Statistics from Static Brain show that book franchise revenues are usually, significantly, lower than its movie franchise counterparts. The statistics also show that adapted movies surpass original works in the box office, for example, The Big Short, 2015 Oscar winner of Best Writing: Adapted Screenplay is currently surpassing, in revenues, Spotlight, 2015 Oscar winner of Best Writing: Original Screenplay, at the box office.
According to The Numbers, in the last six years, four of the top grossing movies have been adaptations based on books or graphic novels which include Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (2011) and The Avengers (2012).
The graph below shows the percentage of movies released based on movie sources in the last six years. Original screenplays make up the majority, in every year, with an average of 51.21% while books and graphic novels, combined, make up an average of 15.75%.
Out of the top 20 grossing movie titles in 2015, 10 of them were based on books or graphic novels such as The Revenant and Avengers: Age of Ultron, both award-nominated films. Only seven were from original screenplays.
Even with fewer titles in circulation book adaptations manage to produce more revenue. Hollywood is not lacking for great original screenplays. In fact, the highest grossing movie in 2015, Star Wars Ep. VII, was sourced from an original screenplay. So why do movie adaptations seem to be racking up at the box office? Answer: Hollywood knows how to capitalize on fan’s love for books and its characters.
Avid reader, Alexis Wright, believes that movie adaptations have, “an advantage because they have a fanbase…I’m not saying the original screenplays aren’t good enough, I just think we’re invested in characters and we have to see if they’ve done it correctly…it’s nice to see your imagination playing out on the big screen.” Hollywood knows no matter how good or bad the movie is, its fans will support.