If you pay attention to the films that were released in 2013 as well as upcoming ones in 2014, Divergent, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Great Gatsby, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Silver Linings Playbook, should be familiar titles. But how are these films similar?
Throughout the past decade, the trend of grasping a concept and story from a book and translating it onto the big screen has become very popular. Not only does it provide an easier way of creating a script and the world it takes place in, but it effectively gathers an audience to watch the movie! No doubt these films have been a huge success with the help of fans and social media, but does this concept start to feel overused? Should movie producers start coming up with original ideas for films instead of basing ideas off another source?
Regarding book-to-movie adaptions, the success usually becomes a hit or miss situation. Although one side of the fan base may be excited and hopeful, the latter half begs to differ. The readers are generally very enthusiastic to see their beloved characters come to life. Take Ender’s Game for example. Ender’s Game was published in 1985 by Orson Scott Card and is an international bestseller. Automatically, fans of this book would want to watch this film once it was released. But how does an individual who hasn’t read the book become interested? One way Ender’s Game has attained an audience is by the choice of casting actors and directors. In this case, an all-star cast which includes Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, and Star Wars’ Harrison Ford. With these actors involved with the film, a person would be influenced to see it. After all, what’s better than to see your favourite books be interpreted by your favourite directors and actors?
A successful film adaption can influence more people to read the books, as well as create opportunities to sell a profitable franchise. An example is merchandises to promote the movies. We’ve all seen t-shirts, key chains and replicas of the Mockingjay Pin and Dumbledore’s wand! In fact, the fashion industry is getting involved as well. Both The Hunger Games movies have their own nail polish and makeup lines. When filming movies, having a solid fan base before the promotion stages can further enhance the effectiveness in advertising while creating hype from these novels.
Yet, there will always be people who dislike the idea of book-to-movie adaptions. If a person were to watch the movie first and dislike it, that would discourage them from reading the books and create a disdained impression. The greatest downfall of film adaptions is the fact that not every detail can be translated onto screen. It is an unfortunate and yet understandable fact. Common complaints are that the film will “destroy” the essence of the novel and not meet expectations. The Mortal Instrument: City of Bones was a film adapted from Cassandra Clare’s Young Adult (YA) series. With a huge following, all were expecting for a successful opening at the box office. Sadly, it fell short. Once the film was released, the feedback from fans and reviewers both deemed the film not as successful as it could have been – earning 12% on Rotten Tomatoes and 61% from the audience. Perhaps it was the actors, the cinematography, or the cliché script. Something obviously didn’t click.
There are always pros and cons in creating book-to-movie adaptions. Since this is a market driven business, perhaps opinions from the book readers and moviegoers will help the film companies and publishers decide what they should do in the future.
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About the contributor: Ellen is a high school student who enjoys many activities such as reading, writing, playing various instruments and watching movies. She hopes to one day pursue a career in journalism.