A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Summer Book Bingo: Top 7 Books Gone Blockbuster

By Rachel Bachler

It only takes a moment. The peer through a locked door, the knock of an unexpected guest; a moment that, in an intimate bigness, all at once fills our eyes with wonder and our heart with anticipation. Occasionally, a moment comes along imparting such wonder and curiosity that we can’t help but watch it fly from the page to our eyes. With film, we can see those moments that captured our imaginations be transformed from their original text, to worlds we never thought we’d see come to life. An offering of moments brought to life by some of the most celebrated publications turned into cinematic productions, we present “SAL’s Top 7 Books Gone Blockbuster,” a Summer Book Bingo night for the whole family!

#1 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll | Alice in Wonderland, Walt Disney Pictures

When a tumble down a rabbit hole finds Alice in an altogether strange Wonderland, a curious assortment of characters and adventures culminate to Alice’s narrow escape from the Queen of Hearts. Over 150 years after Carroll’s publication of the literary classic, Tim Burton and Walt Disney Pictures would plunge Alice back into Wonderland some years later, only to find it in complete ruin at the hands of the Red Queen. Debuting in 3D, CGI, and 4K technology, Alice in Wonderland comes in at No. 1 of our books gone blockbusters, grossing a $1,025,467,110 worldwide.


#2 The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien | The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, New Line Cinema and MGM

Heir to the throne under Lonely Mountain, Thorin Oakenshield leads a band of unexpected guests; enter twelve dwarves, a wizard, and one most respectable burglar, Bilbo Baggins, to reclaim Erebor, the Dwarven kingdom lost to a fire drake from the North. Published in 1937, The Hobbit would come to cinematic life 75 years later, by the hands of Director Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema. Grossing $1,021,103,568 worldwide, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey comes in at No. 2 of our books gone blockbuster.

#3 The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien | The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, New Line Cinema

In the land of Mordor, in the fires of Mount Doom, the One Ring was forged at the hands of the Dark Lord Sauron to consume all life. When the Ring is lost at the defeat of the Dark Lord, Sauron’s power remains dormant within the Ring, until one most respectable burglar, Bilbo Baggins, comes into its possession. First in a series of three volumes, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring follows Frodo Baggins, Bilbo’s only heir, as he embarks on a quest to destroy the Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Directed by Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring would bring Middle-Earth to film for the first time, nearly a half century post publishing. Coming in at No. 3, the historic film would gross $871,530,324 worldwide.

#4 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis | The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media

After a World War II-devastated England sends the four Pevensie siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy to live with mysterious Professor Kirke, they suddenly find themselves stumbling through a wardrobe into the land of Narnia. A land long enslaved by the White Witch, Narnia awakens at the return of the Great Lion, heralding a prophecy foretelling the end of an eternal winter at the hands of Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. The first of seven novels in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series, Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media’s adaptation would earn The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe three Academy Award nominations and one Academy Award win some fifty-five years later. Grossing $745,013,115 worldwide, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe steals the No. 4 spot of our books gone blockbuster.

#5 The Martian, Andy Weir | The Martian, 20th Century Fox

When a dust storm forces the Ares 3 crew to abort mission, Astronaut Mark Watney is left stranded on Mars, with no way to signal Earth. Determined for survival, Watney undertakes life on the hostile planet, while the Earth watches Ares 3 attempt the impossible to bring him home. The New York Times bestseller, Weir’s The Martian, would go on to win the Golden Globe for Best Picture in 2015 and earn seven Academy Award nominations under the direction of Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox. No. 5 on our books gone blockbuster line-up: The Martian, grossing $630,161,890 worldwide.

#6 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl | Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Warner Brothers Pictures

For years, the Wonka Factory gates have been locked, only candy ever seen going in or out. But when Willy Wonka announces the finders of five golden tickets hidden in five ordinary Wonka Bars will win a visit to his mysterious factory, Charlie Bucket finds himself inside a world unlike anything he ever imagined. From director Tim Burton, Warner Brothers Pictures earned Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the 2005 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Family Film, forty years after the 1964 publication. Grossing $474,968,763 worldwide, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory takes our No. 6 spot for books gone blockbuster.

#7 Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell | Gone With the Wind, MGM Studios

1861 Atlanta on the brink of Civil War and Scarlett O’Hara can think of nothing else but her love for a man betrothed to another. When the death of her second husband leaves Scarlett in the ruin of a war-stricken South and two children to care for, she agrees to a marriage with a worldly admirer. Unable to love, Scarlett realizes all too late where her heart has belonged. Winning eight Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay, Victor Fleming and MGM Studios would bring Margaret Mitchell’s American classic to magnificent technicolor in 1939, just three years after the book’s release. And finally, earning our No. 7 spot for books gone blockbuster, Gone With the Wind went on to gross $402,352,579 worldwide.

Rachel Bachler is a Public Disclosure Officer with the City of Seattle, making strides in community relations and public transparency. An advocate for the arts, Rachel works on staff with the Seattle Symphony to promote consumer experience. Trained at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, she went on to earn her teaching certificate with American Ballet Theatre, later receiving their Affiliate Teacher Award. Rachel holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Hope International University.

Box office information courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Used with permission.

Posted in Summer Book Bingo