All great films comes from great writing — and many film franchises we know and love were books before they were movies. From "Harry Potter" to "The Hunger Games" and "Jurassic Park," these mega-blockbuster films have taken on a life of their own, but they all began on the page. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," Wonderwall.com has rounded up our favorite movie series that are based on books. Read on!
The magical "Harry Potter" film franchise is based on the incredibly successful seven-novel series about the eponymous boy wizard written by British author J.K. Rowling. Warner Bros. produced eight films centered on the colorful and fantastical life of Harry and his friends, teachers and the supernatural creatures that live in their world. The films helped launch the careers of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, who played the same characters over a span of 10 years. The "Harry Potter" phenomenon extends to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, located inside the Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure theme parks. We're pretty sure that's when you know you've really made it.
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"The Hunger Games"
Suzanne Collins authored the dystopian novel "The Hunger Games" in 2008, plus two sequels — "Catching Fire" in 2009 and "Mockingjay" in 2010. The first novel-to-screen adaptation of the franchise was released in 2012, with a sequel following suit in 2013. "Mockingjay" was split into two installments that landed in theaters in November 2014 and 2015. The stories follow female protagonist Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who lives in the fictional nation of Panem, which is split up into 12 districts based on social hierarchy. Every year, each district is forced to send a representative to compete in the Hunger Games — and they must fight to death. The first "Hunger Games" film broke records with its opening-weekend box office haul of $153 million, setting it up to be one of the biggest film franchises of this decade.
"The Twilight Saga"
Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner are the stars of "The Twilight Saga," a five-part vampire-werewolf film series based on a chain of novels by Stephenie Meyer. With the release of the first novel, "Twilight," in 2005, a cult following developed that led to the first film in 2008. Since then, four more fantasy romance movies have come to life. Fans have gone crazy over the protagonists, Bella (portrayed by Kristen) and Edward (portrayed by Robert) and their passionate, unconventional romance.
Many people don't know that the character Shrek wasn't purely masterminded by comedy star Mike Myers — it was actually a picture book written and illustrated by William Steig in 1990. The friendly yet curmudgeonly ogre first evolved into an animated big-screen superstar in 2001, and there are now four "Shrek" films, with a fifth reportedly in the works for a 2019 release. Celebs ranging from Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy to Justin Timberlake and John Lithgow have all voiced the lovable "Shrek" characters.
"The Lord of the Rings"
"The Lord of the Rings" is a mythological fantasy novel published by English author J.R.R. Tolkien in 1954. The story was a continuation of his earlier novel "The Hobbit," which was published in 1937. "Lord of the Rings" was re-imagined for the big screen in 2001 and under Peter Jackson's direction, it came to life again and again in sequels released in 2002 and 2003. The trilogy is set in the fictional world of Middle-earth and follows hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) as he and his fellowship embark on a journey to destroy the One Ring.
The ever-so-suave character James Bond was created by author Ian Fleming in his 1953 novel, "Casino Royale." Ian wrote 14 books featuring the spy and there are currently 39 in existence. From Sean Connery (pictured, right) and Roger Moore to Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig, many handsome Hollywood actors have played 007 in 25 Bond films through the years. The series focuses on an enigmatic British Secret Service agent who always beds the most beautiful women while he's out catching or killing the bad guys.
The book "Jurassic Park" was written by Michael Crichton in 1990 and was first adapted to film by legendary director Steven Spielberg in 1993. In the movie blockbuster, paleontologists tour an island theme park full of dinosaurs created from prehistoric DNA and mayhem ensues. The film won the 1994 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and proceeded to become a celebrated force in pop culture. There are five dinosaur-centric movies in the franchise so far.
"Fifty Shades of Grey"
The "Fifty Shades of Grey" franchise has become a pop culture phenomenon. The book, an erotic novel by British author E.L. James, came out in 2011. The second and third volumes of the trilogy were published in 2012. The story follows virginal college student Anastasia Steele, who falls for billionaire Christian Grey and is drawn into his dark, thrilling world of BDSM. A film adaption of the best-selling first book starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan was released in 2015, with a second film, "Fifty Shades Darker," following in 2017. "Fifty Shades Freed" is set for a February 2018 release.
"Divergent" is a Young Adult novel by Veronica Roth that was first published in 2011. Two more novels followed. The first installment of the sci-fi film franchise it spawned took flight in 2014, with sequels arriving in 2015 and 2016. The series focuses on Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), a teen who lives in a futuristic world where society is divided into factions based on particular qualities. After disappointing box office numbers for the franchise's third movie, "Allegiant," a decision was made to develop the next installment into a "Divergent" TV show to finish the story — but Shailene has said she will not be involved.
"Alice in Wonderland"
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" is an 1865 fantasy novel by Lewis Carroll that tells the story of a girl named Alice who trips and falls down a rabbit hole, landing in a fantasy universe with a ton of now-iconic anthropomorphic creatures. The Disney media franchise based on the book began in 1951 with the release of the animated film "Alice In Wonderland." A live-action movie of the same name, directed by Tim Burton, was released in 2010, and sequel "Alice Through the Looking Glass," directed by James Bobin, came out in 2016. Both of the modern films starred Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter, among others. There have been countless iterations of the franchise in American culture for decades, from video games to theme park rides and stage plays.
"Planet of the Apes"
"Planet of the Apes" began with French author Pierre Boulle's 1963 novel "La Planete des Singes." The book was first adapted for the screen in 1968 and spawned a series of sequels, comics and toys. The franchise focuses on a literal planet run by anthropomorphic apes who have full governing power over humans. There are eight films in total including the most recent, "War for the Planet of the Apes," which hits theaters in July 2017.
"The Chronicles of Narnia"
"The Chronicles of Narnia" is a series of famed children's fantasy novels by C.S. Lewis set in the fictional domain of Narnia, a world of mythological talking creatures. The first film in the franchise was released in 2005 and followed the most famous of the books, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Sequels followed in 2008 and 2010.
"Diary of a Wimpy Kid"
"Diary of a Wimpy Kid" is a Young Adult comedic cartoon novel about an outsider named Greg Heffley. It was written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney. All of the books — 28 in total — are journals that tell the story of the main character's experiences from elementary school to middle school. The books were the basis for four films released from 2010 to 2017.
"Percy Jackson & the Olympians"
"Percy Jackson & the Olympian" is a film series based on the eponymous mythological adventure novels by Rick Riordan. The page-to-screen adaptations follow the life of teenager Percy (Logan Lerman), who learns that he's the son of the Greek god Poseidon. Percy learns to channel his powers and embarks on endless adventures. There are six books and two films.
Disney's "Snow White" media franchise is based on the German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. The first movie, the animated "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," appeared in 1937 and "Snow White and the Huntsman" — a darker, live-action retelling of the tale — was released in 2012 and starred Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart. Other lower profile Snow White-based films came out in 1987 and 1997. As the story goes, Snow White is a beautiful girl who takes refuge in the forest house of seven dwarfs who help hide her from her stepmother, the Wicked Queen.
"The Maze Runner"
"The Maze Runner" is a Young Adult dystopian novel written by James Dashner in 2009. The book was adapted for film in 2014 and 2015, with a third movie in the franchise due in February 2018. "The Maze Runner" is about a teenager named Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) who finds himself in a giant labyrinth with no recollection of who he was before he arrived there. He and his fellow lost kids are always looking for a way out.
"The Da Vinci Code"
"The Da Vinci Code" mania swept the country in the early aughts. Dan Brown's 2003 best-selling novel was made into a 2006 thriller directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks as professor Robert Langdon. The story centers around a murder in Paris' Louvre Museum that prompts an investigation and subsequent discovery of an incredible religious mystery. Two more novels in the series, 2000's "Angels & Demons" and 2013's "Inferno," were also adapted into films.
The "Bridget Jones" films, starring Renee Zellweger, tell the story of a fictional 30-something British woman whose romantic trysts always seem to be as hilarious as they are heartbreaking. There are three books in the series by Helen Fielding and three films to match.
"Silence of the Lambs"
There are five films and one TV series in the franchise inspired by "The Silence of the Lambs," the book written by Thomas Harris as a sequel to his prior novel, "Red Dragon." They are both about cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. "Silence of the Lambs" won five Academy Awards in 1992: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Actress (Jodie Foster) and Best Screenplay.