Sunday, August 2, 2015

From Book To Big Screen

What do the following books have in common?

Stephen King – The Body
Raymond Chandler – The Big Sleep
Evelyn Waugh – Brideshead Revisited
Ian Fleming – Casino Royale
E. B. White – Charlotte’s Web
Dr. Seuss – Cat in the Hat
Charles Frazier – Cold Mountain
Alice Walker – The Color Purple
Veronica Roth – Divergent
EL James – 50 Shades of Grey
Jane Austen – Emma
William Shakespeare – Romeo & Juliet
Winston Groom – Forrest Gump

All of them became movies.  So many of the biggest, greatest movies were books first – The Godfather, Gone With The Wind, The Graduate, Harry Potter, The Hobbit, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings, Peter Pan, Psycho, Sophie’s Choice, To Kill A Mockingbird, Twilight, The Wizard of Oz, and so many others.

Chances are, Hollywood is looking to buy up the movie rights to books making the bestseller lists.  Why?  Because it’s been proven that (a) people will buy into the story and (b) the millions of readers of a book will want to see the film adaptation.  Books are Hollywood’s minor leagues – a proving ground.

Many more books are optioned to Hollywood that never get made.  Some might become made-for-TV-movies and/or converted into Broadway plays.  Still, many books never get even an offer from Hollywood.

Some books that get turned into movies never had great commercial success as a book.  Warren Adler’s War of the Roses is a case in point.  The soon-to-be Broadway play was a hit movie three decades ago but the book never made the bestseller list.

Lately it seems like YA is the hot trilogy-to-movie thing, from Harry Potter and Twilight to Divergent and the Hunger Games, teen fare has become big screen gold. reports as many as 40 books will be made into movies this year, including Into Thin Air, Paper Towns, The Martian, Dark Places, A Walk In The Woods, Black Mass, Frankenstein, The Heart of the Sea, and The Light Between Oceans.

Last year featured some great books-to-movies, including Gone Girl, The Best of Me, Before I Go To Sleep, Mockingjay, Rose Water, and The Imitation Game.

What are some of the other classics that became huge movie hits?  The Silence of the Lambs, Carrie, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, The Maltese Falcon, Shawshank Redemption, and Doctor Zhivago come to mind, but there are thousands of movies with book roots.

Even though I love books and read often, I no doubt have seen more movie versions of books than having read those books.  If given a choice, I’d rather watch the movie and save my reading time for other books that won’t be shared in other mediums.  But when I have seen the movie of a book that I’ve read I will not be the first to say “The book was better.”  Movies have their unique appeal – and so do books.

If you want to know what’s going to be in the theaters in 2016, just look at the recent bestseller lists.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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