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Upcoming Book to Screen Adaptations 2024: Bringing Our Favourite Novels to Life

By Holly Butterfield, Imogen Bristow, Brittany Holness and Gemma Mathers

Book-to-screen adaptations are hardly a new trend. For as long as the industry has been making films, they’ve been making adaptations – whether you knew it or not – starting with fairy tales, such as Cinderella, or Shakespeare plays, such as King John, which date back to the late 1800s. Into the Golden Years of Hollywood, the 1930s and 40s brought plenty more classic adaptations from Gone With the Wind in 1939 to Rebecca in 1940. 

Years later, little has changed. Transforming a beloved book into a visual and auditory medium has long enticed viewers, generating box office sell-outs and mass media intrigue. Take, for example, The Hunger Games trilogy, which impressed a fanbase of dedicated readers in 2012 and re-seated us in cinemas for its prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, last year. Another hit was HBO’s Game of Thrones series adaptation, produced for eight years. Both franchises gained mass popularity due to their captivating production value and edge-of-your-seat plots while staying somewhat true to the original writing. 

From the publisher’s perspective, selling production rights to film agents is a high-risk, complicated process with potentially lucrative results. Screen adaptations can completely transform the status of both author and publisher. Not to mention, films adapted from books produce 53% more global revenue than original screenplays, so production companies benefit too. These contracts are highly attractive as there is a guaranteed audience: readers, who love seeing their latest book fixation played out, and non-readers, who can enjoy stories in a medium they are comfortable with.

Plenty of recent and upcoming adaptations have book lovers waiting in anticipation to see if the stories they hold dear to their hearts are brought to life the way they had always imagined. Recently released season three of Bridgerton on Netflix saw the adaptation of Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn, the hotly awaited tale of Penelope and Colin’s love story. Part one was released mid-May, with fans having to wait until mid-June to see the conclusion of this season. Wicked by Gregory Maguire is another example that many are anxiously waiting for. Before the Broadway sensation, there was the novel. Now fans wait to see this movie musical adaptation starring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo in what is sure to be one of the year's best releases. 

Finally, we cannot talk about book-to-film adaptations without mentioning It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover. The TikTok-famous book has been in production for a long time, with filming delays due to the recent strikes. This novel has a massive fanbase, many of whom are already dubious of several deviations that the book is set to take from the original text, such as the age of the characters. Starring Blake Lively and Justin Baldoni, It Ends with Us will be out in August, so fans won’t have to wait much longer. 

There is often a recurring issue of fans of books not believing the movies or shows delivered or matched up to the book. After years of reading a book or series and using imagination to create each scenario, it is often disappointing when these adaptations fall short. Adaptations make mistakes with the intended audience in several ways, ranging from massive changes to issues like casting. Often, these media adaptations become more akin to derivatives rather than a movie or TV show created to represent these book series due to drastically different scripts with changes to the plot and characters. This is not typically what the audience desires since the adaptation is so unlike the source material. Many longtime fans can feel alienated, which can lead to the whole series being disenfranchised, such as in the case of the first Percy Jackson adaptation. 

There are several scenarios where the fans are extremely pleased with the adaption and eager to see what happens next, only for the show or movie series to be cancelled despite a large fanbase. The adaptation could have no faults, yet in today’s industry, which is heavily reliant on streaming services, there might be no saving that favourite watch. Time and time again fans have petitioned streaming platforms to pick up a recently dropped series to save it. In some cases, it just wasn't the right time for that adaptation. In the past, several original adaptations have fallen flat, like Dune and the Percy Jackson TV show. Their remakes have taken over and become popular hits. Sometimes, there are script changes, or seeing an actor or actress that fans love embodying their favourite character and clearly understanding the role is just what was needed.

Ultimately, there are so many books we’d love to see come to the big screen. For example, more diverse fantasy stories like Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights and Hafsah Faizel’s We Hunt the Flame. There have even been some calls on TikTok for an animated series of Sarah J. Maas’ ACOTAR. This year has seen some great adaptations already, like The Image of You by Adele Parks and We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter, solidifying that there’s always more to be found in books and literature, and sometimes they make the greatest base for a film or a TV show. One thing’s for sure: book-to-film adaptations aren’t going anywhere, and no matter your taste in film or literature, there’s likely to be something that suits your tastes. 

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Jun 06

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