Big Day At the Movies

This big year for movie adaptations is ending appropriately, with several arriving over the next few days.

As USA Today notes, seven new films open on Christmas Day, plus another on Friday, taking advantage of the fact that, “Over the past decade, Christmas week has been the year’s highest-grossing stretch.”

The majority are adaptations (for trailers, see our links at the right, under “Movies & TV Based on Books — Trailers”).

Three are based on books (links are to the tie-ins):

Wolf of Wall Street Tie-in   The Invisible Woman, tie-in   Lone Survivor Tie-in

The Wolf of Wall Street, (based memoir by Jordan Belfort; tie-ins, Random House) — The Daily Beast examines “The Real Wolf of Wall Street: Jordan Belfort’s Vulgar Memoirs,” while the NYT writes, “Investors’ Story Left Out of Wall St. ‘Wolf’ Movie. The abridged audio tie-in has a bit of Hollywood glitz; it is narrated by Bobby Cannavale.

The Invisible Woman,  (limited opening, to expand later; based on the bio of Charles Dickens’ mistress, Nelly Ternan, by Claire Tomalin ) — USA Today gives it 3.5 stars

Lone Survivor(limited, to expand later; based on the best selling 2007 memoir by Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell; tie-ins from Hachette/Little, Brown ) — USA Today writes that the movie strives to stay true to the book.

Three are adaptations of other written material:

47 Ronin   August: Osage County tie-in

47 Ronin, (loosely based on Japanese folklore, the tie-in, published by Macmillan/Tor is a novelization of the movie).  — Forbes, among others, does not expect this mega budget film to make back the investment.

August: Osage County (Dec. 27 based on a the the 2007 play by Tracy Letts; tie-in, Perseus/Theatre Communications Group) — the New York Times notes that play adaptations can be risky, and even more so, a dark comedy opening during what Sarah Palin has called the “jolliest season of them all.”

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty — Many liberties are taken with James Thurber’s 1939 short story in this updated version, starring and directed by Ben Stiller. There are no tie-ins, but offers a free interview and reading of the story by Stiller. USA Today calls the movie, “well-intentioned but insipid.

Next year is shaping up to be another strong at the movies for books. Already scheduled are adaptations of Monuments Men, Winter’s Tale, Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Giver, This is Where I Leave You, The Maze Runner, Gone Girl and Unbroken  (see our listing, with tie-ins).

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