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Tolkien adaptations blow Rowling out of the water


25th Jul 2021 Meet the Author

Tolkien adaptations blow Rowling out of the water

The Hollywood film industry boasts an impressive track record of taking great written stories and turning them into hugely successive movies.

Popular franchises such as The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are notable examples of books that have spawned huge hits on the silver screen.

However, while both series have featured movies that have grossed more than $1.1 billion at the box office, it is fair to say that public reaction to them has been mixed.

Betway Casino recently took a look at the most successful book-to-film adaptations and discovered that  J.R.R. Tolkien has plenty to crow about.

All three of The Lord of the Rings films featured in the top five of the most popular movies adapted to books, according to IMDb ratings.

The Return of the King (8.9) and The Fellowship of the Ring (8.8) were ranked second and third, while The Two Towers (8.7) filled fifth spot.

Forrest Gump (8.8) was rated in fourth place, with the magnificent The Shawshank Redemption (9.3) standing head and shoulders above its rivals.

While Harry Potter films hold three of the top 10 spots in the list of highest grossing film adaptations of books, the money generated by them has not translated into critical acclaim.

None of the Harry Potter movies feature in the top 10 best-rated film adaptations, which suggests that people have been left disappointed by the JK Rowling inspired series.

Of the seven films, Prisoner of Azkaban and Deathly Hallows received a rating of 7.9, with the remaining five all producing lower scores.

One factor that perhaps comes into play is that movie sequels and series often prove to be disappointing, with filmmakers struggling to replicate the success they enjoyed with the first film.

For example, many people view The Hangover as a modern classic, but the two subsequent follow-ups have been widely derided by critics.

That point can undoubtedly be transferred to the ratings of the film adaptions of books. Of the 10 most popular films on IMDb, seven are standalone releases.

The aforementioned The Shawshank Redemption is deservedly at the top of the rankings, despite originally flopping at the box office.

Adapted from a Stephen King short story, the movie struggled to compete with Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump, but has since been recognised as a cinematic masterpiece.

King would probably have been unsurprised by the initial flop, with the legendary author famously disliking most of Hollywood’s attempts to adapt his books.

However, he has subsequently admitted that The Shawshank Redemption is one of his favourites and the IMDb ratings certainly back up his view point.

The argument for one-off book adaptations finding favour with movie watchers is further hammered home by the remainder of the top 10 most popular films.

The Green Mile, A Clockwork Orange and Shutter Island are ranked 6-8 in the list, with A Beautiful Mind and No Country for Old Men rounding off the top 10.

Although The Lord of the Rings bucks the trend slightly, filmmakers would be well-advised to stick to standalone releases if they plan on adapting a book into a movie.

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