Box office stars have a way of starting off with incredible earth shattering books and the best part is that these books were intended as great books, not great movies. But put together award winning performances, outstanding directing and a script that keeps the audience fully engaged and these movies were destined to become stars. From famous trilogies such as Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter (which took over 10 years of production to produce eight films) these highly lucrative films were first books.
Investing millions in production, adapting screenplays to meet what the author wanted to portray and casting the right actors were all challenges that these movies faced. It is easy enough to read a book and create a fictional character but it is another thing to find someone to bring that character to life, in which the audience will identify with.
Some of these hits received rave reviews, Academy Awards and were record breakers. Others received mixed reactions from the critics but were fan favorites. One thing in common with all of these movies though, they are all highly lucrative films that once started off as epic books.
10 The Maze Runner
This thrilling adventure teen novel got great reviews after being published in 2009 and was followed by two sequels that received additional praise. Young adult book to film adaptations are notoriously hard to pull off but when this film was released in theaters in 2014 it was an immediate hit. Opening weekend saw a $32.5 million debut and has currently grossed over $340 million worldwide. Critics are praising the young actor’s talent and calling the storyline intriguing and slightly dark. Good news for this franchise, they started filming the sequel and we will see it hit theaters in September 2015.
9 Gone Girl
Soon after being published in 2012 this novel skyrocketed to the New York Times Bestseller List where it stayed there for eight weeks. In just one year this book had sold over 2 million copies and was on its way to becoming the award winning film it is today. The film was released in 2014 and made a hefty $368 million; making it the highest grossing film by director David Fincher. Nominations flew for best actress, best director and the critics’ choice award. Author Flynn admits being open to a sequel but warns fans that it may be a few years down the road.
One of the newer trilogies on this list is the Divergent trilogy and selling 6.7 million copies in 2013 and then topping the USA Today's Best-Selling Books list in January 2014, gives a good indication that the movies are a hit as well. Two of the four movies have been released so far and have grossed over $388 million worldwide. They both reached number one at the box office on opening weeks and although we doubt they will see the same numbers as Twilight or Harry Potter; the next two films should be highly lucrative as well.
7 The Fault in Our Stars
Published in 2012 this novel was the 6th novel to be written by John Green and rose to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List for Children’s Chapter Books, and stayed number at number one for seven consecutive weeks. It also hit number one on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller List. The movie adaption was released to fans in June 2014 and met with great reception as it soared to number one at the box office opening weekend. Grossing over $307 million worldwide this film was made to make you weep and boy did it do just that.
This series of four vampire romance novels was introduced to the world in 2005 and although not an immediate success they began to gain recognition and fame. Winning numerous awards and selling over 120 million copies worldwide pushed them to the top and they sat on the New York Times Best Seller list for Children's Series Books for over 235 weeks. The books were turned into five movies and grossed over $3.3 billion worldwide, setting records for biggest midnight screening and biggest opening day in history. While this series has been successful at the box office it did receive harsh criticisms from the critics.
5 The Hobbit
This fantasy children’s book is the prequel to The Lord of the Rings and known as a staple in children’s literature and for becoming a box office hit. The three adventure fantasy films made a whopping $2.9 billion worldwide and were one of the most highly anticipated film series to come about. The Lord of the Rings fans flocked to catch these films and the first film drew a crowd of 100,000 people to line the red carpet for the premiere. Critics have given these films a mixed review often comparing them to The Lord of the Rings trilogy but the numbers speak for themselves; the fans love them.
4 Fifty Shades of Grey
This erotic romance trilogy struck a chord with women around the world and has sold over 100 million copies and been transcribed into 52 different languages. It was only a matter of time before this series got turned into a film. Released in 2015; as of April it is the highest grossing film of the year and has earned over $566 million worldwide to date. Whether you love the idea of watching it or hate; one thing is for certain, they certainly know how to make money off of this concept.
3 Harry Potter
The eight part film series of Harry Potter was produced over a span of 10 years and raked in an impressive $7.7 billion worldwide in receipts. The first book in 1997 was actually relegated to a low-priority bookshelf and only happened to end up in the right hands by chance. Film producer David Heyman received it from his secretary and despite not liking the title he fell in love with the book and started the process which led to one of the most successful cinematic franchises of all time. The three young characters that were cast for Harry, Hermione and Ron led to an onscreen trio that couldn't be stopped. Known all over the world; these books turned movies will never be forgotten.
2 The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings novel is one of the bestselling novels of all time; selling more than 150 million copies and was written between the years 1937 and 1949. It wasn't surprising that this trilogy got turned into an epic adventure fantasy series. The three movies were filmed simultaneously all in the country of New Zealand and cost a whopping $280 million; give or take a few million. Lucky for this franchise, the hard work of eight years and a lot of investment paid off as this trio won a total of 17 academy awards and is known to be one of the highest grossing film series' of all time.
1 The Hunger Games
This trilogy of adventure novels rose to the top quickly overtaking Harry Potter’s Record on Amazon as being its top seller. In 2014 over 65 million copies of the books have been sold in the United States alone. The first film in the series became the first film since Avatar to remain in first place at the North American box office for four consecutive weekends and grossed over $961 million worldwide. The second film grossed over $864 million and the third coming in at $752 million worldwide. Combined; this film franchise became the first to have three films earn over $100 million in a weekend. We call that lucrative.