How are Books Made Into Movies?

Books Turned Into Movies

Discover how books make it to the big screen.

Some of the most popular films to date have been based on books — Gone with the Wind, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and The Chronicles of Narnia, to name a few. But how are these books made into movies? With thousands of new books published annually and millions more in the archives, there is no lack of content. For a book to be made into a movie, it must go through a simple, yet grueling process.

It starts with an option. Once they stumble upon a book that has the potential to be a blockbuster film, a production company or film studio purchases the rights to make that book into a film for a specific length of time (usually 18 months to two years). In a sense, the movie rights are “rented.” In this rental period, the production company gathers funds and resources to put the film into production.

Green means go. A film is “greenlit” when enough capital is raised to produce the project. The main characters are cast, the script is written, the director is hired, and a budget is determined. Authors typically receive 2-3 percent of the production’s budget, plus royalties.

A needle in the haystack. Just because a book is optioned doesn’t mean it will become a movie. Many authors can be stuck in “development hell” for years on end. If the option period runs out, the rights go back to the author. Hundreds of books are optioned by production companies and film studios, but only a select few make it to the theaters.


Books coming to the big screen in 2018:

Books With Movies

1. Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton – In theaters January 19

Recommended for adult readers.

2. The Death Cure by James Dashner – In theaters January 26

Recommended for readers ages 12 and up.

3. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter – In theaters February 9

Recommended for readers ages 3 to 5.

4. Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer – In theaters February 23

Recommended for adult readers.

5. Every Day by David Levithan – In theaters February 23

Recommended for readers ages 12 and up.

6. Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews – In theaters March 2

Recommended for adult readers.

7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – In theaters March 9

Recommended for readers ages 10 to 14.

8. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertelli – In theaters March 16

Recommended for readers ages 14 and up.

9. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – In theaters March 30

Recommended for readers ages 14 and up.

10. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple – In theaters May 11

Recommended for readers ages 14 and up.


Buy Books With Movies

This post was written by Megan Habel, the marketing associate at BookPal. She is currently reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

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