Adaptations Update:
What Is a Movie?

Hollywood is grappling with many upheavals, including a fundamental question, what makes a movie a movie. As streaming services grow and develop their own original films, should a “movie” still be defined as having been made for theaters? The Motion Picture Academy has assigned a committee to study whether to change their requirement that a movie opens in at least a limited number of theaters to qualify for Oscar nominations. Meanwhile, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, who announced plans to release 80 movies next year, is campaigning hard to be released from that charade.

Meanwhile, Netflix may win its first feature film Oscar for the adaptation of Hilary Jordan’s Mudbound, which opened, in a limited number of theaters, of course, last week.

It’s been a depressing year at the box office, so Hollywood is particularly hopeful that families will hit the multiplexes this Thanksgiving weekend. The animated Disney feature Coco is expected to be a hit, and may even knock the superhero adaptation Justice League out of first place. The Day of the Dead themed movie is not an adaptation, but there are tie-ins (see our list). The look of the movie draws on the work of Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada, who is featured in the Sibert-winning book, Funny Bones — Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras, (Abrams, 2015).

For a full rundown of upcoming adaptations, link to our Movies & TV Based on Books collection. To browse the most recent updates, download EarlyWord Adaptations-UPDATES 10/19 thru 11/20/17. Among the highlights:

Death on the Nile — following the success of Murder on the Orient Express, Kenneth Branagh is planning to direct a new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic and again star as Hercule Poirot

Adaptations of several other classics have also been announced:

Catch 22 — Joseph Heller’s satire has been optioned for a TV series, directed by and starring George Clooney

If Beale Street Could Talk  — Filming has begun on this adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel

Lord Of The Rings — Optioned for an Amazon series

Invisible Man — Hulu is in the early stages of development of a series based on Ralph Ellison’s ground-breaking 1952 novel

The Painted Bird — Jerzy Kosinski’s 1965 anti-war novel has been optioned for a film

White Fang — Jack London’s 1908 classic is in development as an animated feature

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