I took my kids to see The Lorax this weekend and as I was sitting there I started to think about books that have been made into movies. The more I thought about it, the more books I came up with. Over the past decade there are been a lot of our beloved books made to fit the big screen. With the much anticipated release of The Hunger Games movie, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about the good and bad of books made into movies.
There are two camps when it comes to making books into movies: Those who say: no way, leave my book alone and in my imagination, and those who can’t wait to see the story come to life in high-def and Dolby surround sound. I am not sure where I fall because if done correctly a great book can make a great movie. But if done poorly….well we all have seen a couple of those, haven’t we?
However you define success, how much money the film grossed or how well it adapted to screen, I don’t think anyone would argue the Harry Potter series was a great success. Having read the books and watched all the movies I was very happy with how the movies turned out. Obviously you cannot put everything in a movie that was in the book but Harry Potter was one of the best adaptations that I have come across, at least in the first two. Financially, when all is said and done J.K. Rowling is said to have a net worth of $1 billion. That is pretty successful!
Whether you like the books or not, it is hard to argue the Twilight movies have been pretty successful. With four of the five movies released it has grossed over $2 billion. They make teenage girls (and some adults I know) everywhere squeal with joy and ecstasy. That is successful, right??
The DaVinci Code, as another example, most people who read the book first didn’t like the movie, does that make it a bomb? Or really did most people, in general, just not like it? This brings up other points:
- Do you feel you’re more likely to enjoy a movie if you have not read the book first?
- How often you have been inclined to read a book after you saw the movie version?
- How often have have you been totally disappointed in a movie because you feel like it totally missed the tone or vibe of the book?
Possibly my favorite trilogy, Lord of the Rings, I went back and read the books AFTER watching the movies. Maybe that had a factor in me liking both the books and the movies equally. I don’t think the movies detracted from the enjoyment of the books or vice versa.
Here are other examples of books that were made into movies:
Some of these, depending on how you define success, did very well, others not as much.
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Interview With a Vampire by Anne Rice
Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally
Shawshank Redemption (movie that follows the book closest of any I have read) by Stephen King
Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin
The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (nominated for 5 Academy awards) by Stieg Larsson
The Help by Kathyrn Stockett
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
So how do you feel?
- Are there any books you’d like to see become movies?
- Or books you NEVER want to see become movies?
- Of this list, which do you consider a success or a miserable failure?