The Best Movie Franchises Based On Books, According To Ranker

2022 looks set to be another massive year for book-to-screen adaptations, with everything from small properties like Heart stroketo huge like power rings and Dragon House coming this year. Of course, that’s nothing new, as the books have led to everything from one-time box office bombs to massive movie franchises.

The publishers for private soldier rounded up some of the best book-based movie franchises and left it up to fans to decide which deserved the top spot. While fans could probably guess at some of the top ten, they’ll probably be surprised by a few of the franchises that made it to the top and several popular adaptations that didn’t.


ten Franchise Shrek

Fiona carrying Shrek to the swamp

Many fans might not even know this was based on a book. the new yorker cartoonist William Steig wrote and illustrated the picture book Shrek! in 1990, which followed Shrek’s adventures around the world and his eventual marriage to an ugly princess.

RELATED: 20 Things You Didn’t Know About Shrek

Turning the children’s book into a movie was an incredible success, leading to three sequels and a Broadway musical. Although some changes were made to the original story, such as eliminating Shrek’s parents and adding depth to his wife, fans will be happy to know that Donkey was, in fact, part of the book. Steig could never have imagined how far his little picture book would go, but he would have liked the adaptation and certainly liked what he did for his book sales.

9 Die Hard Franchise

die hard, bruce willis, john mctiernan

Fans can stop arguing over whether or not die hard is a Christmas movie because comparing it to its book counterpart is much more interesting. The film is based on the 1966 book Nothing lasts eternally by Roderick Thorp, which is actually the second book in his series.

The film’s thriller elements fit well with the book’s plot, but the protagonist (named Joe Leland, not John McClane), is actually fighting to save his daughter, not his estranged wife. While some of the action scenes and dialogue are taken straight from the book, moviegoers will be shocked by many of the book’s darker elements. Now, four sequels later, it’s hard to believe that so many major films came from a little-known book.

8 Franchise Labyrinth

The maze runner The series is widely known for being an adaptation of the popular five-book series of the same name, and while it missed the golden age of YA adaptations by a few years, it has some popularity in its own right. So far, only the first trilogy of books has been adapted for the screen, but Disney has announced plans to continue the franchise.

Benefiting from its later release, the series avoided many of the worst YA Dystopias tropes, making it well worth reading and watching after the YA craze of the late 90s to early 2010s. cinematic is fairly faithful to the plot and characterization of the books, so there’s no need to debate whether the books or the movies are better.

seven James Bond Franchise

Pierce Brosnan is James Bond's most tragic actor

The character of James Bond has a whole literary history, beginning with twelve novels and several short stories by Ian Fleming, before being taken up by several other writers up to the present day. While the early films stay true to the books, later films focus more on the composite character than a single story.

RELATED: 10 Movies That Got The Essence Of James Bond Right

The great thing about Bond is that he can be anyone the writers need him to be, a fact that allows the character to have been played by seven different actors to date. The most consistent thing about the character between the books and the movies is his ability to change, with completely different writers, actors, and directors all working together to portray one man’s life.

6 The Hobbit Franchise

Bilbo Baggins and Thorin Oakenshield

The Hobbit The series is based on the book of the same name by JRR Tolkein. The book is extremely short compared to most of Tolkien’s work, which made it so surprising that the filmmakers needed three films, totaling nearly eight hours, to bring the book to the big screen.

Although there was a previous anime adaptation of the book, director Peter Jackson really wanted to take advantage of The Hobbitthe status of the Lord of the Rings prequel, causing him to add information from a variety of different works by Tolkien. However The Hobbit the movies deviated greatly from the original book, they tended to do so in a way that made the little book an epic on par with The Lord of the Rings, a decision that is still debated by fans to this day.

5 Franchise The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia the films were based on the seven-book series of the same name by C. S. Lewis. When adapting the books for the big screen, they started in publication order (rather than chronological order), adapting The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspianand Journey of the Dawn Treader.

Netflix has acquired the rights to the series and announced that he would make films and series inspired by the books, which may go further than the current film series. While the films released so far have largely focused on the Pevensie siblings’ adventures in Narnia, a larger adaptation would focus on Narnia itself and the many children who have interacted with it over the years.

4 Jurassic Park franchise

jurassic park visitor center scene with t rex

The jurassic park The series is one of the most twisted franchises, as the original book inspired the first film, but the film’s success later inspired the sequel and its cinematic counterpart. From there, there were four more sequels, a comic book series, and several video games that relied more on the overall concept than any specific written material.

While the books had a lot to say about society, the movies are best known for their awesome dinosaur battles. Although the social commentary was toned down over the course of the series, the franchise was groundbreaking for CGI and animatronics and is one of the most important cultural and technical film series to be made.

3 The Hunger Games Franchise

Hunger Games Mockingjay

Based on Susan Collins’ trilogy, The hunger Games The film franchise followed the popular YA trend of splitting its latest book into two movies, in one of the most successful examples of the trend. While there were certainly changes between the books and the movies, this is a hugely successful adaptation, capturing much of the horror and dark political implications of the books.

RELATED: 10 Things From The Hunger Games Movies People Often Confuse With The Canon Book

The film franchise celebrated its tenth anniversary this year and is still considered the best YA dystopia, prompting the release of the previous novel. The Ballad of Songbirds and Serpents and the current production of its film adaptation.

2 The Lord of the Rings Franchise

The posters of the three Lord of the Rings films

The first of many arguments the Lord of the Rings fans will face is whether they prefer the books or the movies. And while it’s possible to pick out every little detail and every minor character, it really isn’t worth it. The Lord of the Rings is probably the most definitive fantasy work ever written, and many fans believe the film adaptations have done the work justice.

The visuals are amazingly perfect and the movies hold their viewers from start to finish. Unlike many film franchises, which can tend to feel disjointed due to long production times, each episode of the series was filmed at the same time, making it a massive monolith more than a trilogy, similar to the original intention of the books.

1 Harry Potter Franchise

Harry Ron and Hermione study in Harry Potter

Despite the massive success of other book-to-movie franchises, no other franchise has defined an entire generation as Harry Potter did. The books sparked a massive boom in children’s literature, and the movies showed how powerful a children’s series could be in mainstream culture.

While the sequel plays The cursed childthe prequel film series fantastic beasts and where to find themand JK Rowling’s personal opinions cast a shadow over the series as a whole, there’s no denying the franchise is unlike any other.

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