Every year thousands of films are released into cinemas across the world and onto DVD and Blu-Ray. With these huge Hollywood blockbusters racking in millions of pounds every day, it is undoubtedly a vast and powerful industry. However, for many of the stories turned into feature length films, life started as a book. From popular commercial hits such as the Twilight Saga and Harry Potter, to classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird and George Orwell's 1984, it is far from unusual to find a successful film that has been inspired by a book. Even epic stories like The Green Mile and Forrest Gump, which lend themselves so well to the silver screen and which you may think had been created by Hollywood scriptwriters, started out as novels.
Although many films that are based on books do very well in terms of revenue, they often stray far from the original story and are seen by many as inferior versions of the same narrative as a result. Many films cut out seemingly essential parts of the plot when adapting novels to scripts and rely on the visuals to convey a lot of these sections instead, while books take the time to provide a sense of place and develop believable characters that you can identify with or love to hate. The beauty of books is that they allow the reader's imagination to go to work and allow them to create their own mental pictures of exactly what a character will look like or what the place must feel like, things which are often done for the filmgoer.
Nonetheless there have been many successful movie versions of books; one good example of this is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Originally published in 1954, it took 47 years for filmmakers to adapt it but the wait was clearly worth it as the films received 17 academy awards and reported earnings of $2.91 billion. Some people still debate furiously over whether the films are as good as the books but one thing that is agreed on is that the release of the films increased the sales of the books and this can only be a good thing for the publishing industry. Another example of a successful adaptation of a book is the Harry Potter series, which has seen its seventh book being turned into two movies; the jury is still out on whether the films will surpass the books in popularity, but it is apparent that they have made billions of dollars, made J.K Rowling one of the wealthiest women in the world and encouraged a large chunk of the population to read the books.
Turning great novels into films might not be hugely popular with fans of literature but one big plus point of doing this is that the books get a great deal of publicity as a result and encourage many people to read that otherwise may not have been interested. With so many children's books, science fiction books and fiction to browse online, you're bound to find that book which encourages you, your friends or your children to read.
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