Category Archives: To the Big Screen

Certain books have the potential to take the leap to To the Big Screen. Maybe it was the plot. Maybe the appealing personality of the main character.

In this category, I will write about those stories that are going to be adapted into movies. Or have already been.

I will consider what made them successful. Why there considered being a movie, and what made them at made them so special in. I will also tell you the differences between the book and the movie in case they are.

This is a way to know if you should watch a movie. Or also, to know about the novel that inspired such movie. Who knows?

Fablehaven movie

Will Fablehaven become a movie?

Fablehaven is a bestselling series composed of five books written by the American author Brandon Mull. This series is addressed to children and has a sequel series called Dragonwatch which is currently being written. This fantasy story is published in more than 30 foreign languages, a successful series no doubt. As a result, a lot of fans are asking why isn’t Fablehaven a movie coming out?

Are there Fablehaven movies?

Whenever a book series starts selling well this draws the attention of Hollywood. Making a movie adaptation of a bestseller novel is a great way for a studio to ensure they have a big audience that will, as long as your adaptation is decent enough, watch their production. 

As a result, producers option the movie, that is, a particular producer company pays the author in exchange to make sure nobody else can make the movie (for a set period of time). Then, lots of steps ( screenwriting, choosing a director, etc…) and decisions to take that may lead the movie to be produced or not.

In the case of this series, the rights to Fablehaven were purchased by Schaffer Studios in 2012. During that time it was even said that the Studios had teamed up with Brandon Mull on the Project. However, as of 2019, there is no Fablehaven movie.

When will Fablehaven the movie come out?

So far there is no news that a Fablehaven movie will come out. In case this changes, this article will be updated showing the release date.

Don’t you think it would be great if Fablehaven turned in a movie? hope there is good news soon!

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The golden Compass film

Why was the Golden Compass film series canceled?

The Golden Compass film series is a movie adaptation of Phillip Pullman’s bestselling series His Dark Materials,  one of the most popular series among children. Despite having such a huge fanbase the first movie of what was supposed to be a multimillionaire project didn’t meet the expectations. The Golden Compass flopped and the sequels were canceled, but why? was the movie that bad? or there was something else? What if I told you this movie was boycotted and this meant in one way or another that The Golden Compass film sequels were never filmed?

The Golden Compass box office numbers

Let’s take a look at The Golden Compass box office numbers first, the movie had a budget of $180 million, an amount that is significantly higher than most of the big fantasy productions. Most of the fantasy movie adaptations have a budget that is usually less than $150 million, that is the case of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ($125 million), Percy Jackson: Lightning Thief ($95 million) or The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ($93 million).

Despite the huge budget of the film, the Golden Compass box officed $372 million. Yes, it recouped its production costs but such numbers were way far from the expectations. The film was produced by New Line Producers, a production company that had just had a huge success producing The Lord of The Rings directed by Peter Jackson.

The Golden Compass film cast

  • Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra Belacqua.
  • Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Coulter.
  • Daniel Craig as Lord Asriel.
  • Sam Elliott as Lee Scoresby.
  • Eva Green as Serafina Pekkala.
  • Clare Higgins as Ma Costa.
  • Charlie Rowe as Billy Costa.
  • Christopher Lee as the Magisterium’s first high councilor.
  • Tom Courtenay as Farder Coram.
  • Derek Jacobi as the Magisterial emissary.
  • Simon McBurney as Fra Pavel, a Magisterial agent.
  • Jack Shepherd as master of Jordan College.
  • Magda Szubanski as Mrs. Lonsdale.
  • Edward de Souza as the Magisterium’s second high councilor.
  • Paul Antony-Barber as Bolvangar Doctor.
  • Jason Watkins as Bolvangar Official.
  • Jody Halse as Bolvangar Orderly.
  • Hattie Morahan as Sister Clara.

So many good stars here isn’t it? Why wasn’t the Golden Compass a success? let’s take a look at the critics.

The Golden Compass film reviews

Here are the scores of The golden Compass Film at two of the most popular  review-aggregation websites for film and television:

Metacritic Score: 51.

Rottentomatoes Score: 42.

Not the best score to be honest, the critics’ consensus in Rottentomatoes says the following

Without the bite or the controversy of the source material, The Golden Compass is reduced to impressive visuals overcompensating for lax storytelling

We will get to the controversy later. Let’s focus on the rest, the visuals were actually pretty good in fact, but the film didn’t follow the original source, lots of scenes were not included in the film or were markedly changed.

These changes were obviously not well received by the fans of the books, but they were not the only one weren’t fond of the movie… there was some controversy.

The Golden Compass controversy

Let’s get back to the books, the world of His Dark Materials is dominated by the Magisterium, a powerful church might resemble too much to the Catholic Church. The Magisterium is a malevolent abusive organization that will not hesitate to resort to torture or even murder.

As you might have realized,  because of this resemblance to such a fictional evil organization some Catholic groups were not fond of Phillip Pullman’s story. In fact, the novelist has been accused several times about using his most notorious work, His Dark Materials, as a way to criticize religion and especially Catholicism.

The producers of the movie, being aware of this issue, tried to soften this version of the Church as well as not focusing as much on religion (despite the fact that both were key themes of the novels).

The director, Chris Weitz, said that the Magisterium portrayed in the film would represent all dogmatic organizations. Such decisions were not well received neither by the fans of the novels or anticensorship groups, but New Line Cinema wanted to make sure their adaptation would move away as much as possible from having the antireligious tone that His Dark Materials novels have.

Was this enough? No.

The Catholic League called for a boycott of the Golden Compass

Despite the attempts of the producers and the director to soften the religious theme of the adaptation the Catholic League called for a boycott.

The League president acknowledged that the Golden Compass film adaptation was not so focused on religion, and it was true,  both religion and God (“the Authority” in the books) were not be referenced directly during the film. Even so, he said the film would encourage children to read the novels promoving so atheism for children.

Here you have an excerpt of the call for a boycott:

The Catholic League is calling for a boycott of “The Golden Compass”; the movie opens December 7. It is based on the first book of a trilogy titled, His Dark Materials.

The author of this children’s fantasy is Philip Pullman, a noted English atheist. It is his objective to bash Catholicism and promote atheism. To kids. “The Golden Compass” is a film version of the book by that name, and it is being toned down so that Catholics, as well as Protestants, are not enraged.

The second book of the trilogy, The Subtle Knife, is more overt in its hatred of Catholicism than the first book, and the third entry, The Amber Spyglass, is even more blatant. Because “The Golden Compass” is based on the least offensive of the three books, and because it is being further watered down for the big screen, some might wonder why a boycott is warranted.

The Catholic League wants Christians to boycott this movie precisely because it knows that the film is bait for the books: unsuspecting parents who take their children to see the movie may be impelled to buy the three books as a Christmas present. And no parent who wants to bring their children up in the faith will want any part of these books.

We are launching a major educational campaign designed to alert the public to Pullman’s game plan. To that end, we have prepared a booklet, “The Golden Compass: Agenda Unmasked.” It contains snippets of what reviewers have said about the film and the books, as well as revealing comments made by Pullman himself; it also contains a synopsis of the trilogy. In short, the booklet is not what we are saying about Pullman’s work—it is what he and others have said about it.

You can see the full document here.

Was the boycott effective? is this the reason there are not The Golden Compass film sequels?

According to New Line Cinema, the sequels had been placed on hold because of financial concerns during the global recession (this was in 2008). However, the actor Sam Eliott ( Lee Scoresby  in the movie) stated the following:

 The Catholic Church … lambasted them, and I think it scared New Line off.

On the other side, Philip Pullman said that the sequels would not be made due to the first film’s disappointing sales in the United States.

We can’t know how many people didn’t go to the theatres to watch the Golden Compass because of this call for a boycott. Even so, in a sort of way, the boycott was effective: he fact that New  Line Cinema decided to change the plot and soften the religious theme of His Dark Materials made it less appealing for the fans, also, given that the subsequent books are even more driven into religion this might have made New Line Cinema think it was financially too risky.

Hope you found this article interesting. Did you watch The Golden Compass? do you think The Golden Compass film sequels should have been filmed?

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spiderwick chronicles 2

Spiderwick Chronicles 2: this is why there was never a sequel

Did you Watch The Spiderwick Chronicles movie? A feature film of the book series by the same name written by  Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black.  How come Spiderwick Chronicles 2 never came out? This is why Spiderwick never had a sequel.

If you are willing to know if you should read this series, remember we have this Spiderwick’s books introduction for you.

A bit of info about the film: who plays in the Spiderwick Chronicles?

The Spiderwick Chronicles movie was released in 2008. The film was directed by Mark Waters and cast Freddie Highmore playing the main role of the Grace twins.  Sarah Bolger played Mallory Grace, Simon and Jared’s older sister.

Budget

The budget of The spider Chronicles film was $90 million, a similar amount to other big productions of other fantasy book adaptations. This fantasy adventure film is a production by Nickelodeon movies that was distributed by Paramount Pictures.

Filming location

For those who were wondering where was The Spiderwick Chronicles filmed, it was in Montreal and Quebec (Canada).

How well did The Spiderwick Chronicles film in the theatres?

This adaptation grossed $162.8 million, which means it had good results. Similarly, the film was well-received by both the audience and the critics, more specifically, Freddie Highmore was praised by his performance, being able to play the role of the twins Simon and Jared.

Seems like the audience went to watch The Spiderwick Chronicles and not only that. They loved it. As usual, let’s take a look at the score this movie has in some well-known review-aggregation websites.

Rottentomatoes: 80%.

Metacritic: 62.

As you see, it was well-received by the critics. Where is Spiderwick 2 then?

Spiderwick chronicles 2

We have seen entire franchises being canceled for different reasons: filming rights, bad results at the theatres or even being subject of a boycott campaign. However, this is not so for Spiderwick featured films.

The original book series is five books long. However, the producers decided to cover all the events in a single movie. As a result, this is why there is not Spiderwick chronicles 2, the basic overall plot is told in a single movie.

In summary, for those who were wondering how many movies of the Spiderwick Chronicles series the answer is only one. Therefore, no Spiderwick 2, no need for a sequel after all.

What did the authors think about the movie adaptation?

This is what one of the authors, Tony DiTerlizzi, said about the film:

The filmmakers did a great job of adapting the stories. I got to witness firsthand what goes into making a film and understood many of the changes from the source material. The screenwriter couldn’t jam everything from all five books into one film. It would have been really long, and really expensive. Perhaps one day the studio will re-examine it as a television series.

Similarly, Holly Black seemed to like the film also:

I liked it a ton. I thought Mark Waters did a great job directing and that Freddie Highmore and Sarah Bolger played the kids pitch-perfectly. They really seemed like the characters from the books. I was also extremely happy that the faeries seemed organic and a little bit frightening.

Is the Spiderwick Chronicles on Netflix?

Additionally, for those who want to watch The Spiderwick Chronicles full movie online, you are lucky. This movie is available on Netflix.

So here it is, the mystery of why  Spiderwick 2 was never filmed is solved. However, there are lots of complimentary books in this series, do you think they would work as a sequel?

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Chronicles of Narnia movies

This is what happened to The Chronicles of Narnia movies

The Chronicles of Narnia is a classic of children’s literature. Its movie adaptation was produced by Walden Media and Walt Disney Pictures (except for the last film), but of the seven books of this series, only three of them were adapted into movies. Why? This is what happened to The Chronicles of Narnia movies:

The Chronicles of Narnia is a best seller series written by the British author Clive Staples Lewis. This series is composed of seven books, all of them published during the 50s. These books have sold over 100 million copies and have been translated into 46 languages.

This series takes place in Narnia, a magical place in which animals can talk and mythical beasts are real. The Chronicles of Narnia narrates the story of a group of children that are transported to Narnia, being called by the Lion Aslan so they can help to protect Narnia from evil.

How well did The Chronicles of Narnia movies do?

One might think that given that only three out of seven Narnia books were adapted into movies maybe their box office was not good and therefore they were not profitable. Was it that so? Let’s see how each of the Narnia box office performance:

  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005). Directed by: Andrew Adamson.  Budget: $180 million. Worldwide box office gross: $745 million.
  • Prince Caspian ( 2008)  . Directed by: Andrew Adamson. Budget: $225 million. Worldwide Box office gross: $419 million.
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010). Directed by:  Michael Apted . Budget: $155 million. Worldwide box office gross: $415 million.

The reviews

As you see, The Chronicles of Narnia movies did more than well at the theatres. Maybe it was because of the critical and public response? Word mouth is really important in this kind of movies, so let’s take a look:

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Rotten Tomatoes: 76% Metacritic: 75.

Prince Caspian: Rotten Tomatoes: 66% Metacritic: 62.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Rotten Tomatoes: 49% Metacritic: 53

The scores are pretty good, even the last movie The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, has a somehow decent score. If it was neither a matter of grossing or public response how come the next installment, The Silver Chair, had never a movie adaptation?

Disney’s decision to dump Narnia films

While The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and its first sequel were co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures, this wasn’t so in the third movie. Disney decided not to coproduce the third movie in the series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, this lose of interest was never fully explained, but Disney said it was due to budgetary and logistical reasons.

Why did Walt Disney decide not to finance The Voyage of the Dawn Treader?

This is just an assumption, but it may be a financial decision: just notice how the numbers of Prince Caspian are not so far from the box office gross achieved by the first movie. Specifically, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe grossed $291,710,957 in North America while  Prince Caspian grossed $141,621,490. Similarly, worldwide office gross of the prequel is way lower than the first one.

So maybe Disney had just seen this box office decrease as a warning and decided not to coproduce the second prequel. Were they right? Well, it is true that The Voyage of the Dawn Treader grossed $104 million in North America, but given that the worldwide box office gross worldwide was $415 million, the figures are only four million below its predecessor movie.

But if Warner coproduced the third movie why did they stop releasing Narnia movies?

In 2011, Walden Media’s contract of the series’ film rights expired in 2011. In 2013, The Mark Gordon Company acquired these rights and entered into an agreement with the C. S. Lewis Company to produce an adaptation of the next installment, The Silver Chair. It was not until 2017 when it was announced that Joe Johnston would be the director.

However, in October 2018, a different announcement was made: Netflix and the C. S. Lewis Company had made a multi-year agreement to develop a new series of film and TV adaptations of The Chronicles of Narnia. As a result, Narnia movies would not continue, The Silver Chair film has apparently been canceled instead having a tv adaptation.

So this is the story why Narnia movies were canceled, did you expect such an outcome? Don’t forget to comment!

If you liked this post, you will surely will like this about the reason Percy Jackson’s movie adaptations flopped.

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Best streaming services

Best video streaming service for Fantasy Fans

What is the best streaming video service for a fantasy fan? With the arrival of so many video on demand companies, it is difficult to know which of them will be the best one for us. Choosing which streaming service fits best your liking is getting more and more complicated isn’t it? It’s not even only a matter of money, even though being charged monthly fees for enjoying several of these services can be a bit expensive, but also, these companies provide so much content that it gets difficult to know what to watch!

Video on demand is winning the match to over-the-air programming method. There is no wonder why, users prefer being able to watch movies and tv shows whenever you want (as long as you have enough bandwidth to watch it) instead of a scheduled broadcast time.

The best streaming video service for a fantasy fan

Let`s focus on Fantasy fans now. Lots of tv series are based on fantasy books, after the success of Game of Thrones, the amount of Fantasy tv series is increasing like crazy. Which of these streaming video services will have more appealing shows for a fantasy fan? Let’s see:

Amazon Video

Logo

Amazon is included in Amazon Prime, so for 99 dollars per year, you get unlimited access to both Amazon Music and Amazon Prime Instant Video, besides to free two-day shipping on your purchases and a free Kindle book each month. This service has a wide content selection, but what about fantasy? Let’s see what can Amazon provide to Fantasy lovers:

Good Omens

An adaptation of the novel of the same name by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Good Omens tells the story of the angel Aziraphael and the demon Crowley, longtime friends who will try to prevent to prevent the destruction of the Earth during the Armaggedon, the final battle between hell and heaven.

Upcoming Amazon tv series

Lord of the rings

A tv series set in the world of Lord of the Rings but taking place in the Second Age, the era when the Rings of Power are forged and Sauron rises. This web series has the biggest budget ever in the history of television, so stay tuned because it will be huge!

The Wheel of Time

An epic fantasy story based on the book series written by Robert Jordan (and finished by Brandon Sanderson). Given that The Wheel of Time is composed of 14 books, there is a lot of material for this tv series.

Conan the Barbarian

Another version of the story written by Robert E. Howard. Given that Jason Momoa’s Conan film didn’t do so well maybe this series can serve as a good alternative.

Netflix

Netflix logo

Netflix is the most popular streaming video service, having more than 150 million subscribers worldwide, it has a great optimized interface, good recommendation services. On the other side, titles come and go frequently and it’s a bit expensive compared to other options. This platform offers massive content, having an amazing selection of tv shows, films and also original programming. In terms of fantasy, Netflix has the following fantasy tv series:

Shadow Hunters

A  fantasy drama television series following the story of  Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara) and based on popular book series The Mortal Instruments written by Cassandra Clare. This tv series was canceled after three seasons, but the story was concluded with two additional episodes.

Outlander

Based on Diana Gabaldon’s book series of the same name. This historical romance tv series already has four seasons with 55 episodes and the fifth season is set to premiere in 2020.

The Last Kingdom

The Last Kingdom is a  historical fiction television series and is an adaptation of  The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell. This historical fiction tv series premiered on BBC but then Netflix was the sole producer of the third season.

The Shannara Chronicles

A drama tv series based on The Sword of Shannara trilogy by Terry Brooks. The Shannara Chronicles was canceled after two seasons

Also, the following tv series are coming to Netflix in 2019

The Witcher

A tv series based on the novels of the same name written by the Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The Witcher will star Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia. If you want to know more about the upcoming The Witcher series check this post.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

This series is a prequel of the film The Dark Crystal which was released in 1982 and was directed by Louis Leterrier. 

Chronicles of Narnia Series

A tv series based on the books by C.S Lewis. A reboot of this saga that didn’t do as well as expected at the theatres.

Hulu

disney

Hulu is a cheaper alternative  As a counterpart, even with a paid subscription, you have to watch commercials. Funnily, in march 2019 Walt Disney acquired 21st Century Fox and has the 67% of the equity of the company, that is, Disney controls now Hulu. As a result, Hulu will be used as a streaming brand for general entertainment nonrelated to Disney Studios.

The interesting thing about Hulu is its potential: by controlling Hulu now Disney owns the rights of lots of new material such as the movie rights of Percy Jackson. See what this could mean?

Vampire Chronicles

A story based on the novel series of the same name written by Anne Rice that follows the story of Lestat de Lioncourt, a French nobleman that turns into a vampire.

Queen of Shadows

A show that was supposedly produced by Hulu (no news since 2016) and is based on Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

HBO

Hbo logo

HBO is more than Game of Thrones. Not only it has some of the most epic series of all time such as The Wire or The Sopranos. The following upcoming fantasy tv series will get your attention for sure.

His Dark Materials

A reboot of this story written by Philip Pullman that flopped in the theatres, and now is coming as a tv series. Let’s hope it goes better this time!

Game of Thrones prequel

This tv series is set in the same scenario as Game of Thrones but it will take place thousands of years before the events in Game of Thrones. This means dragons will rule the skies of Westeros!

So, it looks like Amazon Video and Netflix are the ones with the most upcoming fantasy tv series. Which video streaming service will you choose?

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