Who said writing wasn't a lucrative profession?!
Not only have some authors like Michael Crichton and Stephanie Meyers made a killing on their books like Jurassic Park and Twilight, they've even managed to sell the rights to their work to major film companies and make millions more while those movies go on to become billion dollar franchises! In honor of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling turning 47 today, here's our round-up of the 8 most successful contemporary authors gone Hollywood!
8. Suzanne Collins
Book turned into a movie: The Hunger Games
Notable stars in films: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson
Total domestic gross: $405,328,665
We have a feeling that Suzanne is only going to climb higher on this list in the years to come! Not only did this movie dominate at the box office, but there's already a TON of buzz about the Hunger Games follow-up book-to-movie adaptation, Catching Fire, which is set for release in November 2013!
7. Nicholas Sparks
Books turned into movies: The Notebook, Message In a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, among others
Notable stars in films: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Mandy Moore, among others
Total domestic gross: $420,935,418
Nicholas has published 16 novels throughout his career, seven of which have been turned into movies. His most successful book-turned-movie was The Notebook, which grossed $81 million domestically at the box office, but he's had plenty of other box office successes with Dear John ($80 million) and The Last Song ($62 million)
6. William Peter Blatty
Books turned into movies: The Exorcist series
Notable stars in films: Linda Blair
Total domestic gross: $576,171,011
There are five Exorcist movies which have been made, most of which are simply awful, but it's the original 1973 classic which is responsible for the overwhelming bulk of the box office success of this franchise. The movie grossed a staggering $441 million at the box office, which is still trickling in through midnight screenings of the flick across the country. And it's still regarded as the best horror movie of all time!
5. Stephen King
Books turned into movies: The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, Carrie, among others
Notable stars in films: Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman, Michael Clarke Duncan, among others
Total domestic gross: $634,623,714
Need proof that the book is usually better than the movie? Look no further than Stephen King. Dozens of his books have been turned into movies, ranging from Hollywood blockbusters to straight-to-DVD projects. The overwhelming majority of them are craptacular, but he's had a few critical successes in The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, the former being his biggest box office hit with over $286 million in sales.
4. Dan Brown
Books turned into movies: Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons
Notable stars in films: Ewan McGregor, Tom Hanks
Total domestic gross: $703,466,954
When your book sells over 80 million copies, it's pretty much a guarantee that the movie will do well too. Da Vinci Code raked in over $217 million at the box office, but he managed to smash that number with the 2009 book-turned-film Angels and Demons, which brought in over $485 million in sales domestically.
3. Stephanie Meyers
Books turned into movies: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn Part 1
Notable stars in films: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
Total domestic gross: $1,071,212,372
The first franchise on our list to hit the billion dollar mark! Stephanie's Twilight series is responsible for numerous box office successes, the biggest one being Eclipse with over $300 million in sales. Not only that, the movies have single-handedly catapulted it's main actors like Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson into A-list stardom!
2. Michael Crichton
Books turned into movies: Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Congo, among others
Notable stars in films: Sam Neill, Wesley Snipes, Morgan Freeman, Laura Linney,
Total domestic gross: $2,162,564,632
Michael had been churning out books-turned-movies since the '70s, but it wasn't until 1993, 17 years after his last novel hit the big screen, when Jurassic Park became one of the most popular films of all time! His two books about the dinosaur park became a billion dollar franchise on its own when they theaters and if you counted Jurassic Park III, which he never wrote, he'd be at the top of our list!
1. J.K. Rowling
Books turned into movies: The entire Harry Potter series
Notable stars in films: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
Total domestic gross: $2,390,076,596
The story has been told ad nauseum at this point. J.K. Rowling was a single mom on welfare when the concept for Harry Potter entered her head and the rest is history. She's now one of the richest women on the planet after the eight-part book series has sold more than 450 million copies! And the movies aren't doing too bad either. Every one of the films has done at least $245 million in sales, but it was the final installment Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 which did the best at the box office by raking in $381 million domestically!
Honorable mentions also go to several individual books-turned-films that rocked the box office. These include The Help by Kathryn Stockett ($169,708,112), The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger ($124,740,460) and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson ($102,515,793). We predict the late Stieg to climb the ranks of the list with the 2nd two installments of the Dragon Tattoo series set to release in the coming years.
What's the greatest book-to-movie adaptation of all time?
Photos courtesy of Getty Images, Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Castle Rock Entertainment, Columbia Pictures and Summit Entertainment