The short answer is no.

The longer answer is Berkson’s Paradox/Fallacy applies.

The even longer answer is explained in this video from Hannah Fry and Numberphile:

Comparing the book to the movie has been a long-standing blog topic of mine, which made this maths video pretty cool*. I’ve since developed a category list that relates to what Hannah discussed in the video about what gets made into movies.

  1. It is very unlikely that your novel will be published.
  2. It is very unlikely that your published novel will be optioned to be made into a movie (or TV show).
  3. It is very unlikely that the movie adaptation will actually be made.
  4. Most movies are average, so it is very unlikely that the movie adaptation will be above average.
  5. If the movie is above average, it is very unlikely that the movie will bear any resemblance to the book it was adapted from.
  6. Pointless arguments will ensue from the previous two points.

The Metacritic vs Goodreads analysis mentioned in the video is interesting and worth a read.


*As always, I’m working from a definition of cool that includes the nerdy stuff I like.**

**Did you know that cool has always been cool?***


*** Well, unless you use Ngram Viewer to check Google Books for word usage over time like some sort of nerd…

Ngram Cool

6 thoughts on “Are good books made into bad films?

  1. I have had a long-standing debate with my fiancee about movie and books. Let’s be honest, even mediocre books are better as books. I love books, movies not so much. I like original movies that are not from books. I don’t like stolen ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is hard to look at 10-20 hours of entertainment and say, “Yeah, I can turn that into 2 hours” without losing anything. And that’s without the limitations of the two mediums causing issues with adaptation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Adaptations typically do not follow the book. The cast is bad, the script is worse, and the setting, terrible. I loathed all the Stephen King movies. I will NEVER watch the Gunslinger because I’ve read it and I know the movie absolutely abandons the book in every way. I’ve been disappointed more times than not.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I started this series of Book vs Movie because I had read The Bourne Identity and watched the movie, and wondered why they bothered paying for the rights.

        I can’t remember which post I discussed it in, but apparently screenwriters brought on to do adaptations are often given very little time to produce a draft. So they literally don’t read the book and may not have anything other than the studio notes to work from.

        Liked by 1 person

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