Jonathan Melville: Books set to boost bookings at cinema

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I’VE decided to raise the tone this week by discussing literature, or rather the wealth of literary adaptations set to make your cinema look like the local library, only with added popcorn, adverts and trailers.

Out tomorrow is director Mike Newell’s version of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, starring Jeremy Irvine, Robbie Coltrane and Ralph Fiennes. The buzz hasn’t been positive about this one, but there are enough Dickens fans around to ensure it’ll do fine.

Another adaption that needs little help at the box office is Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, out on 13 December. It’s a return to the world of Lord of the Rings for star Sir Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis as Gandalf and Gollum respectively, JRR Tolkien’s 1937 novel split into three films.

Yann Martel’s Booker Prize winning Life of Pi arrives in cinemas on 20 December, the story of a young boy, Pi, stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

Director Ang Lee waited for technology to catch up with the author’s imagination and we’re promised a visually impressive world along with a decent story.

Along with adaptations of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables (January), David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (February) and Max Brooks’ World War Z (June), it’s likely that novels will be keeping filmmakers in business for a while to come.

There’s also the not insignificant matter of the end of the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises, with Hollywood currently scouring the teen fiction shelves for a new long-running film series.

While another round of The Hunger Games hits cinemas next November, the next big franchise could be The Mortal Instruments, based on Cassandra Clare’s novel about teenage demon hunters. It’s out in August and four potential sequels are waiting in the wings.


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