Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tie-In Titles and Hollywood Respect

Movie adaptations give novels that have slipped into the backlist a new lease of life, and this year's Academy Awards feature a bumper crop of literary adaptations, including No Country for Old Men, There Will be Blood, The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly, Atonement and and foreign-language film Beaufort.

In the Bookseller Anna Richardson interviews publishers and bookshops to find out the challenges in producing the film tie-in.

It's interesting then that:

Booksellers are divided on the attractiveness of and are aware of a certain snobbery among book buyers. Some welcome them with open arms, while others are rather more sniffy. ... Foyles’ Jonathan Ruppin says: “[There are] people who wouldn’t be seen dead with a film tie-in—at Foyles we rarely even bother with tie-in editions.” Nic Bottomley of Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath thinks that “some of the [tie-in] covers are howlers”, and tries to “avoid them like the plague”. Keeping the original cover running alongside the tie-in version is vital, Bottomley says, and a film can have a noticeable effect on book sales.
I have to admit my own snobby prejudice here ... if given a choice between a tie-in edition and another edition, I'd go for the latter every time! I'd hate to people to think that I'm reading a book just because the film is coming out! And I'm discerning enough to make up my own mind about what I want to read and when.

(Well okay okay, it happened recently with No Country for Old Men and Atonement ... but you know the reasons.)

But I'm also thrilled to bits to see readers picking up really good fiction because they've seen the film, so film tie-ins are a mighty good thing.

And talking about films based on books, David L. Ulin in the Los Angeles Times talks about the marginalisation of authors in Hollywood, a situation that is particularly ironic given the number of movies that have their roots in literary work. But he argues convincingly that now:

Hollywood may be developing a more consistent approach to literature ...
Let's hope so.

Anyway, here's a list of this year's movies with film release dates so you can get your reading in first! :

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Bloomsbury) / 26th Dec (2007)
PS I Love You by Cecelia Aherne (Harper) / 4th Jan
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (Picador) / 18th Jan
The Water Horse by Dick King-Smith (Puffin) / 8th Feb
Jumper by Steven Gould (HarperVoyager) / 14th Feb
Oil! There Will Be Blood by Upton Sinclair (Penguin) / 15th Feb
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory (Harper) / 7th Mar
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (Penguin) / 21st Mar
Beaufort by Ron Leshem (Harvill Secker) / 28th Mar
The Ruins by Scott Smith (Corgi) / 18th Apr
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Cape) / 25th Apr
The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martínez (Abacus) / 25th Apr
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? by Morgan Spurlock (Harvill Secker) / 9th May
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (Black Swan) / 20th June
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian by C S Lewis (HarperCollins) / 27th June
Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (HarperCollins) / 25th July
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (Penguin) / 12th Sept
How to Lose Friends & Alienate People by Toby Young (Abacus) / 3rd Oct
The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (Black Swan) / 24th Oct
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (Phoenix) / 26th Dec
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (Vintage) / 9th
Which are you most looking forward to seeing or reading? I love Schlink's The Reader, so that's a must-see for me. I've never read Brideshead Revisited and should do, so maybe that's a useful nudge.

Postscript :

I found this very interesting post about Upton Sinclair's Oil on the Abebook's Reading Copy blog.


lil ms d said...

i'll be buying the dvds :D

bibliobibuli said...

pirated no doubt? ah how hollywood must love us here.

Greenbottle said...


Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden

and i hope he's now busy cooking up nuclear bombs to shove up john mcCain's arse.

bibliobibuli said...

that's not nice ...

Chet said...

Wasn't Brideshead Revisited made into a TV mini series or TV drama in the 70s or 80s?

Yup, a tv series in 1981 with Jeremy Irons and (Sir?) John Gielgud, among others. Won BAFTAs, Emmys and Golden Globes, too.

synical said...

Out of the whole list, I've only read The Kite Runner and The Other Boleyn Girl, but movie-wise I'd watch the latter since Natalie Portman's in that one...

I would watch the Spurlock movie if it's really gonna be out here in Malaysia.

I'd usually get the non tie-in versions, but sometimes there's the availability and the budget...

Greenbottle said...

dear ms bibliobibuly;

why is it not nice?
mcCain is one of the architects of the 'surge' . instead of bringing back the amrerican soldiers who have absolutely no reason being in iraq...

and before anybody having cnn microchip up their bums start saying ..but the surge is working!.. don't make me laugh... only thing is working is when all american armies get out of iraq and all other countries where they don't belong!

america is killing thousands of iraqis and continue to make iraqis miserable .. america can kill thousands and ruin countries but nobody can lift a finger at america?

i truly believe if small countries like iran and i pray al qaeda too have nuclear arms america will behave a lot better!

but that's the end of my argument. we've gone this road before and i know i'm creating a lot of enemies here.. but i'm trying to be true to my feelings... bye.

bibliobibuli said...

the human race has enough of a propensity to destroy itself without you cheering things on. the world has to grow out of tit-for-tatness and macho willy waving of nuclear weapons.

iran with nuclear weapons is a terrifying thought. (not just for me but also for the iranian friends i have here in kl)

i prescribe cormac mccarthy's "the road" for your weekend reading if you haven't got round to it already

rajan said...

Many years ago, I came across an Upton Sinclair quote that has stuck with me since.

"Its difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding."

So true then and now.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Wow, Brideshead Revisited on film. How alluring. I have this incorrigible fixation for lavish period drama, and with stunning locations such as Oxford, Venice and Morocco … the film is no doubt achingly handsome.

I thot the TV miniseries is unsurpassable. Will see …

Sharon, how do you cope with the subtitles in pirated DVDs?


GUO SHAO-HUA said...

you left out The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford.

gnute said...

Chet: Yes, that tv series of Brideshead Revisited by Granada productions is considered the reigning tv adaptation of the book. I find it hard to believe that anything would top this production, as it had class, a stylish set, legendary actors (John Gielgud & Lawrence Olivier in delicious cameos) and some amazing scenes filmed on the Queen Mary. Btw, it's available in a box set DVD and obviously I have access to one! :)

gnute said...

I have also heard that the new Brideshead Revisited movie will be filmed at Castle Howard - again.

Anonymous said...

What about tie-ins the other way around? What about novelizations of movies? I've never read any. Has anybody?

Kam Raslan

(I'm getting confused by all the different "Choose an identity" options)

gnute said...

Yes, Kam, I have read "W.I.L.L.O.W." which, if I remember correctly (this was years ago), came after the film that raised Val Kilmer's profile.

Anonymous said...

Brideshead Revisited and Love in the Time of Cholera are the two I'm most excited about. Must reread Brideshead Revisited -- I LOVE that book and had forgotten how much I loved it until this mention of it!

Is Love in The Time of Cholera going to be in Spanish or English, does anyone know?

-- Preeta

Chet said...


More info here, including a trailer:

It's in English and was nominated for a Golden Globe.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Chet! I had no idea it was already out in so many places. I don't watch many US/UK films here in France because I'm vigorously opposed to dubbing and where we live it's hard to find cinemas that show the subtitled versions instead. But Javier Bardem is an absolute genius, so I'll have to look out for this.

While we're on the subject, has anyone reading this thread seen Ang Lee's _Lust, Caution_? It's also an adaptation, of a short story by Eileen Chang. I've been wanting to see it but again haven't found a place that's showing it undubbed.

-- Preeta

Chet said...


According to Javier Bardem's page on IMDB, he beat out Johnny Depp for the role of Florentino Ariza.

And Preeta, can you write me at chincm at gmail dot com? Thanks.