December 14, 2006 Forbes has compiled a list of the most successful film adaptations of books and not surprisingly, the chart is dominated by science fiction and fantasy titles, like Harry Potter and Jurassic Park. Relative newcomer J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series already tops the list and will surely set a record that won’t be beaten for a while. With four of the six books in the series already on celluloid (2001-2005) and film adaptations of the fifth and sixth books due in 2007 and 2008, respectively,the boy wizard tops the US-based list easily, having amassed $3.5 billion worldwide in box-office receipts. The Forbes list which also includes the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (U.S. Box-Office Gross US$1.06 billion), Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park Series (US$767 million), Forrest Gump (US$330 m), The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (US$330 m), Jaws (US$260 m), Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (US$260 m), H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds” (US$234 m) and The Exorcist (US$233 m). JK Rowling’s success continues to grow. This week her Harry Potter books once again made the most banned books. Her response to the listing is classic: “as this puts me in the company of Harper Lee, Mark Twain, J.D.Salinger, William Golding, John Steinbeck and other writers I revere, I have always taken my annual inclusion on the list as a great honour.” She concludes by quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson – “every burned book enlightens the world.”
Unfortunately, the figures are not inflation adjusted which must surely disadvantage some of the older films on the list, made and marketed when a dollar was really worth a dollar.