This being the first year in quite some time that there is no Harry Potter installment (although I think there is an entry from the sparkling vampire franchise), it’s a free-for-all for new and exciting novels to throw their hat into the ring of being the next big thing on the silver screen. Whether it be for TV or packed cineplexes, fiction is being bought up at a fire sale rate and each one of them hopes to capture a new audience for their story. Although not all them will be ‘Harry Potters’, ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Lord of the Rings’, it will be exciting to see some new works of fiction come to life. These are just a few of the many adaptations headed to theaters/tv in the next year or so.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (December 21, 2011) - This technically falls under the late 2011 banner , but we’ll include it since it’s one of the heavy hitters. Director David Fincher (‘Fight Club’, ‘Zodiac’, ‘The Social Network’) will bring Stieg Larsson’s bestseller to theaters just in time for the Christmas season, making it probably the worst Christmas movie ever. Fincher’s adaptation will technically classify as a remake since the triology has already been covered by Swedish director Niels Arden Oplev and star Noomi Rapace, but Fincher’s take on the material looks like it will be worth checking out. Noomi Rapace was pretty amazing in the original, so it will be interesting to see how relative newcomer Rooney Mara matches up.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 14, 2012) - Peter Jackson, who is responsible for at least 85% of New Zealand’s tourism and prosthetic Hobbit feet exports, hops back in the director chair to bring Tolkien’s classic to the big screen in two parts. Part 1, which will arrive Christmas 2012 in 3D, will operate as a slightly more appropriate Christmas movie than ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.’ At least ‘The Hobbit’ has some singing in it and doesn’t feature any scenes of forced branding.
The Hunger Games (March 23, 2012) - Arguably 2012′s most anticipated adaptation, the ‘Hunger Games’ will bring the first part of Suzanne Collins’ ‘Battle Royale’/'Lord of the Flies’ inspired YA trilogy to audiences on the big screen. ‘Seabiscuit’ director Gary Ross spurs his equestrian roots to try his hand in the saturated YA movie market. Expectations are high, but for every ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Twilight’, there have been ten ‘Percy Jacksons’ or ‘The Dark Is Risings.’ Much of this series success will hinge on its young cast members, but so far, first impressions look pretty good.
John Carter of Mars (March 9, 2012) – Disney is bringing Edgar Rice Burroughs’ ‘John Carter of Mars’ books to life, with ‘Friday Night Lights’ alum Taylor Kitsch playing the lead role. Burroughs is more famous for creating Tarzan, but Disney hopes to mine that same adventurous vein and cash in with box office success and the beginnings of a new franchise. Hard to tell from the trailer if this will be a worthwhile cinematic experience or not. Being a fan of Taylor Kitsch, I’ll probably give it a shot.
The Magicians (Fall 2012) - Lev Grossman’s fantasy series jumps to TV with high expectations. Some are already calling this the next possible ‘Game of Thrones.’ While it will be quite a challenge to live up to GOT’s billing, the real challenge will be trying to get the viewing public to watch a show about magicians. This is a magic trick even David Blaine couldn’t pull off.
World War Z (December 21, 2012) – Brad Pitt will star in the adaptation of Max Brook’s (Mel Brook’s son) zombie epic. While there has certainly been a glut of zombie fiction/movies lately, ‘World War Z’ still remains a fan favorite that people should be willing to make the trip out to theaters to watch.
The Corrections (Fall 2012) – HBO recently snapped up Jonathan Frazen’s bestseller to bolster their 2012 lineup. The word on the street is that Ewan McGregor might be added to the cast with other possibles Anthony Hopkins and Chris Cooper coming up in conversation too. I don’t know if this is the dysfunctional family to replace ‘The Sopranos’ for HBO, but it should add a solid new drama to their network.
Satori (2013) - Leonardo DiCaprio is attached to a planned series of films based on the Don Winslow’s ‘Satori,’ about a martial-arts-trained assassin. Not much is known other than that. If DiCaprio bails, this one most likely will not see the light of day.
The Devil In The White City (2013) – DiCaprio again headlines another adaptation, this time its Erik Larson’s popular nonfiction tale about a serial killer at the 1893 World’s Fair. The rumor is that DiCaprio will play the serial killer, which will be a notable change of pace for him (other than ‘Shutter Island’).
Concrete Island (2013) – ‘The Machinist’ duo Christian Bale and director Brad Anderson reteam to bring J.G. Ballad’s book about a man who drives his sports car off the highway and is trapped on a concrete island below to theaters. The book is often called an urban version of Robinson Crusoe. Needless to say, a descent into madness is expected for the protagonist and Christian Bale is just the man to do it. This should be an interesting one to watch.
Be sure to check out part 2 of this feature.