“Yeah, but the book was better than the movie” … ever heard that?
Adapting stories from book to film – some successfully, others not so much – goes back to the early days of Hollywood. “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz” are just two examples of the early years’ successful adaptations. Today, little has changed … except that more than ever, Hollywood is looking to publishers and authors as sources of the next big movie or – better yet – a film franchise that drives viewers to the theater again and again.
The things that drive good literature also make for celebrated movies. Filmmaker
Akira Kurosawa tells prospective screenwriters they:
Must study the great novels and dramas of the world. You must consider why they are great. Where does the emotion come from that you feel as you read them? What degree of passion did the author have to have, what level of meticulousness did he have to command, in order to portray the characters and events as he did?”
Some of the most financially successful book-to-movie adaptations rely on the remarkable stories … or remarkable characters … found in the books – even if the director took some liberties with the text for the sake of adapting it to the big screen. In the first of a two-part series, we look at five of the ten most successfully adapted books-to-movies in cinema history:
Her books and their adaptation to film have rocketed J.K. Rowling to fame … and fortune. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, alone making $1.3 billion, the series of eight Harry Potter movies have earned more than $7 billion in combined global box office sales … so far.
Lord of the Rings
Taking on a classic story, let alone a trilogy, is no small feat. Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's work has been an overwhelming success. Jackson’s challenge was staying true to the story and paying attention to its wonderfully-described detail because fans of the books were sure to notice anything that didn’t look like it did in their mind’s eye when reading the book. The four movies in the franchise remained faithful to the books’ characters, themes, and sense of adventure while retaining the “epic” feel and visual detail. This series has grossed $890 million worldwide, again … so far.
Michael Crichton's best-selling novel became a blockbuster hit when Director Steven Spielberg brought dinosaurs to life in 1993. Mixing live-action with relatively new, computer-generated imagery, the film quickly became the top-grossing movie of the year. To date, it has made more than $1 billion in box-office revenue and led to numerous sequels and merchandising opportunities.
Another Steven Spielberg blockbuster, based on the 1974 Peter Benchley novel of the same name. Benchley wrote it after reading about reported shark attacks in New England and sport fisherman Frank Mundus's capture of an enormous shark. The first drafts of the screenplay were later rewritten to add some of the humor and character interchange that made the movie less dark and foreboding. Jaws grossed more than $471 million worldwide, spawning several money-making sequels. They’re going to have to get a bigger boat!
The Da Vinci Code
Any book containing adventure and intrigue is ready-made for film adaptation. Add star elements such as Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou along with award-winning director Ron Howard to the mix, and you have this 2006 movie hit. Dan Brown’s 2003 novel revolves around an alternative religious history that had been covered up because of the threat it posed to mainstream Christianity. The book has sold over 80 million copies. The picture has grossed more than $760 million worldwide.
While filming a popular or best-selling book doesn’t guarantee movie success, it does seem to be an increasing trend in Hollywood as movie studios search for the next big hit.
Could your book or idea for a book be that next big thing?
Is it possible that your life story as told in your book could be developed into a motion picture, television series ,or cable movie?
At GetPublished™, we specialize in turning your book or idea for a book into a published work that can be marketed not only to the reading public but to movie producers and those with the power to bring your story to the silver screen. Contact us today to get started!
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