Books that have transitioned into unforgettable movies
The book printing industry, despite speculation that it would fall like CDs or DVDs, is boasting major positives. Recent statistics suggest that the UK book market increased in volume in 2018, the fourth consecutive year in which the industry has demonstrated growth. Approximately 190 million book sales in the 12-month period translated into an annual market value of £1.63bn, up £34m on the previous year.
Carry on reading as we examine the biggest book-to-screen successes, analyzing gross profit and the reception the film received.
Irvine Welsh’s novel centering around addiction in 90s Edinburgh was voted Scotland’s favorite novel back in 2013, fighting off stiff competition from the likes of Ian Rankin’s Black and Blue.
The plot of the book, which homes in on the lives of twenty-something Leith natives Begbie, Renton, Sick Boy, and Spud, was picked up by English film director Danny Boyle, whose famous productions have also included Slumdog Millionaire and the upcoming Bond 25.
The adaptation featured legends of the British screen Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, and Robert Carlyle and cleared almost £45m in the international box office. Twenty-two years after its initial release, Trainspotting is considered a British cult classic and a somewhat harrowing right of passage for any film lover over the age of eighteen.
In a sense, Trainspotting acts as a rather unnerving representational life lesson, with the characters, particularly Sick Boy, offering a humorous theory of existence on more than one occasion. Back in 2017 a sequel to Trainspotting, T2 Trainspotting, featured a cameo appearance from author Irvine Welsh, whom director Danny Boyle described as “someone who wrote a genuine masterpiece.”
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Transport delays often have us at our wits’ end doing anything possible to fill time and ultimately quash the boredom. Few of us could lay claim to coining the idea for one of the world’s most successful novel series while stuck on a train, however. J.K. Rowling did just that!
While commuting between Manchester and London, the Gloucestershire-bred novelist created fictional character Harry Potter, a young, orphaned wizard. In a beautifully heartfelt fashion, the book drew upon some of Rowling’s personal life experiences, including losing her mother following a lengthy battle with multiple sclerosis, which adds a significant emotional dimension to the saga.
Initially, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was snubbed by many publishers, who insinuated Rowling would fail to make considerable earnings from children due to its complex storyline. After that turbulent infancy, the book was finally picked up and became an international success almost immediately.
Movie heavyweight Warner Bros. soon recognized the story’s success and jumped at the chance to turn it into mind-blowing visuals. Christopher Columbus directed the film, which featured unknown (at the time) Daniel Radcliffe as Harry and saw worldwide box office returns of an astonishing £765 million.
Six more books featured in the series, with a further seven films confirming one of the most lucrative creations of all time – on both platforms.
Silver Linings Playbook
More often than not, a book will be morphed into a big-screen watch when it has been particularly successful in a print version. However, Matthew Quick’s novel was significantly different.
Quick, a former high school teacher from New Jersey, left his job to pursue a career as a writer. The Silver Linings Playbook, once finally published, had virtually bankrupt the novelist, so when directors came knocking to ask about licensing the story, Quick was ecstatic.
Tragically, the adaptation’s two highly motivated directors died within six months of one another. Fortunately, David O. Russell came along and drafted major Hollywood stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro.
The story follows the connection made between Pat, who suffers from bipolar disorder, and Tiffany, who battles with an unlabeled mental illness. Silver Linings Playbook is a gripping yet often tragic portrayal of life spent struggling with these types of condition.
Although many aspects of the film were saddening, the reception it received was quite joyous. At the box office, Silver Linings Playbook generated £185m worldwide and even won Jennifer Lawrence her first Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role at the Academy Awards.
Evidently, book-to-screen transitions have been a massive success and paid off at the box office. Get movie-ready with your favorite chocolate and popcorn. Which will you watch first?