Business of books sets
THE relationship between New York publishing houses and the movie industry is almost as old as cinema. Ever since the first Academy Awards in 1928, more than half the Oscar-winning films have been based on novels and biographies. In 1884, DW Griffith bought Ramona, a novel by Helen Hunt Jackson, to be made into a film. He paid $ 100 for it.
How the business equation undergoes a dramatic change! Contrast that deal with Michael Crichton’s demand for $ 10 million for film rights to Airframe, his latest novel. Even Michael Chabon, an author who does not have a single cinematic success to his name, can rake in $ 1 million by selling the film rights for his book.
As a matter of fact, Hollywood’s biggest hits — Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump, Jaws and Gone With the Wind — are courtesy the publishing houses.
business has been quick to catch on to the business of Hollywood.
Publishers are capitalising heavily on the clout that many
best-selling authors wield in Hollywood.
It is a very desirable arrangement for both the publishing world and Hollywood. Publishing offers Hollywood a certain credibility and prestige, while Hollywood offers a touch of glamour to the lacklustre publishing industry. All this spurs consumers to spend on the latest books that have been made into movies.
Thus, following the success of Paramount Pictures’ Forrest Gump, Pocket Books sold 1.5 million copies of Gumpisms — the original collection of Gump sayings by author Winston Groom, which was adapted for the big screen.
However, it is the business of books that seems to be setting the pace in Hollywood, rather than the other way around. Most of the box-office hits also top the charts in the bestsellers’ list. Despite the huge market for non-book based blockbusters like Independence Day and Twister, book adaptations make it comfortably to the top of the box-office charts.
Book adaptations like William Diehl’s Primal Fear, John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, Michael Palmer’s Extreme Measures and Olivia Goldsmith’s First Wives Club, all topped at the box office.
Even adaptations like Jane Austen’s Emma and Irving Welsh’s Trainspotting, which had limited releases due to the limited audience for such films, were very successful.
Currently, there are more than 600 film projects based on book adaptations being developed at major Hollywood studios and production companies.
Therefore, authors who have had box
office successes are in an enviable position. Authors have also been
negotiating deals for television, multimedia and even merchandise
rights. These "successful" authors now even receive advances
on book deals on a par with the fees commanded by the highest paid
actors and directors in Hollywood.