Many of the best (and for that matter worst) films in cinematic history have come from original screenplays — scenarios conceived specifically for the screen — but they’ve always been drawn from other genres, too, either directly or by way of inspiration. Plays, comic strips, graphic novels, magazine stories, songs, and video games have all spawned movies. But no other source has yielded as many films as books.
The earliest known adaptation of written literature into celluloid was a 45-second scene called “Trilby and Little Billee,” based on George du Maurier’s best-selling novel “Trilby,” filmed in 1896. Shorts based on works by Charles Dickens, Jonathan Swift, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Brothers Grimm, among others, followed. The first feature-length adaptation (actually four shorts combined into a feature) was a 1909 interpretation of Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables.”
After that, it was open season on literary properties as far as filmmakers were concerned. James Bond was born between book covers. So were Hannibal Lecter, Frodo Baggins, and Katniss Everdeen. Such cinema classics as “Gone With the Wind,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Godfather,” “Schindler’s List,” and of course the Harry Potter series (among many, many others) all came out of books. (See every Harry Potter movie ranked.)
To determine the books becoming movies in 2022, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a list of book-based feature films at least tentatively scheduled for release next year according to IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon. Information about the books themselves came from Goodreads and other online review sources. Graphic novels were not considered. (For a look at some possible future film adaptations, check check out the most anticipated books that came out this fall.)
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