There are a lot of books adapted into films each year. Most are hardly worth taking note of, but others stand the test of time. Some remain popular long after their theatrical run ends. And others are immensely popular before and after movie adaptatations. But only a few books keep selling well in the used books environment.
You would not believe how many of these books we get in at my store. It’s ridiculous.
The Hunger Games.
There’s a difference between the two series. THG sell, but we get SO many of them.
Marley & Me.
I actually had no idea it was a book before I started working at Half Price Books. It’s one we see A LOT of. It isn’t exactly flying off the shelves.
The Fault in Our Stars.
Similar to THG, these sell okay. But it’s definitely a book we see plenty of.
So that’s my little list of popular books that became popular movies that don’t sell particularly well in a used bookstore environment. At least not in the environment I work in each day. Of course, there are opposites. Books that sell VERY well. It’s all a guessing game. Maybe I’ll have a post about those books in a couple of days.
A few nights ago I was working a closing shift, right? Which generally means it’s pretty slow toward the end of the night. But then I was awakened by a comment a co worker made. She said Twilight is the same as The Hunger Games. You can imagine my reaction to this.
I couldn’t believe it. And she was quire serious. Though another worker did immediately tell her that she was quite incorrect, I was the only one there who’d actually read any of the books around Katniss. So no one could really jump in with me.
Anyway, sure both series are obviously young adult, but to say that they are the exact same thing is outrageous to me. And disrespectful toward Suzanne Collins. Ugh. Have you ever heard anyone compare two books or series that don’t belong in the same sentence?
I wrote last week about the new book in the series in which the genders of most of the characters are swapped. Well I learned something else about the book.
I was bouncing around WordPress for a bit the other day and I came across a review. So I read it. It was not good. It appears that Meyer put in even less work than I expected. The text of the book appears to be the exact same. She didn’t actually rewrite anything. There were a few things that were changed because Meyer figured a guy would see them differently than a girl, but most of the text wasn’t.
I think it’s both arrogant and disrespectful. Because people are buying this book. But it’s not really anything new. Just some stupid names changed. I think I’m forever done discussing Stephenie Meyer after reading this. What do you think?
Oh man. Yesterday I finally got to reading some blogs and I found out something interesting. There’s going to be a new book in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. But she won’t just be adding more to the story. Nope.
It’s a gender swap. Not sure if that’s what it’s called, but basically Bella and Edward will be renamed and switch places. So that Meyer can prove that Bella was just a “human in distress” and not a damsel in distress. I’ll sum up my thoughts: , “Um, why?”.
We know why, of course. Money. For everyone involved. And didn’t E.L. James just do something similar with Grey? She didn’t switch the characters completely, but she did switch perspectives.
Are you looking forward to this new book by Stephenie Meyer?
Is it me or did that title rhyme a bit? Hm.
Anyway, 2015 is another year full of books being adapted into movies. I wrote a million years ago about Hollywood’s fascination with turning toward the literary world for movie ideas. We all hear about the movie deals for this title and for that one just about every week. A movie is a hit, another book by the same author is adapted. Two prime examples of this just from 2014 are Gillian Flynn and John Green. And let’s not forget that the top grossing movie at the domestic box office has been adapted from a book in three of the last four calendar years. 2011 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. 2013 – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. 2014 – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. Technically Guardians of the Galaxy still shows as the top grossing movie of last year, but I’m happy to say that Mockingjay is just a short time from claiming the top spot.
So when you take those little tidbits into consideration, it’s easy to see why Hollywood is always searching for that next big hit by way of the publishing industry. American Sniper just expanded its release and what happens? With Bradley Cooper as the lead and awards buzz from every which way, it’s going to shatter the January opening record at the box office. Another movie adapted from a book.
I’m sure you know exactly when your favorite adaptation will be released this year, but here are 20 notable releases. And no, I didn’t come up with the list myself. And no, I don’t have release dates because I’m too lazy to find them on Box Office Mojo. Here’s the list:
The Light Between Oceans
In the Heart of the Sea
The Zookeeper’s Wife
The Secret Scripture
Into the Forest
A Book of Common Prayer
Walk in the Woods
Carol (The Price of Salt)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
The Jungle Book
Far from the Madding Crowd
And that’s it. Of course, none of these matter. It’s all about how soon November can get here so we can see Katniss again. Sorry for the lack of actual information about each movie, but I stole the list from here and they tell you a little about the story and the actors involved with most of the adaptations.
Are you looking forward to ANY of these? I’m not. But eh.
PS: You should know by now that the Fifty Shades of Grey movie is just weeks away from its release date. Well I read from a very good box office guy that it might open to more than $75 million domestically. A little perspective, Twilight opened to $69 million and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone opened to $90 million.
I actually just read a blog post about this topic yesterday that gave me the idea to write this. I’d link to the post if I remembered the name. Oh well.
Let me just tell you what this other blogger said. She categorized a “long” series as more than five books. And basically said that anything more than that is just too long and fails to keep her attention. I disagree. Let’s not forget Harry Potter was seven. Just saying.
I mean, five books being categorized as a “long” series is a joke. That is a short series. A very short one. I mean, five books is probably only long to YA readers who read trilogy after trilogy. Followed by Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m not trying to generalize here, but really who thinks five books is a long series? Who? Another question. How many books are in your favorite series? Mine happens to have three, but when I start looking at more of the series I read I see a whole lot more books than that. Let me see. Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series is into the 40s. And oh by the way, this is only considered one of the great detective series of the past half century. Jack Reacher is about to reach 20. Alex Cross is into the 20s. Harry Bosch is nearing 20 books. Alex McKnight is in the double digits. Jesse Stone is at 14. Elvis Cole is at 16.
See what I’m saying? These are not just random series I found on the internet. I read all of them and there are several more that I could name. But I think I’ve made my point. I know I don’t speak for every reader out there, but it does beg the question that if readers were turned off by long series, then why are so many authors writing them? Michael Connelly just released a new Bosch novel this week and I’m near certain that it’ll be a #1 NYT bestseller whenever the list updates. As is also the case with most of James Patterson’s books. And Lee Child’s. And Sue Grafton’s. And I know there are YA series that go on and on, as well.
The moral of this post is that I don’t buy into the notion that readers are turned off by long series. Not at all. There are way too many that sell quite well for that to be the case. But I’ll ask anyway, do you shy away from reading lengthy series?
I’m starting to forget what I’ve written about over the last few months. I think this is post number 270 or 271 and the vast majority of those have come from February until now. But I’m confident I haven’t touched on this topic just yet. I don’t think.
Okay. We all know about judging books by their covers because everyone does it. We also are likely familiar with judging books by their authors because we do that too. But what about judging books by their movies? What do you think? Think you judge books by their movies? Or maybe you view them as separate entities?
This is where I tell you which side of the fence I fall on. Hm. Interestingly enough, I’m actually okay with this. Don’t go gasping away before giving me the chance to explain. There have been a number of wildly successful adaptations in recent years, but we should all know of the even greater number of films that have been flat out horrible. As in, what-kind-of-studio-would-ever-want-to-adapt-this-for-film horrible. But literary adaptations aren’t going anywhere.
The Hunger Games movies have been adapted quite well, in my opinion. As were the Potter films and John Green’s mega-bestseller The Fault in Our Stars. The LOTR films are probably my favorite adaptations ever. Gone Girl was released just last week to critical acclaim.
But you know the movies that are good and those that aren’t, so I won’t continue with my little list there. But am I the only person who thinks there may be a correlation between the quality of the book and the quality of the theatrical adaptation? I know not everyone loves every book or movie, but it seems to me that books that are nearly universally liked adapt well into film. Not because people like the book, but because it’s high quality. Sometimes the book is higher quality than the movie, but only once can I think of the movie actually being better than the book.
For instance, the Twilight movies were not very good at all. I’ll admit to having seen every one of them, but come on. The Hobbit movies are not on par with the book. Bad movies can come from bad books. And bad movies can come from great books. But great movies do not come from bad books. It just doesn’t happen. That’s the point that I’m trying to make.
If you see a bad movie adapted from a book, then you may or may not choose to go read the book to compare the two. But if you see a truly great movie adapted from a book, then you absolutely need to read the book because you’ll likely enjoy it even more than the movie. Even though you’ve likely already read it.
Have you ever judged a book by its movie? And do you agree that great movies typically come from great books?