From Print to Screen: Hollywood Turns to Books for Movie Inspiration

Friday’s release of “The Hunger Games” is so close that fans can practically taste Peeta’s Cinnamon Bakery bread and apple-smoked grosling.

“The Hunger Games” follows Katniss Evergreen as she and her loved ones struggle to survive under the tyrannical power of the Capitol, an advanced and rich city that has 12 districts under its power. Gone is the America that we know now.

Each year the Capitol holds an event called the Hunger Games where a boy and a girl from each district run is entered into a raffle. If picked, the contestants compete against each other, and only one can emerge as the victor and will reap the benefits of more food for their family. In certain districts food is a commodity for their residents.

Katniss volunteers herself as a tribute when her little sister is picked, and the first book covers her battle to survive in the 74th annual Hunger Games.

The craze surrounding the March 23 release of the movie has been compared to those around the “Harry Potter” series and the “Twilight” movies.

Naturally, one thing that these three movies have in common is that they are all based on books. Books have become the rough drafts of movie screenplays, and authors are evolving to become more like screenwriters.

Movie adaptations of books have been happening for years. Many movie directors have been lauded for being faithful to the books and their movies have achieved great success in the box office and the critics’ book.

“Apocalypse Now,” written by postmodernist writer Joseph Conrad, follows a Vietnam War veteran who goes into Cambodia on an assassination scheme. The movie, starring Martin Sheen and directed by one of the famous screenwriters behind the cult classic “The Godfather” Francis Ford Coppola, impressed the audience and Hollywood. Veteran film critic Roger Ebert said in a review: “’Apocalypse Now’ achieves greatness not by analyzing our ‘experience in Vietnam’, but by re-creating, in characters and images, something of that experience.”

However, there is a double-edged sword to a book-based movie’s success; it can also plummet at the box office.

“Green Lantern,” a film inspired by the “All-American Comics” character, received unfavorable reviews. Critics didn’t think the movie, which was about a man who comes to possess a ring that acts both as a weapon and a shield, was directed well. Even Ryan Reynolds, the title character, couldn’t save the film.

Despite these two outcomes, one thing is sure: book followings usually make for a wider range of audience. More viewers equate to more revenue.

In the list below, you’ll find other books that have been or will be adapted into movies.

As for “The Hunger Games,” adapted from Suzanne Collins’ book, may all the odds be ever in the movie’s favor.

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”

Release Date: June 22, 2012

Notable actors: Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper

When you think of Abraham Lincoln, naturally you’ll associate his name with vampires. Well, maybe not now – but when this movie comes out in June, you will! The 16th President of the United States finds out that vampires are invading his grounds, but he will have none of it. Vampires, meet Lincoln the slayer, a creation by Seth Grahame-Smith from his novel.

Trailer:

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

Release Date: September 12, 2012

Notable actors: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller

Because the movie is also directed by the book’s author Stephen Chbosky, there probably won’t be a problem with staying true to the original plotline. “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” star Logan Lerman plays a shy and book-loving high school freshman who eventually strikes up an friendship with two seniors Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller). It’s a coming-of-age novel that explores drugs, sex, and other eccentric parts of life.

Contributed Photo

Release Date: March 15, 2013

Notable actors: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin

Right now, the release date seems to be far away, but it will surely be worth the wait. Science fiction fans credit this book as one of the most well-written dystopian novels in history. Its author, Orson Scott Card, remains an idol of sci-fi fans. “Ender’s Game” follows a young genius named Andrew “Ender” Wiggins, played by “Hugo” actor Asa Butterfield, who is recruited by a military school in space and eventually trained to battle against alien invaders that are heading to earth. Some of the storyline will also include parts from “Ender’s Shadow,” which is the parallel novel to “Ender’s Game.”

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