Entertainment Why Hollywood is hitting the books

Why Hollywood is hitting the books

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With the combination of celebrity books clubs (Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Jenna Bush Hager and others each have one) and a seemingly endess number of streaming services looking for content, more books hitting the shelves these days are being optioned for TV and movies. And not just optioned, they’re actually getting made.

It’s a plus for both industries. For example, Hulu had a hit with “The Handmaid’s Tale,” then the Margaret Atwood book, originally released in 1985, took off again. “The Queen’s Gambit,” was a recent hit for Netflix, and once again put the 1983 novel back on people’s radar.

“Bridgerton,” “Lupin” and “Firefly Lane,” all on Netflix, were shows based on books, which are now bestsellers.

“In fact, led by ‘Bridgerton,’ half of the Top 10 titles on The New York Times Best Sellers list this month are books tied to Netflix series,” a spokesperson for Netflix told CNN, adding that as “Bridgerton” became Netflix’s biggest series, “the popularity of Julia Quinn’s ‘Bridgerton’ novels ballooned [and] at one point five books from the series were on the New York Times Best Sellers list.”

When “Lupin” premiered, the original book by Maurice Leblanc began trending in Italy, Spain, the U.K. and Korea.

The trend shows no sign of slowing. Books coming to a streaming service near you in 2021 include Brit Bennett’s “The Vanishing Half” to HBO, “Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty is due on Hulu in 2021, “Daisy Jones & The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid is being made for Amazon, and “Leave the World Behind” by Rumaan Alam is coming to Netflix (starring Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington).

Jinny Howe, VP of Drama Development for Netflix, told CNN that viewers want to see the books they’ve read come to life. Netflix is happy to provide that service.

“Books have been an incredible source of entertainment for many years, with limitless opportunities for readers to escape or to see themselves,” Howe said. “From our first hit shows like ‘Orange is the New Black,’ through the more recent ‘The Queen’s Gambit,’ ‘Bridgerton’ and ‘Lupin,’ we find that passionate readers love to explore the worlds and lives they discover in books across series and films that bring them to life on screen.”

Other books-turned-movies and series that will debut this year include “Cherry,” by Nico Walker, which will stream on Apple TV+ on March 12 after playing in select theaters, and “The Power of the Dog,” a 2005 crime novel by Don Winslow, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kristen Dunst and Jesse Plemons will run on Netflix.

The hit thriller “The Woman in the Window,” starring Amy Adams, will also be coming to Netflix.

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