“The book was better than the movie,” is a popular statement that is  frequently heard from avid readers while leaving the movie adaptation of their favorite novel. But why is it that readers find that the movie’s literary counterpart is better.

Rich Stantos, in his article 6 Reasons The Book is (Almost Always) Better Than The Movie, comes to the conclusion that readers develop their own vision of how a book should play out, but when that vision isn’t reflected on the big screen, disappointment ensues. This is likely true because it is impossible to incorporate every aspect of  a book into a movie.  Scenes and settings are changed. Minor characters are cut out. Transitioning from words to visuals can be a difficult task. How do you show a character’s inner thoughts or emotions visually?  The characters that you’ve grown to love aren’t depicted in the same manner that you imagined. So it is quite  understandable that a reader would find a book’s film equivalent to be lacking.

In recent years, Hollywood has seen major success with movie adaptations According to IMDB  26 titles for the 2015/2016 year will be book to film adaptations. Movie adaptation is not a new concept, but with this amount of films being produced, you have to wonder how much revenue these movies bring in and how they match up with sales of the book it was inspired by.

Below is a depiction of three of the most recent and popular book/movie franchises and their revenue comparisons. Each value is a quantitative account of  revenue gained by movie and book sales within the series.

With the exception of the Harry Potter franchise, the movie revenues drastically out weigh the book revenues. Does this mean that the old adage is false?  Is the movie in fact better than the book? Based off the sales you could certainly come to that conclusion, but you have to factor in the amount of publicity a movie gets compared to a novel. A movie can attract consumers who were not readers of the book which will increase sales.  Is it fair to compare a book to a movie when each offers different components?  A case can be made for each apparatus, but in the end the question is really opinion based and no amount of money can tell you what you prefer.

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