Often, when a book to movie adaptation is announced, die-hard fans are horrified at the thought of their favorite piece of literature being given the Hollywood treatment – who will play the lead role? Will they miss out important parts of the story, or worse still, will they change it completely? Despite the initial concerns that may surround a movie adaptation, over recent years there have been several which have defied critics, breaking box office records and proving that sometimes, a movie version of a popular novel can be just as entertaining as the novel itself.
The LOTR trilogy is based on books by J.R.R. Tolkien. Set in the Middle World, the Fellowship set off on a quest to destroy the One Ring and its maker, the Dark Lord Sauron. LOTR was one of the most ambitious movie projects ever undertaken, costing over $285 million and taking around eight years to complete. Aragon was played by Viggo Mortenson and Frodo by Elijah Wood. Many other actors appeared across the trilogy, including Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan and Sean Bean. To date, the trilogy remains the ninth highest grossing film series of all time, with the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King grossing $377,845,905 worldwide in 2003.
Wizards, Witches and Vampires
The boy wizard Harry Potter first appeared in the J.K. Rowling book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, in 1997. Subsequent books follow adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as Harry and his friend’s battle against evil. The rights for the first four Harry Potter books were sold to Warner Bros. in 1998 for a reported £1 million, along with various clauses, including that the cast be kept British.
The stars of the films include the young British actors, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, as well as many established actors such as Julie Walters, Alan Rickman, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith and Robbie Coltrane. All seven Harry Potter films appear in the worldwide box office gross listings, with the highest being Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 at number four, which in 2012 grossed almost $1.5 billion worldwide.
The Twilight Saga consists of five films, based on four books by Stephanie Meyer. The first installment, Twilight, was released in 2008. New Moon in 2009 became the biggest opening day movie in history, grossing $72.7 million. Kirsten Stewart stars as Bella Swan, who develops a relationship with the vampire Edward Cullen (played by Robert Pattison). The saga follows Bella’s journey with vampires and werewolves as she continues her relationship with Edward.
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games is a book by Suzanne Collins, first published in 2008 as part of The Hunger Games trilogy. Chosen teenagers from each district in the remains of North America are forced to compete in the Hunger Games. The Games are televised and the teenagers compete until only one survives. The star and narrator of the book is Katniss Everdeen, who fights to survive the games. The Hunger Games film stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, alongside Liam Hemwsorth and Josh Hutcherson.
With its US release, it grossed a record $152.5 million on its opening weekend. The next film, Catching Fire, is due for release in 2013 and this follows Katniss’ rebellion, as well as her competing in the Hunger Games for the second time.
Jurassic Park Trilogy
Based on the best-selling book by Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park follows scientists trapped in a theme park containing cloned dinosaurs. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film was recognised for its use of computer-generated images and in 1993, it was the highest grossing film worldwide, earning over $900 million. Its sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (loosely based on the The Lost World novel) and Jurassic Park III were not as financially successful and lacked critical acclaim.
Sam Neill starred as Dr Grant and Laura Dern was Dr Sattler. Jeff Goldblum played the mathematician, Dr Malcolm and Richard Attenborough was the eccentric billionaire John Hammond, who devised and funded Jurassic Park.
About The Author: Francesca is a writer and blogger from the UK who writes on behalf of Notting Hill Editions. You can share your thoughts about movie adaptations of books with her by Tweeting @franki_blogs.