Why does Hollywood keep making books into movies?

Why does Hollywood keep making books into movies?

Emilie Veazey (10th), Reporter

We appear to be in the midst of a high-profile book-adaptation era. Adapting a hit book isn’t a guarantee of success, just look at 2016’s The Shannara Chronicles on MTV. Hollywood is, more than ever, perusing bookshelves for inspiration for the next big show or Oscar-friendly movie. So what changed in the last decade? When did books become a foundation for popular film and television? And what does it mean for the future of Hollywood and book publishers alike?

Established popular books are a comparably faster and data-supported way for studios to develop film and TV plots. “It’s all about managing risk for the studios,” Hawk Otsby, co-writer of Children of Men and producer on Syfy’s The Expanse, explained in an email to The Verge. “It’s extremely difficult to sell a blockbuster original script today if it isn’t based on some popular or recognizable material…” Novels also provide variety in a crowded television landscape.

Shows such as The Man in the High Castle or Game of Thrones have introduced new types of stories to television. Working with the greater diversity of literary stories has allowed showrunners to differentiate themselves from an increasingly crowded field of prestige-television options, and to seek out specific sectors of a splintered viewing audience. There’s also a downstream effect. Most books don’t turn much profit for their publishers, a problem balanced out by the sales of a few exceptionally successful authors.

Every time a George R.R. Martin, J.K. Rowling, or Stephenie Meyer sells a book that spends weeks on the best-seller list, that helps hundreds of other authors at the same publisher in a number of smaller ways. In the rush to find new stories, Hollywood has recognized what science fiction and fantasy fans have known for years, there’s plenty of beloved material ripe for adaptation, sitting on shelves. While grumbling about crummy adaptations can still be heard here and there, there’s more enthusiasm and excitement among fans for seeing their favorite book turned into a television show or blockbuster film.

While not every book will be the next Game of Thrones-sized hit, it gets the novel out to a larger audience, who will hopefully turn to their local bookstore to read it first.