Since the creation of cinema in the late 19th century, books have served as inspiration for films. Here are some great audiobooks available on Otto that were adapted to the big screen.
Long before there was TV or internet, literature was the main source of entertainment. Books, as we know today, have been around since the 15th century, when Gutenberg invented the printing process. So it is natural that filmmakers use literature as source material, especially when the book is a best-seller. Take Les Misérables for example. Originally published in 1862, Victor Hugo’s epic novel has been adapted to film countless times. If people like the story, they will go to the cinema, right? It’s not so simple.
Great expectations, greater disappointments
It’s a common practice in the publishing world to sell movie rights before a promising book is even published. That was the case with The Girl on the Train, whose rights were sold to Dreamworks in 2014, a year before it hit the top of New York Times best-sellers list.
But the fame that made the book a sure-shot for film producers didn’t live up to expectations. Even though it didn’t perform badly in the box offices, the film bombed with critics and disappointed fans for its shallow melodrama in place of the tense atmosphere of that made the book an instant hit.
Sometimes a book has several takes on the big screen, and still, none of the versions lives up to the source material. That’s the case with The Great Gatsby, which has been adapted to the big screen five times (and counting). Every version fails to capture the spirit of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic.
So, what does it take to make a good film adaptation of a great book? Well, if we knew the answer we probably would be working in Hollywood. 😂
Great Books That Inspired Great Movies
Contrary to the solitaire work of a writer, a film always results of teamwork. A good team alone do not guarantee good results – two of the Great Gatsby adaptations were big-budget productions with stellar casts. Sometimes all it takes is a good ensemble cast playing by the book (pun intended). That was the case with The Help, which tackles the delicate theme of racism in Mississippi in the 1960s. A faithful adaptation of the book, it was a box-office hit and won several awards, including the Octavia Spencer’s Supporting Actress Academy Award.
Not so common is the case of a movie that is considered superior to its source material. Blade Runner was the first film based on the books of Philip K. Dick. Released in 1982, shortly after the death of the author, it was a box-office flop and received mixed reviews. But it was a sleeper-hit, becoming a cult classic in the following years, and drawing renewed attention to K. Dick’s work. But while a brilliant creator of worlds, the author is also known for his harsh writing style, leaving readers often disappointed.
But it’s not a matter of comparing apples and oranges. While sharing the same theme and characters, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Blade Runner are better enjoyed when you understand that they are different experiences. And the experience of reading a complicated book can become much more pleasant if you have someone reading the story to you.
The audiobooks of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, The Help, The Girl on the Train and Les Misérables are now available on Otto.