Some of the best selling books that were made into movies have been phenomenal adaptations. Fans truly appreciate it when they get to see beloved characters and plots come to life. However, other books on film have completely missed the mark. Not every screenwriter or director is a genius, and not every story translates well to the big screen. Here’s a list of 9 best selling books made into movies that tanked at the box office.
1. He’s Just Not That Into You Was Better as a Book
The inspiration for this book came from a line in the TV series Sex and the City. Writers parlayed Miranda’s relationship revelation into a popular book of dating advice. They should have stopped there. Dragging He’s Just Not That Into You into a two hour movie with stereotypical characters, interlocking storylines and mixed messages just didn’t work. The film was panned by critics, earned a 41% on Rotten Tomatoes and sunk into well deserved oblivion.
2. In The Books Made Into Movies Genre, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Failed
A romantic World War II novel set in the Greek islands should have been great fodder for the big screen. However, the screen adaptation of the bestseller Captain Corelli’s Mandolin just didn’t work. To be fair, the film does capture the picturesque setting well (how could it not). But it just didn’t capture the complex and emotional storyline well. The distracting accents, thin characters, watered down violence and historical disconnect made this highly anticipated film an epic fail.
3. Twilight’s Adaption Was “Unintentionally Funny”
Sure, Twilight is one of the most successful vampire romance franchises ever, and both the books and movies were mega-hits. But box-office receipts notwithstanding, the audience felt that the movies didn’t quite capture the power, intensity or charisma of the story. There was something lacking in the chemistry between to two lead actors, even though they were a couple in real life too. Indeed, some even went so far as to call the series “unintentionally funny”. Luckily, teenage girls and housewives still flocked to the theaters to see Bella and Edward’s saga anyways.
4. Reese and Robert Couldn’t Save Water for Elephants on the Silver Screen
Water for Elephants has a romantic plot with a Depression era circus as the backdrop. Sadly, despite roping in Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon to play the male and female leads, the passionate chemistry of the novel didn’t translate on the big screen. Audiences were left disappointed after seeing this star studded film.
5. Tom Hanks Couldn’t Save This Book Adaptation
The Da Vinci Code was a best seller for author Dan Brown, but the film adaptation couldn’t keep up with all the plot twists and turns. The movie garnered uniformly negative reviews and a 25% rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Even Tom Hanks couldn’t save it.
6. The Great Gatsby Neglected the Plot
You would expect a movie about the Roaring Twenties to be a visual spectacle, and director Baz Luhrmann certainly made some stunning artistic choices to transpose this American classic on film. But perhaps Baz put a bit too much emphasis on style over substance. Fans loyal to Fitzgerald’s novel felt it didn’t capture the “vibrant heart” of the plot and the contemporary music soundtrack was distracting.
7. On The Road Lacked Inspiration
The book may have been the defining text for the Beat generation, but film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s classic was very disappointing. Lacking the inspiration and energy that the book had, the film received mostly bad reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a paltry 44%.
8. Anna Karenina Lost It’s Passion on the Big Screen
Tolstoy’s superb work is also one of his longest, spanning 800 pages. There have been many film adaptions of this Russian classic, but few have been able to do justice to the rich and layered (and long!) storyline. Granted, it’s hard to condense it all into two hour film. The latest attempt by Joe Wright failed to develop the epic romance. Even the capable cast of Keira Knightley and Jude Law couldn’t capture it.
9. The Cat in the Hat Failed in the Box Office
You’d think the Dr. Seuss classic The Cat In The Hat had a built-in audience of fans when it hit the big screen. With affable Mike Myers in the title role it should have been an instant success. However, the film was a bomb and even kids didn’t connect with it. It was panned for its lack of humor and quickly forgotten about.
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