Books the the Big Screen — So, what’s next?



Killing time before a recent screening, I ducked into a Big Box Book Store and found myself stopping short at the vast collection of fiction and graphic novels bundled near the entrance.

With every given week carrying news of some new deal that Marvel/Disney or DC/Warner Brothers or not-to-be-left-out-Fox has made, some fresh comic book property on its way, the mind reels as the eye wanders over titles.

In comic book terms, Den Of Geek has listed 69 titles (and counting), with “Doctor Strange” leading the way and a sea of sequels to earlier films close on its heels. “Bloodshot”? That’s a new one on me.

Interviewing the fellow who wrote “Men in Black” and the creator of “Surrogates,” to say nothing of Frank Miller, Robert Rodriquez (“Sin City”) and Zack Snyder (“300,””Watchmen,” “Batman v. Superman”) long ago disabused me of the mistaken and widely held notion that comics/graphic novels are easily adapted because the narrative, characters and zingy one-liners are already in storyboard form. But “Sin City” and its ilk seemed to prove the contrary. They ARE easier, because the storyboards ARE already done for you.

But the reason we’re seeing a sea of such titles is because so few comic book/graphic novel adaptations bomb. They’re money in the bank. Why? They’re branded, pre-sold to a ready-made audience that knows the title/characters/basic plot.

No, there’s no new “Lord of the Rings” out there, beloved by generations. The closest thing to that, the C.S. Lewis “Narnia” books, ran out of gas pretty quickly.

The recent abandonment (more or less) of the cut-and-paste YA (young adult) ripoff series “Divergent” suggests Hollywood has realized that as yet, it has no replacement for “The Hunger Games,” with even “The Maze Runner” series not coming close to the films that made Jennifer Lawrence famous.

Stephen King is back in the Big Picture game, thanks to “Dark Tower.” But for…how long?

Titles are always bubbling up as Hollywood is starved for fresh material, but what has this fall’s book to big picture buzz?


Care to bet on any of them? Over at they’re putting decent odds on the world suffering through another Nicholas Sparks adaptation.

“Mortal Engines” (by Philip Reeve) may be on Hollywood’s YA radar for a franchise.

Could there be interest in other Judy Blume kids’ books adapted for the screen?

I read mostly non-fiction, but would you bet that anybody would take another shot at a Hemingway biopic, another “Desert Fox” WWII ? If people will line up for a new Spider-Man every six years, why not?

Russell Crowe has lobbied, after his fall from grace, for Fox to leap back into the “Master & Commander” series by the late Patrick O’Brian. I remember his cheekiness when the first film came out. I asked Crowe if he’d signed on to do sequels, and he laughed like a man who had leverage and didn’t want to give any of it away. The leverage is long gone, but that series could easily, if expensively, brought back to life. Any chance of that happening?

Writers, especially these days, often get their first decent paycheck not from their publishers but from Hollywood (per Kate DiCamillo of “Because of Winn-Dixie.” She told me she bought a Mini Cooper with the cash). So they’re eager to sell.

Who can we turn up the buzz for, other readers out there in movie loving land? Any titles that leap to mind? Famous writers, new talents? Non-fiction? Comment below.



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