We have all experienced it. We get enamored with an absolutely smartly written novel and wait intently for its movie version. Only, not all films adapted from books have turned out to be really great. The box-office results will reflect the disappointment suffered by the book’s fans.
Then again, there are those that simply hit a homerun. Here are the 10 best books turned into movies based on sales receipts. Numbers have been adjusted for inflation in order to reflect a more accurate ranking.
10. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 2002 – $1.16 billion
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was the second installment of the trilogy based on the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien. Peter Jackson directed it and it took him eight years to finish all three movies. The three were actually shot all in one go as to more accurately portray the timeline of the novels. It won Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Editing, and scored four other nominations as well. It also won a Grammy Award for Best Score.
9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 2001 – $1.25 billion
The movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was the first installment of the Harry Potter series of seven books from J.K. Rowling. The book was actually published just four years earlier in 1997. Warner Bros. acquired the rights to the series and achieved instant success. The result was the production of seven sequels, with the book’s last installment being divided into two films.
8. The Godfather, 1972 – $1.33 billion
Some movie experts believe it to the greatest movie of all time. The Godfather was a 1972 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starred Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Robert Duvall. It is considered a masterpiece in the repertoires of film-making, with lines from the movie still being used today. The film was based on a 1969 novel by the Italian American author named Mario Puzo. It inspired a couple of sequels, with The Godfather II considered as an equal or even better by some observers. The Godfather won Oscars for Best Picture, Actor and Adapted Screenplay.
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, 2011 – $1.33 billion
It was the eighth and last installment of the Harry Potter series, and it was the second part of the seventh and last book of the J.K. Rowling series. The movie came a full 10 years after the first movie and fans awaited for it by lining up in droves even before its opening. It is considered as the most successful of the eight Potter movies.
6. Pinocchio, 1940 – $1.36 billion
Walt Disney successfully adapted the story about a boy whose nose would grow longer every time he told a lie in 1940 from the 1883 book of Carlo Collodi. At that time, it was only the second full-length animated movie from the company after the hugely successful Snow White. The result was a blockbuster that earned $84 million at the time of release, equivalent to $1.36 billion in today’s money. It also won Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for “When You Wish Upon a Star,” a song that later became the theme of The Walt Disney Company itself.
5. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, 2003 – $1.38 billion
The Peter Jackson movie was a fitting climax to the Tolkien classic. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King surpassed both the critics’ and fans’ expectations, improving the hefty praise and box office revenue of its two predecessors. Even better than that, the movie swept that year’s Academy Awards. It garnered 11 nominations and won them all, including awards for Best Picture and Best Director. It was perhaps a kingly reward for a trilogy well done.
4. The Jungle Book, 1967 – $1.4 billion
The movie The Jungle Book was the last animated movie to receive personal touches from Walt Disney himself. The movie was released months after the passing away of Disney. The movie was based on the novel written by Rudyard Kipling and it received a lot of critical praise, though nostalgia arising from Disney’s death may have influenced some of it. Still, it is considered as one of the funniest and liveliest animation movies from the production company.
3. 101 Dalmatians, 1961 – $1.63 billion
It is considered as one of the most successful movies from Walt Disney of all time. The movie 101 Dalmatians was based on the novel written in 1956 by Dodie Smith entitled The Hundred and One Dalmatians. The story revolves around two couples, one of them human and the other Dalmatian. The love story was set in London and featured an antagonist by the name of Cruella De Vil.
2. The Exorcist, 1973 – $2.25 billion
In 1971, William Peter Blatty wrote a novel entitled The Exorcist. The book scared the hell out of a lot of readers, but none would have expected the horrific adaptation made a couple of years later by William Friedkin that starred Linda Blair. The sight of Blair’s spinning head and vomiting still evoke fears in the hearts of moviegoers. It has regularly placed at the top of the scariest movies of all time. It earned 10 nominations in the Academy Awards, winning for Best Sound Mixing and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was also the first horror movie to be nominated for Best Picture, losing out only to the Paul Newman and Robert Redford starrer The Sting.
1. Gone With the Wind, 1939 – $6.52 billion
The movie Gone With the Wind is a sweeping movie based on the Margaret Mitchell novel of the same name. The story was set during the Civil War and Reconstruction era. It is the longest American sound film ever made at four hours, and it is also the highest grossing movie of all time when adjusted for inflation. It won eight Academy Awards, including one for Hattie McDaniel for Best Supporting Actress, the first African American to win an Oscar.
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