Saturday, April 6, 2013

A-Z Challenge: F is for Films

Many books have been made into films.  Popular books.  Not popular books.  It's an easy concept.  There's an idea already out there.  The book is written.  Someone comes and turns it into a screenplay.  If the book is popular they believe there will be loads of money made when the fans flock to the film.

Some of my favorite books made into films: Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares, Narnia (well, only three were made in the collection, but still, I love it) by CS Lewis, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Pleasing the fans is the hardest part when turning a book into a film.  Purists come out crying that the movie resembled nothing of the book.  They left this out.  They left that out.  Why did they put this in?

Films and books are two different medias, two different ways of telling a story.  How you tell a story in a book is not how you tell a story in a movie.  You can have a narrator, but you cannot live in a character's thoughts in a movie. Not like you can in a book.  Films have time limits.  Movies aren't five, six, seven hours long.  Theaters dislike that for they sell less tickets due to less showings.  Books do get published that are 1000+ pages.  It's rare, but it happens.  Ask Stephen King.  Turn that book into a movie.  Plenty of detail is going to be lost.  It's true. I think the average book ranges in the 300+ pages, though.  Still, plenty of detail will be lost when turning that book into a movie.

Not everyone who likes the book will like the movie and not everyone who likes the movie will like the book.  You can't please everyone.

Ten Facts about Books turned into Films:

  • Gone With the Wind (1939) won 8 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress for Hattie MacDaniel, Best  Leading Actress for Vivien Leigh, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography Color, Best Director for Victor Fleming, and Best Film Editing.
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) is the second film to win the top categories at the Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Writing Adapted Screenplay.
  • Return of the King (2003)from The Lord of the Rings and Ben Hur(1959) are tied for most Academy Award wins with 11 each.  Ben Hur: Best Leading Actor for Charlton Heston, Best Supporting Actor for Hugh Griffith, Best Art Direction-Set Direction Color, Best Cinematography Color, Best Costume Design Color, Best Director for William Wyler, Best Effects Special Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Music Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture for Miklos Rozsa, Best Picture,  and Best Sound.  Return of the King: Best Art Direction-Set Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Director for Peter Jackson, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup, Best Music Original Score by Howard Shore, Best Music Original Song "Into the West" sung by Annie Lennox, Best Picture, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Writing Adapted Screenplay.
  • As of 2012 the Harry Potter films have made over $8 billion in profits, according to
  • The highest grossing single book to film adaptation is Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, not adjusted for inflation.
  • Doctor Zhivago (1965) is the 8th highest grossing film of all time in the US adjusted for inflation.
  • 1989, The Library of Congress chose The Grapes of Wrath (1940) as one of the first 25 films to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
  • 1995, To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) was chosen by the Library of Congress to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry.
  • 1900, First William Shakespeare play to be turned into film is a French version of  Romeo and Juliet starring Emilio Cossira as Romeo. Yes, his works count as book to film adaptations because even though they were originally plays, they have been published in book form for generations to enjoy.
  • According to Rotten Tomatoes the #1 William Shakespeare adaptation is Henry V (1989).
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  1. Great post on movies. I agree that films and books are totally different mediums. I often wonder how my own novels would work as films.
    A - Z Challenge

  2. A really good post (many aren't) about films.

  3. I love a good book to film adaptation, but I get PISSED when they mess it up. Harry Potter 4 for example. But The LOrd of the Rings films were great.

    Happy A through Z blogging!

    1. You're a purist. :p Nothing wrong with that. I wish they kept the movies pure, but I know film and books are two different mediums, so I can't expect them to be the same.

  4. probably a book that makes it to a movie could potentially bring more money to the author.