The Numbers are in

Unfortunately the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a runaway hit. In its first ten days in release the book version of the script has sold more than 3.3 million copies in North America alone. At the times of my original post on here and when I made my video for the script I hadn’t actually read any of the script. But now I have. Just a few bits and pieces to get a feel for the writing itself. My conclusion is quite simple. The writing is terrible. If no one had known anything about how this play came about and read this it would be obvious on page one that it wasn’t written by Rowling.

But there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Even with the great sales numbers they still don’t come close to the first day sales of Deathly Hallows, which sold more than 8 million copies in 2007. I’d say several factors are at play with the somewhat diminished numbers. First, it’s been nearly a decade since the final book was released. Second, this isn’t really a continuation of the series so many people know and love. Third, (and I saw this firsthand) a lot of people were unaware of this release. Fourth, the reviews. In my video last week I told y’all that it was rated 3.3 stars on Amazon after more than a thousand reviews. That trend is sticking. After more than 3000 reviews it is currently rated 3.4 stars out of 5. I think that number will stop people from buying who wanted to wait and see what initial readers thought of the script.

I’m hoping this doesn’t happen with the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them adaptations. Every one of the original Potter movies (like the books) was well received by viewers and critics alike, but hearing that a sequel is already in the works before the original is even released has me scratching my head. I mean, Warner Bros. just gave everyone the terrible trilogy they adapted from The Hobbit. Let’s hope they don’t make a habit of it.

 

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Here They Come

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The title of this post could literally mean any one of a hundred different things. I bet if I gave you the chance to guess before I get into what this post is actually about you’d be wrong. Go ahead. Guess.

Now you have something in your head that I am quite certain is incorrect. So let me tell you what is right. Every year Hollywood adapts a million books into movies. We know this. It’s not a new trend. This fall has quite a few new movie releases that are adapted from books. I mean, we know the big ones. Mockingjay. The Hobbit. Gone Girl. And there are more. This comes during a year in which we’ve already seen a number of adaptations released. Divergent. The Fault in Our Stars. The Giver. It appears that Hollywood is fast searching for the next phenomenon, but studios have recently been hit or miss when it comes to literary adaptations. Mostly miss. And the two wildly successful series (THG & The Hobbit) will be over this year and next, so the search will continue.

This article from USA Today lists their ten highlighted adaptations of the fall. Which movie adapted from a book are you most looking forward to? You know the answer for me. Mockingjay Part 1 cannot get here fast enough.

Has Hollywood run out of Ideas?

peg1-stars-hollywood-signI can’t say whether it’s a growing trend or if I am just now realizing it, but every year it seems that Hollywood adapts more and more books into major movies. That isn’t to say that the best movies are adapted from books, but sometimes that can be the case. Let’s look at recent theatrical releases.

We all know about the Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight movies, so those won’t be discussed. There have been a number of recent releases that many may not even know come from books. The Wolf of Wall Street, which is a major Oscar contender was adapted from the book written by Jordan Belfort. Lone Survivor, a movie nominated for two Oscars is also adapted from the bestselling book of the same name. These are two examples that I myself didn’t initially realize had been adapted from books. These also both happen to be true stories, but that isn’t always the case. The second movie in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy was just released last December and World War Z was released last summer.

You see, the number of literary adaptations released each year may beg the question, “Has Hollywood run out of ideas?” We already get countless sequels to successful movies anyway, just think any movie starring a comic book character, but studios are relying heavily on authors to bring their books to the big screen in order to cash in. I don’t hate that this is happening because I am of the opinion that authors are the most creative people around, but I’m just wondering at what’s currently happening.

As we look at the number of successful adaptations, we must also look at the number of box office bombs from 2013. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones ended its theatrical run with just over $31 million. Ender’s Game has made just $61 million on a budget of $110 million.  The Book Thief made just $21 million. The Host ended its run with just $26 million. And Beautiful Creatures came out with a horrendous $19 million. Suffice it to say that for every major literary adaptation success, there are several that don’t quite make it.

But let’s not forget that the highest grossing movie of 2013 was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with $421 million to date.

Just off the top of my head I can think of a couple of literary adaptations that are expected to make studios a lot of money in 2014. Mockingjay Part 1 and The Hobbit: There and Back Again. But there are also a number of films that will be adapted that we have no idea how successful they will be. Both The Monuments Men and Vampire Academy will be adapted and released this week, Divergent will be released in March, Fault in Our Stars will be released in June, Gone Girl will be released in October, and then at the end of the year we’ll have the third installments of The Hunger Games and The Hobbit series. We’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars that have already been spent on these projects that may or may not pan out at the box office.

Quite frankly, the answer to the title of this post is that Hollywood hasn’t run out of ideas because the box office in America continues to thrive. But it is worth asking if their dependence upon bestselling authors is growing. I don’t have the answer to that  and maybe no one does.