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?

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Mortal Engines movie will not have a sequel and here is why

Now that months have passed since it’s release it’s time to talk about a movie that turned out to be one of the major flops in film history. Mortal Engines, based on the novel of the same name by Philip Reeve.

A critically acclaimed book series becoming a box office bomb. How is that even possible? The Worldbuilding of Mortal Engines was a great basis, the story is intriguing. A great steampunk story (which is included in this Best steampunk novels lists). In conclusion, the source material is just excellent.

Then, what happened?

Mortal Engines expectations

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The first Mortal Engines movie, directed by Christian Rivers and released in the USA on December 14, 2018 was expected to be a success. And it made sense they thought so, for various reasons:

This post-apocalyptic adventure is based on the first novel of a best seller series

Of course, when your script is based on a best-seller, your grossing expectations will be way higher than also. Oppositely, there will be a more demanding audience and two different spectators to content: the readers, who expect a worthy adaptation of a world they already know about; and the ones who don’t know about the book series, who will be in need of a proper worldbuilding explanation. Sometimes it gets hard to get that balance, in bestseller movie adaptations being able to make everyone happy is not an easy feat.

Mortal Engines also relied on Peter Jackson’s popularity

Peter Jackson not only directed The Lord of the Rings movies but also these movie adaptations are on the list of the highest grossing fantasy movies of all time. Having such a persona supporting a project surely is a major asset.

Mortal Engines had Peter Jackson as a claim, even though he was not the film director but instead, his role was as a producer and co-screenwriter.

One of the book’s premise draws your attention: Predator cities

You might love it or hate it, but seeing cities moving and devouring other cities is striking no matter what.

Mortal Engines production budget was higher than $100 million

A similar budget to other big productions such as The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring with a Budget of $93 million or Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with a Budget. $125 million.

Given such favorable conditions, one would expect this movie adaptation to be a major success. Was it? Not at all.

Mortal Engines Box office

Mortal Engines grossed $83,614,964 worldwide ($16 million in the United States). As a result, this movie adaptation didn’t even recoup its production budget. Mortal Engines’ theatrical run was not precisely good, it flopped.

Mortal Engines was released alongside Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The Mule. Just so you can compare, Spiderman’s movie box office was $375.4 million with a $90 million Budget. Similarly, The Mule had greater results at theaters than Mortal Engines. This movie had a box office of $171.3 million with a $50 million budget.

So yes, people went to the cinema, but not to watch Mortal Engines.

Why did Mortal Engines movie flop?

A film can underperform for several reasons, sometimes the negative word of mouth or external circumstances, as would be the timing of the film’s release, are to blame. But this does not seem to be the case. True, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The Mule turned out to be more than worthy competitors. But Mortal Engines had so much on its favor it would be absurd to think its flop was mostly due to issues unrelated to the film itself.

The reason Mortal Engines  movie was a Box Office Bomb

Basically, Mortal Engines movie failed to deliver. The film adaptation turned off the spectators, the book fans weren’t satisfied, while the ones who didn’t know about the novels weren’t either.

A terrible trailer?

For some, it all started wrong, the trailer was not appealing at all. The general opinion was “The trailer looks terrible”. Given how important a good movie trailer is since it’s one of the main ways to attract an audience before the release of the film, things couldn’t have started worse.

Public objective

While the books are addressed to kids, the movie was more focused on a Young Adult audience. Some say the audience is a bit tired of dystopian, young adult book series after The Hunger Games or the Maze Runner movie adaptations.

The book’s premise might be misleading

While the concept of cities devouring cities might sound shocking, it can also seem a bit simplistic and absurd if it’s not properly explained. Which, I assure you, the book explains perfectly well.

Fans reception and Critics reception

No matter the source, the general opinion is the following:

Filmaffinity : 4.9/10.

Tomatometer: 26%. A bad review is denoted by a rotten green tomato splat (59% or less).

Metacritic: 44

As you see, the film did not rise to the challenge of its original source

Critic reviews

Here are some critic reviews of Mortal Engines movie:

“The story is bloated and, despite flashes of imagination, overly familiar. And the dialogue, peppered with well-worn catchphrase.” Washington Post

“Most of Mortal Engines is a wearying blast of CGI and genre-cribbing (most egregiously, director Christian Rivers hired composer Junkie XL to seemingly lift, wholesale, his soundtrack from “Mad Max: Fury Road”).”  NY Post.

Philip Reeves opinion

While other authors have complained about the movie adaptations of their novels, this does not seem to be the case of Philip Reeve. The author seems to be fine with the movie adaptation as he posted on  his official website.

The film has a kind of family resemblance to The Lord of the Rings movies, as you’d expect, but it’s shorter than any of those (about two hours, plus credits). It reminded me of the original Star Wars, too. It’s tremendously well paced; intense action sequences come at you pretty regularly but don’t hang around long enough to outstay their welcome, and they’re punctuated by quieter bits which are often surprisingly affecting.

This is not always the case, J.R.R Tolkien’s son (Christopher Tolkien) stated that Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations of his father’s work had “eviscerated the book”. Where the films that different from the books to make Tolkien’s son say this? Here you have Lord of the Rings book vs movie.

Similarly, Rober Riordan (author of Percy Jackson & The Olympians series) was not happy at all about the movie adaptation of his novels, a project that eventually got canceled. Percy Jackson’s author even posted the notes he had sent to the film producers and which they didn’t take into account and therefore: Here you have Lord of the Rings book vs movie

Will there be a Mortal Engines 2?

The second book in Mortal Engines series, Predator’s Gold, might never have a movie adaptation. Even though there has not been any official announcement regarding this issue, it seems pretty unlikely that Mortal Engines 2 will be released someday after the losses of the first movie.

Peter Jackson was asked about a Mortal engines sequel:

“I hope so. We have no idea. Because it is totally in the hands of whether the film does the business that would warrant more. But that is four movies I would love to see for sure. We have the first one, I would definitely love to see the first 3 for sure.”

It seems that having an entire movie adaptation of this steampunk tetralogy series is quite improbable. But who knows? Maybe a Mortal Engines sequel is still possible.

The books

Mortal engines book cover
Mortal engines book cover

For those who watched the movie and want to know how the story goes on, it is a great time to start reading the books. If you want to know in Which order you should read Mortal Engines here you have the answer: How to read Mortal Engines.

Even if you didn’t like the film, you really should give the book series a try. They are worth reading.

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The Wheel of Time tv series

Hello Wottareaders! A not long time ago I wrote about The Lord of the rings tv series produced by Amazon,  another fantasy series is being produced by Amazon Studios: The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. In this post, I will collect and update regularly all the info regarding The Wheel of Time tv series. This show is one of the strongest contenders to become the heir of Game of Thrones, will this tv show fill the void? let’s see.

What will The Wheel of Time tv series be about

This adventure fantasy tv series is based on Robert’s Jordan bestselling fantasy book series of the same name, the author sadly passed away due to a heart disease leaving the series incomplete. However, Brandon Sanderson (notorious writer and fan of TWOT series) concluded this saga in 2013 using the notes Robert Jordan prepared so another writer could complete his work.

The first season will be based on the first book of the series, The Eye of the World, this is a 14  volume saga (15 with the prequel volume, New Spring)  so there is a lot of material to adapt in the tv series. Also, the runtime of the episodes will be 60 minutes.

In this epic story, we will know about Moiraine, member of the Aes Sedai, searching for the Dragon Reborn. This is a world with magic, here casting spells being called channeling.

Production

This upcoming web television series will premiere on Amazon Prime Video, an Internet video on demand service owned by Amazon.  This epic fantasy adaptation is being produced by Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television.

The Wheel of Time filming location

The Wheel of Time production will start in September 2019 and it will be set on Prague as you can check on Productionweekly. The Czech Republic, located in Central Europe bordering Germany and Austria, has great filming locations that would fit perfectly with the medieval tone this book series has. Some examples of fitting locations would be the gothic style of the  Karlstein castle  (or Karlštejn Castle) located at the southwest of Prague or the gothic cathedral in Pilsen.

Since this series is still on production no official trailers have been released yet.  You will only fake or fan-made trailers on youtube and other video websites.

However, Rafe Judkins provided the names of some of the episodes. You can check a list of the episodes here.

Series cast

The casting of this series still remains as a secret. However, Rafe Judkins (check his IMDB here) is confirmed to be the head writer along as an executive producer and showrunner. You might already know his name if you are a fan of Agents of Shield since he is the supervising producer of that series. Rafe Judkins is an active Twitter user, in which he shares a lot of info about TWOT series such as snippets of the script or the names of some of the first season chapters.

He also shared this image, in which he sits with Brandon Sanderson so he could get his vision of The Wheel of Time. It’s always great to know that the writers are involved in the movie adaptations reading the scripts and giving feedback.  Sanderson stated he had read the first screenplay of The Wheel of Time tv adaptation and that it was really good.  Sometimes even with authors being involved the adaptations are not as similar to the original work as they should (just take a look at Ready Player One to prove this). Or also, remember what happened to Percy Jackson movies, even though the author warned the producers several times…

Wheel of time tv series release date

Since the tv series will not start filming until September 2019 The Wheel of time tv series is expected to come out in late 2020. The debut date is not yet confirmed.

News about Amazon The Wheel of Time adaptation

Brandon Sanderson, the author who completed The Wheel of Time, provided some info about this adaptation on Reddit. As you may know, Sanderson posts on Reddit using the nickname of Mistborn, honoring one of his most known works with the same name, you probably knew this already since Sanderson also posted on Reddit that he would not finish Game of Thrones in case George R.R Martin didn’t.

Here are some excerpts of what he said about this project:

“I found the mast majority of these decisions to be excellent choices–things that will give the show its own soul, but still in line with the feel and tone of the books. I can’t say for certain, but my instincts say the fanbase will in general respond to them positively. There are a few I offered suggestions on, and we’ll see.”

“I’m certain there will be polarizing decisions made by the team, but the changes are coming from a good place, and I really like most of them. And let me tell you, the first of the two scripts I read was sharp. Excellent dialogue, nuanced characters, great pacing. The second of the two was in a rougher shape, so while still good, obviously was still undergoing revisions.”

You can read the entire post here. Looks like Brandon Sanderson is satisfied enough with the direction the project is going, a good sign!

Stay tuned for more news about this upcoming tv series!

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His dark materials BBC tv series

Hello Wottareaders, today we are talking about Phillip’s Pullman famous saga: His Dark materials and its upcoming tv adaptation.   This is His dark materials  BBC tv series, and it’s coming out soon!

There is no better thing than showing, so here you have the Teaser trailer:

I have written recently about Phillip’s Pullman latest novel, The Secret Commonwealth. This is the second volume of The Book of Dust saga, an equel, as the author likes to call it, of His Dark Materials. If you want to know more about this upcoming novel just click here.

What will  His dark materials  BBC tv series be about?

As you know, the original series is a trilogy. So it is expected that each season will cover the entire series. That is, the first season will tell the story narrated in the first novel, The Golden Compass. The following books, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, would be covered in the subsequent seasons.

The first season will have eight episodes.  Even though it has not been aired yet a second season of eight episodes is confirmed.

Regarding the filming, the first season is already filmed. the official Twitter account confirmed it (see here).

Who is casting His Dark Materials BBC Tv series?

If you are wondering who is casting this adaptation, the entire cast is already revealed.  The actress Dafne Keen is cast to play  Lyra Belacqua,  Billy Costa will be cast by Tyler Howitt while Lewin Lloyd will cast Roger Parslow. You can check the full casting on the following IMBD link.

When will His Dark Materials be on tv? Release date

His dark materials  HBO tv series will be released later in 2019, so it will air this same year.

Previous adaptations

His Dark Materials has had a previous movie adaptation. Or, better said, the first novel, The Golden Compass (or Northern Lights depending on the country), had a movie adaptation. The movie is considered a flop, having a budget of  $180 million earning $372 million worldwide. Even though the movie recouped its cost, the grossing in the USA did not meet the expectations and as a result, the sequels were never made. As a result, this movie adaptation was not one of the highest grossing movie adaptations of all time, you can check which movie adaptations are honored with such achievement here.

There are high hopes for this BBC adaptation. Fans think this adaptation is true to the original material and expect it to be the proper movie adaptation this saga deserves.

 

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Highest grossing fantasy novel movie adaptations

Hello Wottareaders! Have you ever wondered which movie adaptation of a fantasy novel has been the most successful? probably some sagas come to your mind, isn’t it?  Well, here we are going to find the Highest grossing fantasy novel movie adaptations of all time!

Before we begin, a quick note: the following list is adjusted for inflation. That is, in order to provide a fair comparison this grossing is adjusted taking into account the increase of movie theater tickets adjusting all the movies to the same ticket price. Despite not being perfectly accurate, the results provide a piece of much more comparable information.

Why is inflation important?

Just so you can understand better how crucial this is, tickets cost $1.55  in 1970, while the average movie theater tickets were $9.11 in 2018. See that already isn’t it? If the same number of people watched a movie on those different periods, the 2018 movie would gross more even though the films had had the same audience number.  This is why it wouldn’t make sense to compare a movie released in different periods unless they have been adjusted for inflation to current prices.

Which is the highest grossing movie of all time?

No other than Gone in the wind, yes, the highest grossing movie of all time is based on a novel, written by Margaret Mitchel. The movie was released in 1939 and grossed  198.68M million, while if adjusted for inflation it grossed $3,703,000,000.

If inflation is not considered, the highest grossing movie turns out to be Avatar, released in 2009 and directed by James Cameron. Avatar grossed $2,787,965,087 worldwide. And, just in case you were wondering, Gone with the Wind wouldn’t even appear on the highest grossing movies if inflation was not taken into account.

Let’s see the Highest grossing fantasy novel movie adaptations of all time:

6.Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Chamber of secrets

Directed by:  Chris Columbus    Release date: 2002

Adjusted: ~1.375-1.4 Billion $

Real Worldwide Box Office: 879.0 Million $

Budget: 100 Million $

5.The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

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Directed by:  Peter Jackson     Release date: 2001

Adjusted: ~1.375-4 Billion $

Real Worldwide Box Office: 871.5 Million $

Budget: 93 Million $

4.The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The two towers

Directed by:  Peter Jackson    Release date: 2002

Adjusted: ~1.425-1.45 Billion $

Real Worldwide Box Office: 926.0 Million$

Budget: 94 Million $

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2

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Director: David Yates     Release date: 2011

Adjusted: ~1.55 Billion $

Real Worldwide Box Office: 1341.5 Million $

Budget: 150-200 Million $

2.Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone

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Directed by Chris Columbus  Release date: 2001

Adjusted: ~1.575-1.6 Billion $

Real Worldwide Box Office: 974.8 Million $

Budget: 125 Million $

1.The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

return of the king

Directed by:  Peter Jackson Release date: 2003

Adjusted: ~1.65-1.7 Billion $

Real Worldwide Box Office: 1119.9 Million$

Budget: 94 Million $

 

Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings last movie turns out to be the highest grossing fantasy novel adaptation of all time. How shocking is it that the highest grossing fantasy movies are only these two sagas? If you are curious about other movies grossing you can check it at IMDB. Now that the Amazon Lord of the Rings is on the way, it’s a great moment to watch the movies again!

Also, if you liked this article, you will surely like this one: Best selling fantasy novels of all time.

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Amazon Lord of The Rings TV series

Amazon is making a new adaptation of one of the best fantasy books of all time: The Lord Of The Rings.  LOTR defined high fantasy as we know it, Tolkien’s work defined the high fantasy genre (How did Tolkien influence literature? check it here). This saga is back, but this time on Prime Video.  Amazon Lord of the Rings will have five seasons and will have the biggest Budget in television history.

Lots of rumors to be answered: will Amazon Lord of The Rings tv series be a reboot? will LOTR characters make their appearance in this tv series? will Peter Jackson be involved in this project?

Lord Of The Rings has had previous adaptations, the most notorious being the movie adaptations by Peter Jackson (were these a good movie adaptation? check it here). At first, it was thought this tv series was going to be a remake, but Amazon already confirmed this would not be the case, this tv series will be centered on the Second Age. If this news were not exciting enough, Tolkien, the biographical drama film telling the story of J.R.R  Tolkien will be released on May 10, 2019.

How it all began

Everything began with this press release published on November 13, 2017. Amazon revealed that they had acquired the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings. This show will be Produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema. This upcoming show will be available on Prime Video.

The press release provided a lot of interesting info. It was Matt Galsor quote, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins, which proved to be the most revealing:

“Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings.”

Unexplored stories! That is, it is not a reboot, but this tv series will cover a different angle. So, despite being interconnected with the original novels and main characters, it will be a completely different storyline.

What will the Amazon Lord of the Rings TV series be about?

While at first rumors said that the first season would tell the story of a younger Aragorn, Amazon revealed on Twitter that this storyline will be set in The Second Age ( the Age of Númenor). That is, 3.441 years before LOTR events… as you might have guessed, this implies that practically none of the characters appearing in the original saga will make a cameo in this prequel since… well, they were not even born yet.

Not even Gandalf, who even though being one of the Maiar didn’t take his human form until the Third Age. However, there will be a quite relevant character who will make his appearance for sure later in this series. No other than the Maiar corrupted by Melkor, Sauron, since it is in this age when he tried to subjugate the Middle Earth. For those wondering, his defeat against the Last Alliance of Elves and Men put an end to the Second Age.

As you see, the  Second Age is deeply linked to Sauron’s fate. As a result, some the events that will be for sure introduced in this series will be the rise of Sauron, the forging of the Rings of Power and Isildur’s battle against Sauron.

Amazon Lord of The Rings release date and budget

Amazon Lord of The Rings will be released in 2021, the more optimistic say the release date will be in 2020. This Project is already known as the biggest budget in television history, being more than 1$ billion dollars.

Just so you can compare such numbers better, each chapter of Game of Thrones season seven cost 15$ million each (see here), as you see, LOTRs budget is huge even compared to Game of Thrones…

Cast in Amazon’s Lord of the Rings?

There is still no info regarding the casting. Also, for those wondering if Peter Jackson will be involved in this project: No. The director and producer confirmed he would not be involved in the project.

While Peter Jackson’s films were filmed in New Zealand, Amazon LOTR will be filmed in Scotland instead. This country has some of its locations featured in Avengers: Infinity War. Filming will start this very same year.

How has been this new Tv series received by the fans?

Such news as is a tv series based on Tolkien’s Word was received by the fans with great excitement. When this news hit the Internet the reactions by fans on all Social Media sites were overwhelmingly positive, they want to visit the Middle-Earth once more.

There is also a lot of concern, fans want this tv series to be huge! And don’t want this tv series to have excessive inventive adaptation and be exactly like J.R.R. Tolkien had envisioned it. This concern is more than understandable since it would not be the first time an adaptation does not meet the expectations, just take what happened to Percy Jackson movies

What about you Wottareaders? are you excited about this new Amazon Lord of The Rings TV series?

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