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10 Best Book-to-Film Adaptations of All Time

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It comes as no surprise that some of the highest-grossing movies in history are film adaptations of popular or award-winning titles. The stories are so compelling and entertaining that it makes perfect sense that they would make successful screenplays.

Here are ten of the best book-to-film adaptations of all time based on popularity, reception, cultural impact, and ticket sales:


  • Harry Potter series


It was inevitable that J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series would turn into equally successful movies. Book sales and movie sales are almost equal as the book series earned $7.7 billion while the film grossed about $8.5 billion, including the latest installment, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.


  • Mrs. Doubtfire


The 1993 movie Mrs. Doubtfire starring Robin Williams grossed $441.29 million worldwide. But did you know that it was based on the book “Madame Doubtfire” by British author Anne Fine?


  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy


The Lord of the Rings is an epic fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkien published in 1954. The story was released as three movies starting with The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001. It followed with The Two Towers and The Return of the King. The three installments would not only gain a pop culture following of epic proportions but grossing close to $1 billion each.


  • The Princess Bride


Domestically, the Princess Bride grossed $30.86 million. It surprises many to learn that the movie developed by the 1973 book of the same name written by William Goldman.


  • Jurassic Park


The Jurassic Park franchise has grossed a little under $5 billion at the worldwide box office with the first in the series earning $1 billion alone. But before Jurassic Park became the phenomena that continues to release movies 25 years after the initial installment, it was a novel written by Michael Crichton.  


  • Forrest Gump


Many don’t realize that before there was a Forrest Gump movie starring Tom Hanks, there was a Forrest Gump book written by Winston Groom. The novel released in 1986 and the movie hit theaters in 1994. While the story only sold an estimated 30,000 copies, the film grossed an incredible $677.9 million worldwide.


  • The Hobbit Trilogy


While J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit first, The Lord of the Rings was adapted into movies first. Due to their massive success and the public clamoring for more movies based on Tolkien’s epic novels, The Hobbit Trilogy released. The Hobbit films would add another $2.91 billion to the franchise.


  • The Hunger Games


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a trilogy that adapted into a 4-part movies series. The Hunger Games earned its spot as one of the highest-grossing film franchises with ticket sales of over $2.9 billion worldwide.


  • The Twilight Saga


Worldwide, the Twilight Saga based on the four novels by Stephanie Meyer grossed $3.3 billion.  The vampire-themed fantasy novels were a huge success, winning multiple awards including the 2009 Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Book. By 2011, the series has sold over 120 million copies.


  • Shrek


The animated movie Shrek grossed a whopping $484.41 million worldwide. Its sequel Shrek 2 picked up more than $919 million. Shrek was based on a 1990 children’s picture book titled “Shrek!” by William Steig.

Are you an author of a YA fiction or children’s picture books? Your novel could be the next phenomenal book that gets adapted into a blockbuster hit! Check out Progressive Rising Phoenix’s new releases and read what could be the next book-to-film adaption.

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