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Does Movie Adaptation Automatically Equal Success?

I’m out of reader questions to answer. I’d like to continue the idea of answering questions on Wednesday. If you have a question, please click here or leave a comment below. Otherwise, I will try to do my own ponderings.

Last week, I came across an article slamming a particular movie interpretation of a popular book. I have never had a book changed into a movie, although many have said they could see it done. Therefore, I started to place myself in that author’s shoes. Would I feel like a failure if the movie flopped at the box office?

I remember Stephen King discussing his stories. He said he hands the work over and prays they don’t mess it up. I think many can agree he has had wonderful adaptations as well as cringe-worthy ones. Most authors don’t contribute to movie scripts. In fact, the only movie I know of that even allowed the author’s input was the Harry Potter franchise. That is, until movie 4 or 5 when she finished the final book. Then they cut her loose and ran with their own ideas. There may be other movies that actually follow author input, but, as far as I understand, it is rare if it happens.

So, would it be enough to have a book taken for the big screen? Does that mark a success in the author category. Or does that success rely on how well the movie does? I know my personality well enough to speculate. I think, for me, even if I have nothing to do with the adaptation to film, I would still take it personally if the movie doesn’t do well. I would second guess what caused the movie to flop: any changes made, how well the actors captured the characters, or if it was the work itself. I think it would be just as hard for me to see my story falter on the big screen as it would in book form.

Authors are entertainers at heart. We want our work read, seen and enjoyed. So, I sympathize with authors who have their books transferred to movies. But, speaking as an outsider looking in on this topic…I certainly would count the fact that the work was selected in the first place as a huge success, no matter the outcome in ticket sales.