Impact Of Book Publishing On Film Industry

Impact Of Book Publishing On Film Industry

  • Films based on books make up 70% of the top 20 grossing films worldwide.
  • On average, films that are adapted from books generate 53% more revenue than original screenplays globally.
  • Analysis of book-to-screen adaptations shows that Fiction titles as part of a series tend to be the most successful adaptations.
  • Following the release of a film based on a book, publishers can expect a boost in income from additional book sales.
  • In the four weeks that followed the “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” movie, its book sales more than tripled over the previous four weeks, with 956,700 units sold.
  • Film adaptations provide the biggest boost to a book’s Goodreads popularity, increasing the number of ratings by over 1,000%.
  • Between the years of 2007 and 2016, films adapted from books grossed $22.5 billion globally.
  • Authors are able to receive a significant amount of income from the success of a book-to-screen adaptation due to film rights, additional book sales and further publicity.
  • The Tolkien Trust sued for £75 million in 2008 claiming that they hadn’t received any income from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The case was settled privately outside of court.
  • Although Scholastic owned the US publishing rights to Harry Potter, they didn’t generate any money from the film series directly. 

Source material for English-language movies

  • A study of movies from 1968 – 2002 showed that in total, books provided 35% of the source material of English-language movies.
    • Of these book sources, Novels and other fiction made up a total of 33%.
    • Non-fiction books made up 2%.
  • Original material made up 54% which was the highest percentage of the source materials. 
  • Other sources including plays, comics and video games corresponded to 11%.
#1Original material54%
#3Other sources (eg: plays, comics, video games)11%
#4Other fiction (eg: short stories)5%

A graph is given below to show the source material percentage for English-language movies:

Highest grossing movies based upon books

  • “Jurassic World” (2015) is the highest ranked movie based upon a book, grossing $1.67 billion worldwide.
  • “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II” (2011) is the second-highest ranked movie based upon a book, grossing $1.32 billion worldwide.
  • “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (2018) is the third-highest ranked movie based upon a book, grossing $1.31 billion worldwide.
  • Eight movies based upon books have managed to gross more than $1 billion worldwide.
RankTitleYear releasedGross worldwide
#1Jurassic World2015$1,669,963,641
#2Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II2011$1,316,278,261
#3Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom2018$1,308,323,302
#4The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King2003$1,120,210,896
#6Jurassic Park1993$1,045,573,035
#7Alice in Wonderland2010$1,025,491,110
#8The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey2012$1,014,938,545
#9Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone2001$965,043,494
#10The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug2013$959,358,436

A graph is given below to show the top 5 highest grossing movies based upon books:

Highest grossing movie series based upon books

Fiction books within a series tend to generate the most success when it comes to adapting movies from books. Some of the highest grossing movie series of all time such as J. R. R Tolkien’s “Middle-earth”, Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” and Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” are examples of this.

  • Movies based upon J. K. Rowling’s “Wizarding World” have grossed $9.66 billion worldwide, making it the highest grossing movie series based on books.
  • The series has been adapted into 11 films, with a gross worldwide average per film of $877.81 million.
  • Movies based upon Ian Fleming’s “James Bond” have grossed $7.83 billion worldwide, making it the second-highest grossing movie series based on books.
  • The series also produced the highest number of films (27) in the list.
  • Movies based upon Michael Crichton’s “Jurassic Park” have grossed $6 billion worldwide, making it the third-highest grossing movie series based on books.
RankSeries titleNumber of filmsGross worldwideAverage gross per film
#1Wizarding World11$9,655,855,269$877,805,024
#2James Bond27$7,832,963,216$290,109,749
#3Jurassic Park6$6,003,607,760$1,000,601,293
#6The Twilight Saga5$3,346,157,056$669,231,411
#7The Hunger Games4$2,968,191,442$742,047,861

A graph is given below to show the top 5 highest grossing movie series based on books:

Average movie audience critical rating by source material

  • A 2018 study found that movies based upon literary sources had an average audience critical rating of 66%. 
  • Movies based upon comic books had the highest audience critical rating, at 69%.
  • The lowest audience critical rating was for movies with original source material, at 62%.

Impact of film adaptations on book sales

  • For the four week period that followed the movie release of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, its book sales more than tripled over the four weeks previous, selling 956,700 units.
  • The Martian” movie helped its book achieve 62,000 weekly sales in the days following its release. 
  • The book also topped the New York Times fiction bestseller list for three weeks after the film’s release.
  • In the week prior to the film release of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, the book had a sales increase of 738% when compared to the three previous months. 
  • The book sold 57,000 copies in the week that followed the film’s release.

Impact of book publishing on film industry FAQ

Why are books often adapted into movies?

  • Books are often adapted into movies as there is a lower level of risk involved in its success. 
  • Due to the book it follows, the film should connect with audiences as it has a pre-existing fan base. 
  • In recent years, fans have been able to utilize social media to share information between themselves, improving the chances of film adaptations becoming a success.
  • By working in this way, production companies can also save resources as the movie plot does not have to be created in-house.

How much do authors earn from movie deals?

  • The amount authors make from movies greatly depends on their rights agreements. 
  • Movie rights are often optioned rather than purchased outright until the producer can obtain a sufficient budget to create the movie. 
  • A standard option contract could be around $15,000 for three years, although this can vary greatly.
  • The contract is usually negotiated directly by publishers and agents, who look to charge between 15% and 20%.
  • If option deals expire, movie rights can be re-sold, generating more money for authors, publishers and agents.

What are the highest prices paid for book movie rights?

  • Often, details of movie rights deals are not disclosed. However, the following films were sold for confirmed values:
    • The Da Vinci Code: $6,000,000
    • Harry Potter (first four films): $2,000,000
    • Jurassic Park: $1,500,000