannes.

    The film premiered on August 12, 2013, at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.


    According to the Los Angeles Times, $60 million was spent on marketing. Kulzer, Constantin's co-president, stated "$60 million has been spent worldwide on prints and advertising...." and went on to explain the importance of managing expectations.

    Home media

    The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 3, 2013 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

    Critical response

    Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 12% based on 115 reviews and a rating average of 3.9/10. The site commented that "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones borrows ingredients from seemingly every fantasy franchise of the last 30 years — but can't seem to figure out what to do with them." At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100, the film has a score of 33% based on reviews from 35 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews."

    The Telegraph's Robbie Collin gave the film one out of five stars, saying, "This gothic teen fantasy is one of the most disastrous page-to-screen adaptations in memory". Collin added "the plot is an incomprehensible tangle of dead ends and recaps, and afterwards you realise only two things have stuck: the story’s countless unsubtle borrowings from very recent pop culture... and a brief aside in which we learn one of the earliest demon-hunters was Johann Sebastian Bach." Michael Rechtshaffen from The Hollywood Reporter also gave it a negative review, saying, "Certainly not the first and very unlikely the last studio attempt at launching a Twilight/Hunger Games franchise of their very own, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a bona fide saga all right—just not in a good way" adding "Despite the overstuffed assortment of vampires, werewolves, warlocks and demons of all shapes and sizes, The Mortal Instruments seldom feels like anything more than a shameless, soulless knockoff." New York Daily News also gave it a negative rating of 1 star out of 5; critic Jordan Hoffman wrote, "This one is by far the worst of the Twilight copies. And when that bunch includes The Host and I Am Number Four, that’s saying something." Hoffman added, "Despite an avalanche of back story, the film is merely an excuse to hop from one spookily dressed set to another. Alas, the titular City of Bones is more of a basement. Other than a gag about a cache of weapons beneath every church altar, there's hardly a moment of levity or imagination. For a film that is wall-to-wall fantasy, you've seen all of this before, in much better movies."

    Tom Keogh of The Seattle Times also gave it a negative review, stating, "City of Bones is so overwhelmed by CGI effects that it amounts to white noise for the eyes. Far worse is the way director Harald Zwart can’t establish a mature tone to support some of the story’s genuinely bold and challenging elements, especially a forbidden-love theme that deserves a more serious context". A more average review came from film critic Stephanie Merry of The Washington Post, who said, "To be fair, there are elements worth celebrating. The film is thankfully less self-serious than the mopey Twilight films. The Mortal Instruments revels in its own camp." She added, "But there is plenty of room for improvement. The action flick is overly long, complicated and, even by teen romance standards, cringe-worthy in its cheesiness."

    David Blaustein from ABC News also gave the film an average review of two-and-a-half out of five stars, saying, "Director Harald Zwart unsuccessfully tries to compress teen angst, love, passion, unfulfilled dreams and action into an overzealous, over-the-top, never-ending finale which seems about as well planned as throwing rocks and sand into a blender in the hope that if you blend it long enough at high-enough speed, you might wind up with a delicious milkshake." then he finally added: "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is not a very good film by any stretch of the imagination. However, it does possess a slick, beautiful, young-adult aesthetic and a supernatural, emotional yet nonsensical love triangle that the film's target demographic goes crazy for."

    Venetia Falconer of MTV News gave the film a positive review, with a score of 4 out of 5 stars, posting, "The Mortal Instruments more than lives up to its hype of ‘The New Twilight’. The special effects are impressive, the battle scenes enthralling and there is solid acting from all members of the cast. The film's main strength is that it perfectly hits the right balance between drama and comedy."

    Cinema audiences responded more positively than critics. Viewers who saw the film on the opening Wednesday, gave an average grade of B+, according to market research firm CinemaScore. The audience was 68% female and 46% under the age of 21.

    Box office

    City of Bones grossed $9.3 million for the three-day weekend in the U.S. and $18.2 million worldwide, debuting in #3 place as the highest ranked new release, although losing out on the top two spots to holdovers from previous weeks (Lee Daniels' The Butler and We're the Millers). For the five-day cumulative total, it grossed $14,088,359 in the U.S. and $23,188,359 worldwide, placing it below estimates of Variety at $18 million, The Hollywood Reporter at $15 million, and Sony itself who predicted $15 million. According to The Wrap, the film "failed to connect" and is on the same course as other misfires Beautiful Creatures and The Host. Forbes also made comparisons with Beautiful Creatures and The Host, and called the five-day weekend gross "a full-blown disaster" as well as "the biggest bomb of the weekend".

    Executive producer Martin Moszkowicz blamed the weak opening in the United States on "a strongly competitive environment", including competition from You're Next and The World's End, as well as strong holdovers The Butler and We're the Millers. Moszkowicz was confident, saying it was still too early to call, with the film still rolling out release in more territories worldwide.

    As of October 10, 2013, it grossed $31,165,421 at North American box offices and $59,400,000 internationally, bringing the worldwide gross to $90,565,421.

    The Hollywood Reporter described the film as a "major in-house flop" and contributing to studio Constantin's losses for the 2013 year.


    The Mortal Instruments won four Canadian Screen Awards: Achievement in Make-Up, Achievement in Overall Sound, Achievement in Sound Editing and Achievement in Visual Effects. It was also nominated for Achievement in Costume Design and Achievement in Art Direction/Production Design. The film was nominated at the 2014 Teen Choice Awards for Choice Movie: Action, Choice Movie: Actor Action, and Choice Movie: Actress Action, but lost to Divergent in all categories.

    Canceled sequels

    On May 8, 2013, before the film was released, it was announced that a film adaptation of the second book City of Ashes, would start production on September 23, 2013 with a 2014 release date. In August 2013, after the film opened below expectations, Kulzer, Constantin's co-president, explained that a sequel was still warranted given increasing book sales and soundtrack revenues. Sigourney Weaver was set to join the cast while Lily Collins, Lena Headey, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jemima West, and Jamie Campbell Bower were set to reprise their roles.

    On September 10, 2013, The Hollywood Reporter claimed that the sequel "had been pushed in the wake of a lackluster box-office opening" and The Wrap claimed the film had been postponed indefinitely. Moszkowicz responded "... Constantin is committed to making the sequel, the company did not want to rush into production with an unfinished screenplay, preferring to take the time to get right". Cassandra Clare responded, saying the draft screenplay she saw was "very far from the book" and that the original schedule would not have allowed time for changes, and she thought the delay could therefore be a good thing.

    On October 23, 2013, Moszkowicz told The Hollywood Reporter that production on the sequel would resume in 2014, explaining that Constantin was determined to continue the franchise due to the positive response from fans to the adaptation, though noted that the marketing campaign for City of Bones was too narrowly focused on teenage fans, proving to be a detriment of Clare's older readers. Moszkowciz also admitted that nothing had been finalized nor confirmed, saying "It is an ongoing discussion that we are having, and it is not done. We haven't made a final decision. But we will only move forward — and we plan to move forward — when we feel we are going to get it right". Moszkowicz later revealed the intention to shoot the film at some time in 2014. On May 20, 2014, Harald Zwart revealed that the studio still had intentions to make the sequel, but explained that he would not direct it, so that he could focus on other projects, although he complimented the first film as "a good window [for him] to show off".

    Scott Mendelson of Forbes magazine expressed surprise that a sequel was in production: "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones received neither positive reviews nor box office large enough to justify its production and marketing expenses. Yet, against all odds and arguably against all logic, [...] it’s getting a sequel!"

    Television series

    On October 12, 2014, at Mipcom, Constantin confirmed that The Mortal Instruments would return as a television series, abandoning previous plans for a film sequel, with Ed Decter as showrunner to start production for next year on at least two or three international shows. Constantin Film and TV head Martin Moszkowicz told The Hollywood Reporter that "It actually makes sense to do (the novels) as a TV series. There was so much from the book that we had to leave out of the Mortal Instruments film. In the series we'll be able to go deeper and explore this world in greater detail and depth."


    To tie in with the film, Sony Pictures worked with developers PlayFirst to release a game on August 15, 2013. The game, available free for Android and iOS, allows players to hunt demons and supernatural monsters like the Shadowhunters of the story. That includes cross-platform features, allowing users to sign in on Facebook and save their progress across Android and iOS devices.


    The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Wikipedia
    The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones IMDbThe Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Rotten TomatoesThe Mortal Instruments: City of Bones MetacriticThe Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

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