Books at the Movies

movie book

Poor Hollywood. So much pressure to make back their enormous budgets, but there’s no formula (whatever execs may think) to a surefire hit. With so much money on the line, it’s no wonder that the movie studios are turning to another source for their scripts. After all, if they find a book with millions of fans, that’s gotta translate into millions of ticket sales, right?

This week, I’m going to look at a few movies in the theater now or coming soon, and we’ll rate them on a  Lord of the Rings (universal love) to Twilight (strictly for fans).

Suicide Squad – Obviously, this one is the biggie on the list. I don’t know how it will play out in terms of ticket sales, but no studio releases a comic book movie strictly for box office. It’s all about the merchandise. Now, it is any good? Beats me. I am not a fan of the Joker, or of Jared Leto, or of Batman especially. I do feel strongly that the Harley Quin/Joker dynamic is seriously messed up. This one is strictly for fans, and for older teens/Millenials. Suicide Squad

Ben-Hur – This is such a safe choice for Hollywood. Both a remake and based on a movie, with chariot scenes and hot looking dudes with their shirts off. Are they going to emphasize the Christian setting of the book? Will they push the gay relationship that was more hidden in the original film? I really like that they have multi-cultural cast. I’m planning to see this one. Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace – the Kindle is only 99 cents.

Jason Bourne – Just saw this today. This popular series is based on a series written by Robert Ludlum. However, Ludlum only wrote 3 books, and I only made it partway through the first. It was boring, and one thing you can’t do as a thriller writer is bore your readers. IMO, the movies are better, and this newest one is solid. Matt Damon really is Jason Bourne, and as long as they keep writing scripts that keep him front and center, I’ll keep watching. Definitely high on broad appeal.

The Ninth Life of Louis Drax  by Liz Jensen- I’d never heard of this one until I started working on this article. The book is about a weird kid who has weird things happen to him on his birthday, until he winds up locked in a coma. The movie sounds like it follows the same story. I didn’t recognize anyone in the cast and I’m not sure it sounds like something I would like, so make up your own mind on this one.

Bridget Jones’s Baby – Helen Fielding’s best known character is back. I have to admit, I’m not a big reader of chick lit, but I did enjoy the first movie. I’m really hoping this one does well too. Women in their 40s do watch movies too, and we’ll watch more movies if there are movies we want to watch. Pretty simple. Not sure if this is based on one book or just on the character, but here’s the link: Bridget Jones’s Baby by Helen Fielding.

Snowden; The Queen of Katwe; Florence Foster Jenkins: The Inspiring True Story of the World’s Worst Singer – All of these movies are based on the stories of real people, but also on biographies of these people. Edward Snowden is the famous NSA whistleblower, and the script was based on  The Snowden Files by Luke Harden. I predict a lot of buzz, but not a lot of ticket sales. The Queen of Katwa is about a girl from the slums in Uganda who becomes a chess master and escapes poverty. It’s based on a book written by journalist Tim Crothers, and this one sounds like a winner to me. I doubt it will make a lot of money, but I predict some serious critical acclaim. The book is The Queen of Katwe. And finally, Florence Foster Jenkins, a real woman who was widely known (at the time) as being the worst singer in the world. There are several books written about her, but the movie seems to be based on a play, Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins.  Most of the books are just making fun of her, but the play and the movie both focus on the inspirational message of following  your dreams, no matter what anyone says. I would like to see this one too, but I’d be fine watching it at home. I think this one will have a slow build.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – This is the one that wants to be the next Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I mean, it’s got Tim Burton! It’s got other names too – Judi Dench! Samuel L. Jackson! Rupert Everett! Alison Janney! But movies are about more than names and directors. They need to be good. I’m pretty skeptical about this one. I thought the book was a disappointment and I don’t see how making it into a movie will improve things. However, lots of people liked the book, so I might be wrong. Kids are going to want to see it, and parents will assume that because it has kids in it, it will be appropriate family fare. I think it will make money, but I predict it will be sort of average. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

So that’s my list. What do you think? Which ones have I missed? What are you excited for? Let me know.


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