Top 8 most expensive book-to-film adaptations
#8 – All of the James Bond films except Casino Royale
Film producers Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli paid James Bond author Ian Fleming $50,000 for the movie rights in 1961. The contract specified that they wanted rights to ‘all the James Bond stories by Ian Fleming, (except Casino Royale) including future stories and also the exclusive right to use the James Bond character either in connection with motion pictures based on the Ian Fleming stories or on other stories which I may have written for motion picture purposes’.
Worldwide box office gross: $1,179,200,000
#7 – Jaws
Richard Zanuck and David Brown, two film producers whose independent company also worked on Planet of the Apes and Driving Miss Daisy, purchased the film rights to the novel. The author Peter Benchley received $175,000 at auction, with escalation clauses that increased the overall amount to $250,000.
Worldwide box office gross: $430,510,134
#6 – Lord of the Rings
In 1969 Tolkien sold the film and merchandise rights to his three novels which made up the Lord of the Rings series. United Artists paid $250,000 for the rights to the 1137 pages of epic fantasy fiction.
Worldwide box office gross: $1,414,186,400
#5 – Forrest Gump
Winston Groom received $350,000 for the film adaptation rights to his novel Forrest Gump, but has since resisted attempts from film companies trying to buy the rights for the sequel, Gump & Co.
Worldwide box office gross: $677,387,716
#4 – Devil Wears Prada
The author of the fashion themed novel, Lauren Weisberger, received $600,000 for the film rights. Fox Searchlight, a division of News Corp, picked up the book during its sixth-month long stint on the New York Times bestseller list.
Worldwide box office gross: $326,551,094
#3 – Jurassic Park
Michael Crichton’s 1990 sci-fi novel became a bestseller on its release. Steven Spielberg obviously predicted its success, as he acquired the movie rights for the film with the backing of Universal Studios before the book was even published. The author received $1.5 million.
Worldwide box office gross: $1,029,153,882
#2 – Harry Potter films 1-4
J.K Rowling sold the film rights to the first four novels in the Harry Potter series to Warner Bros. for a reported $2,000,000. The movie studio purchased the rights in 1998, the year after the first book, The Philosopher’s Stone, was published with huge success.
Worldwide box office gross: $3,547,334,632
#1 – The Da Vinci Code
The 2003 mystery novel shot to fame in 2004, with unprecedented levels of sales and media controversy surrounding its religious context. The film rights were purchased from Dan Brown for a staggering $6,000,000.
Worldwide box office gross: $758,239,851