Movie/TV Odds: Which Books are Ripe for a Hollywood Adaptation?

Hollywood is running out of ideas so studios are quickly becoming bookworms and optioning whole libraries of novels.

That’s great news if you are an author with a unique story to tell. But keep in mind, optioning a book is not the same as actually filming the movie and putting it on screen. Similar to how you collected baseball cards back in the day, many studios hoard book rights to ensure they have creative fodder to choose from down the road. Often, they end up as nothing more than negotiating chips.

Using novels as the basis for a screenplay is obviously not a new phenomenon. Many of the earliest classics like Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz were books first. But it seems that the trend is growing (and it’s not confined to the big-screen, with many a novel being turned into TV series, as well). As we mentioned last year, part of the reason for the uptick is the huge spike in young adult fiction being translated to the screen. This year will be no different (although the whole dystopian future theme is getting stagnant, especially now that the dark future is already upon us. #Trump). For proof, look to the popular YA book Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, which is coming to theatres in 2017 and should be an instant hit.

Grown-ups – real grown-ups – have something to look forward to, as well, with The Dark Tower series, It, and Red Sparrow all getting the silver screen treatment this year, too.

What other books out there deserve to be adapted? After some careful research, I have revised our Next Book-to-TV/Film Odds.

Below are books from various genres that either already have some buzz or are perfect for a film studio to gobble up and put into production. Some of these novels may make better TV shows which you can binge watch, while others are probably better as a two-hour film.

Look at this as a list of books you should read so that, when they do get made into a movie, you can be that person who annoyingly says, “The book was so much better.”


Odds to be Adapted into a Movie/TV Series

Young Adult

Photo Credit: Holt, Rinehart and Winston

The Chronicles of Prydain – Lloyd Alexander: 2/1

Uglies – Scott Westerfeld: 2/1

Artemis Fowl Series – Eoin Colfer: 3/1

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time – Mark Haddon: 4/1

Looking for Alaska – John Green: 4/1

A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula K. Le Guin: 5/1

See Me – Nicholas Sparks: 5/1

The Pigman – Paul Zindel: 17/3

Seven Realms series – Cinda Williams Chima: 17/3

The Abhorsen series – Garth Nix: 17/3

Asylum – Madeleine Roux: 12/1

The Obsession – Nora Roberts: 15/1

Biography/Autobiography/True Stories

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident – Donnie Eichar: 1/1

Post Office – Charles Bukowski: 2/1

Redemption Song: The Definitive Biography of Joe Strummer – Chris Salewicz: 2/1

Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story – Carlos Baker: 3/1

Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles – Frank Brady: 17/3

The Land that Never Was: Sir Gregor MacGregor and the Most Audacious Fraud in History – David Sinclair: 9/1

The Battle for Aberdeen 1644 – Chris Brown: 9/1

Rommel: Desert Fox – Desmond Young: 19/1

Historical Fiction

Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy: 1/2

Photo Credit: J. B. Lippincott & Co.

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini: 1/1

Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison: 2/1

The Crying of Lot 49 – Thomas Pynchon: 3/1

The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai: 17/3

Nation – Terry Pratchett: 9/1

Netherland – Joseph O’Neill: 10/1

An Artist of the Floating World – Kazuo Ishiguro: 11/1

A Spear of Summer Grass – Deanna Raybourn: 12/1

Capital – John Lanchester: 15/1

Romance/Love

Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter: 1/3

The Engagements – J. Courtney Sullivan: 1/2

The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion: 1/1

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern: 2/1

Beautiful Disaster – Jamie McGuire: 2/1

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell: 17/3

The City and the Pillar – Gore Vidal: 12/1

Real (The REAL series) – Katy Evans: 19/1

The Trumpet-Major – Thomas Hardy: 24/1

Mystery/Crime

Photo Credit: Penguin Books

The Power of the Dog – Don Winslow: 3/2

The Cartel – Don Winslow: 3/2

Bleeding Edge – Thomas Pynchon: 4/1

The Secret History – Donna Tartt: 5/1

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d: Flavia de Luce: 6/1

City of Glass – Paul Auster: 10/1

The Big Blowdown – George Pelecanos: 14/1

Engleby – Sebastian Faulks: 30/1

Science Fiction

The Dune series – Frank Herbert/Brian Herbert: 1/2

MaddAddam – Margaret Atwood: 2/3

Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein: 2/3

Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson: 2/1

Neuromancer – William Gibson: 2/1

The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin: 9/1

We – Yevgeny Zamyatin: 15/1

The Eyre Affair – Jasper Fforde: 20/1

Code Breakers: Alpha – Colin F. Barnes: 50/1

Fantasy

Photo Credit: Doubleday Canada

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman: 1/3

The Wheel of Time series – Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson: 2/1

Gentleman Bastard series – Scott Lynch: 2/1

His Dark Materials – Phillip Pullman: 3/1

Mistborn series – Brandon Sanderson: 4/1

Damned – Chuck Palahniuk: 10/1

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami: 15/1

One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez: 24/1

Horror

A Certain Slant of Light – Laura Whitcomb: 1/2

The Replacement – Brenna Yovanoff: 17/3

Off Season – Jack Ketchum: 9/1

Abarat – Clive Barker: 10/1

Boy’s Life – Robert R. McCammon: 15/1

The Damnation Game – Clive Barker: 19/1

Chain Letter – Christopher Pike: 20/1

Strangers – Dean Koontz: 20/1

House of Leaves – Mark Danielewski: 25/1

The Cellar – Richard Laymon: 30/1

Hell House – Richard Matheson: 30/1

Comedy

Photo Credit: Penguin Books

Where’d You Go Bernadette – Maria Semple: 2/1

Sabbath’s Theater – Philip Roth: 3/1

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal – Christopher Moore: 4/1

The Corrections – Jonathan Franzen: 5/1

A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole: 17/3

Roger’s Version  – John Updike: 10/1

My Uncle Oswald – Roald Dahl: 15/1

The Sellout – Paul Beatty: 25/1

As She Climbed Across the Table – Jonathan Lethe: 25/1

Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace: 50/1

Literary Fiction

The Easter Parade – Richard Yates: 2/1

Imperial Bedrooms – Bret Easton Ellis: 3/1

The Ginger Man – JP Donleavy: 3/1

Paris Trance – Geoff Dyer: 17/3

The Interestings – Meg Wolitzer: 20/1


Feature Photo Credit: Alan Levine (Flickr)