Some movie-going audiences might claim that the last 20 years of movies have been nothing but sequels and reboots. They’re not entirely wrong, but they are forgetting one major type of film: book to screen adaptation. Hundreds of films over the last two decades have been adapted directly from books (and comic books), especially for young adult audiences.
While book adaptations had been going on for years and years, the genre really boomed for young audiences when the Harry Potter series hit theaters. Since then pretty much every popular YA book series and romance novel has been turned into a film.
10 Harry Potter Series
By far the biggest and most successful book to screen adaptation is the Harry Potter series. After all the film franchise dominated the 2000s and the 2010s keeping fans engaged for years and years.
Over the years the film series, which was adapted from the book series of the same name, captivated audiences and broke records left and right. In fact, both Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Deathly Hallows Part 2 rank on the list of 50 highest-grossing films of all time. In addition, it helped launched the careers of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Ruper Grint.
9 The Fault In Our Stars
John Green’s fourth novel The Fault In Our Stars was published in January of 2012 and was already in development at Fox 2000 before the novel had even hit the shelves. Luckily for Fox, the novel became a best seller and the film became a fan favorite.
Starring Shailene Woodley as Hazel Grace Lancaster and Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters, the film went on to debut in the number one spot at the box office. It went on to earn several fan-voted Teen Choice Awards.
8 The Twilight Saga
Everyone has strong opinions when The Twilight Saga is brought up, including the cast members, but whatever those feelings are, there is no denying that Twilight was a massive success and cultivated a huge following during the late 2000s and early 2010s.
Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan), Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen), and Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black) perfectly captured the essence of Stephanie Meyer’s best selling young adult vampire series.
7 Everything, Everything
No stranger to the world of book adaptations, Warner Bros. Pictures acquired the rights for the 2015 young adult romance novel Everything, Everything written by Nicola Yoon. While the novel became a New York Times Bestseller, the film is highly underrated when it comes to teen adaptations.
Starring Amandla Stenberg as Maddy and Nick Robinson as Olly, the film follows the two teens as they fall in love and come to terms with the fact that Maddy is undergoing treatment for a series immune disorder called SCID.
6 The Hunger Games Series
With the Harry Potter franchise completed and the Twilight Saga coming to an end, Lionsgate acquired the rights to the best selling young adult dystopian series The Hunger Games written by Suzanne Collins. The timing could not have been more perfect for this adaptation series.
Audiences were introduced to a new film trio when Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta), and Liam Hemsworth (Gale) were cast to bring this series to life. The films were a massive success at the box office with the franchise currently being the 21st highest-grossing film franchise of all time.
5 Love, Simon
Before Nick Robinson was cast in Everything, Everything, he was responsible for bringing another fan-favorite book character to life when he was cast as Simon Spier in the rom-com Love, Simon.
Adapted from the best selling novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertailli, the film became the first major Hollywood film to tell a gay teenage love story. The film earned high praise with some comparing it to legendary filmmaker John Hughes. The film also won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film.
4 The Divergent Series
Not only were book adaptations dominating the teen movie landscape in the 2010s, so were dystopian adaptations. Again the timing was perfect for The Divergent Series which debuted just as The Hunger Games franchise was winding down.
Adapted from the best selling trilogy written by Veronica Roth, the film starred Shailene Woodley and Theo Jams whose characters live in a world that is divided into factions based on what they value in life. The film series was originally supposed to have a fourth film but it was eventually canceled for various reasons, including poor box office numbers.
3 The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
Book to screen adaptations are notoriously hard to do right because of the time constraints of films; however, The Perks of Being a Wallflower managed to do the impossible and tell the same story without losing the depth that the novel brings. The reason this adaptation is so successful is that the book and the screenplay were both written by Stephen Chobsky.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower starred Logan Learmon as Charlie with Emma Watson and Ezra Miller also being cast as Charlie’s two best friends. The film was a success and went on to win the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film.
2 To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
While the rest of the book to screen adaptation has premiered on the big screen in movie theaters, things happened a little bit differently for Jenny Han’s best selling romance trilogy To All The Boys. Instead of releasing in theaters, the films were instead optioned and adapted for Netflix.
Despite not releasing in theaters, the To All The Boys film series is extremely popular and one of the best book to screen adaptations of the last 20 years. The film stars Lana Condor and Noah Centineo as Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky, two teenagers who decide to fake date each other for various reasons. The franchise has been credited for reviving the teen rom-com genre.
1 The Maze Runner Series
Yet another teen dystopian novel to get a film series is the James Dashner series The Maze Runner. Acquired by 20th Century Studios the films were released during the time The Divergent Series was hitting theaters but that didn’t affect its performance at the box office.
Dylan O’Brien was cast as Thomas, the main characters of the franchise and his casting certainly paid off. All three films in The Maze Runner series debut in the number-one spot on the North American box-office. It’s currently the fourth-highest-grossing film series that is based on a young adult book.
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