ten Flop Films Based on Best Sellers and Award Winning Novels

This list is a collection of 10 movies which were based on bestseller and award winning novels but failed to do justice to the novel and to satisfy the critics and the audience.

10. The Pelican Brief

The Pelican Brief John Grisham

The Pelican Brief

The Pelican Brief Julia Roberts


The Pelican Brief is a legal-suspense thriller written by John Grisham. The first edition of the book was published in 1992. The story begins with the assassination of two philosophically divergent Judges of the Supreme Court and the confusion that arose in a politically divided nation with their death. It stayed at no. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list for quite some time. The film is directed by Alan J. Pakula and stars Julia Roberts as a young law student. It had average response as compared to the success and fan following of the novel. The famous aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes rated it as 5.5/10 based in 47 reviews from critics. It had a rating of 6.4/10 on IMDB based on 35 reviews from critics and 65 from users.

9. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson and Olympians –; The Lightning Thief


It is a young fantasy novel written by Rick Riordan. This adventurous novel, based on Greek mythology, was published for the first time in 2005. It describes the adventures of modern day twelve-year-old boy who is the son of a mortal woman and the Greek god Poseidon. He sets out on an adventure to settle a battle between gods. The book has been a great success and over 2.7 million copies have been solved. It made an appearance on  The New York Times children’;s Best Seller list and was listed as one of the Young Adult Library Services Association’;s Best Books for Young Adults. It received many other awards also. It also made an entry in the Chicago Public Library’;s Best of the Best Book’;s list. It was highly praised by the critics. Common Sense Media said

“;There are two levels of fun in The Lightning Thief. One is the fast-paced quest of a young hero and his friends to save the world”; and added “;another level of fun here – laughing at the wicked ways the author has updated the gods and monsters for the 21st century”;

The New York Times praised The Lightning Thief as “;perfectly paced, with electrifying moments chasing each other like heartbeats”;. Chris Columbus directed a movie based on this novel. The movie was released in 2010. The film got mixed to negative reviews. It had an average score of 47 out of 100 from Metacritic. On IMDB it has a rating of 5.8/10 based on 169 reviews from critics and 259 user reviews. Rotten tomatoes gave it a rating of 5.3/10 based on 131 critic’;s reviews.

8. Nights in Rodanthe By Nicholas Sparks

Nights In Rodanthe

Nights In Rodanthe Nicholas Spark


Nights in Rodanthe, written by Nicholas Sparks was published in September 2002 by Warner Books to a commercial success. The novel was Spark’;s first one to hit number one on the best-sellers chart. The novel was complemented and praised for it’;s emotional depth by the critics. Sheri Melnick of Book Reviews admired the novel by saying,

“;No doubt bookstores should sell this tearjerker with a box of tissues, as even the most unemotional of readers will be hard pressed not to cry.”;

In 2008 an American/Australian film was released with the same name, based on the novel . The movie mostly got negative reviews. Rotten tomatoes rated the movie as “;rotten”;, with a score of 29% based on 106 reviews.Metacritic scored the film as 39/100. The movie grossed $ 84,375,061 worldwide despite being critically panned.The Times of London included Nights in Rodanthe on its 100 Worst Films of 2008 list. The novel tells the story of a doctor who on his way to see his estranged son sparks with an unhappily married woman at a North Carolina inn.

7. The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass By Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass


The Golden Compass is a novel written by Philip Pullman in his trilogy, His Dark Materials. The novel is known as Northern Lights in North America. The novel was publised in 1995 and won the Carnegie Medal in 1996. It tells the story of a girl Lyra Belacqua who sets out on a journey in search of her missing friend, Roger Parslow, and other kidnapped children. She saves them from a mysterious organization, conducting some dangerous experiments. The novel was well received. It was adapted into a radio drama by BBC, a video game and a film with the name, The Golden Compass. The movie has a rating of 6.4/10 on IMDB based on 620 user reviews and 280 crtic ‘;s reviews. Even the super stars like Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig couldn’;t translate the novel into a film good enough to do justice to the novel.

6. The Postman

The Postman by David Brin

The Postman

The Postman


The Postman, is a sci-fi novel by David Brin. It was published in 1985. The novel was awarded first prize in the John W. Campbell Award’;s for the best science fiction novel of the year in 1986. It also won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. It was also nominated for Hugoand Nebula awards for best novel. It has translations in many languages including Japanese, German, Russian, Hungarian,Turkish, Italian and Bulgarian. The book is about symbols and civilization and narrates one man’;s quest to rebuild civilization by resuming postal service. It has three sections and each section deals with different symbols. A film adaptation, directed by Kevin Costner was released in 1997. The film was a flop with a rating of 5.5 on 10 on IMDB based on 73 reviews by critics and 341 user reviews. The New York Times gave a negative review criticizing the movie for its “;bogus sentimentality”; and “;mawkish jingoism”;. It is scored at 10% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 3.8 on 10 based on 31 reviews from critics.

5. Skipping Christmas (Christmas with the Kranks)

Skipping Christmas


Skipping Christmas is a comedy novel written by John Grisham. It was published by Doubleday on November 6, 2001 and reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list on December 9. The story is about a couple that decides to skip Christmas until their daught comes home.  In 2004 a movie was released with the name, Chritmas with the Kranks. The movie was directed by Joe Roth. It was a complete failure and was universally panned by critics. It was rated as 4.7 on 10 on IMDB based on 93 critic’;sreviews and 177 user reviews. It received a “;rotten”; rating of 5% on rottentomatoes.com, based on 131 reviews. The film had an average score of 22 out of 100, on metacritics, based on 33 reviews.

4.  The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones Movie


The Lovely Bones is a wonderful novel by Alice Sebold. It is a very sensitive novel published in 2002. It tells the story of a teenage girl who was raped and murdered. After her death she watches from heaven as her family and friends struggle to move on with their lives. The novel received much critical praise and admiration. It was a bestseller. 20,000 copies were anticipated to be sold but over a million were sold and it remained on the New York Times hardback bestseller list for over an year. Katherine Bouton in The New York Times Book Review wrote:

“;This is a high-wire act for a first novelist, and Alice Sebold maintains almost perfect balance”;.

In 2009 a film was released based on this novel. The film was directed by Peter Jackson. The film was not appreciated by critics and on average received mixed to negative reviews. It had a rating of 6.6/10 on IMDB based on 258 reviews from critics and 425 user reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 5/10 based on 221 reviews from critics.

3. Lemony Snicket’;s A Series of Unfortunate Events

A Series of Unfortunate Events


This is a story about three wealthy children whose parents were killed in a fire. They were sent to a distant relative, who plot to kill them to seize their fortune. It is a series of children novels written by the novalist Lemony Snicket. The first part was released in September 1999 and since then the books are among the favourites of children. The series has been a commercial success worldwide, spawning film, video game and merchandise. There are 13 books in the series and more than 60 million copies have been sold till date.  The series has translations in 41 languages. The first part in the series, The Bad Beginning won multiple awards, including the Colorado Children’;s Book Award, the Nevada Young Readers Award and the Nene Award. The sequels like the first part also received multiple awards and nominations. Among these are three IRA/CBC Children’;s Choice Awards,a best book prize at the Nickeldeon Kid’;s Choice Awards and a 2006 Quill Book Award. The film adaptation of the novel, directed by Brad Silberling was released on December 17, 2004. It stars Jim Carrey. The film was not received well on the box office. It has a rating of 6.9/10 on IMDB based on 168 reviews from crtics and 558 user reviews.

2. The Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code


The novel captivates the readers by narrating the mystery of a murder inside the Louvre and clues in Da Vinci paintings. The curiosity leads to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years. This detective mystery novel is written by Dan Brown. It was published in 2003. The book is a worldwide bestseller. Around 80 million copies were sold as of 2009. It has been translated in 44 languages.  It is the best selling English novel of the 21st century and the second best novel worlwide. The New York Times, The New Yorker and Salon.com gave it positive reviews.  It won Best Book Sense’;s Book of the Year Award in 2004 in the Adult Fiction category. Sony’;s Columbia Pictures adapted the novel into a film which was released in 2006. The novel had made millions of fans in 3 years and the movie disappointed the fans. The Da Vinci Code received poor reviews from critics. The famous site Rottentomatoes gave it an average rating of 4.8/10 based on 218 reviews. The critics’; consensus as gathered by Rotten Tomatoes is:

“;What makes Dan Brown’;s novel a best seller is evidently not present in this dull and bloated movie adaptation of The Da Vinci Code.”;

The film was poorly received at the Cannes Film Festival, where it debuted. On IMDb the movie is rated as 6.4 on 10 based on 319 reviews from critics and 1911 user reviews.

The critic Michael Medved gave the film one star (out of four). According to him:

“;…;all the considerable acting talent in the film is wasted…;”; and “;the plot twists and sudden reverses …; seem silly, arbitrary, and entirely contrived – never growing organically out of the story-line or the thinly sketched characters.”;

1.  New Moon

New Moon


New Moon is a fantasy novel by author Stephenie Meye from her Twilight series. The book was released in 2006. It hit at #1 on both the USA Today’;s and New York Times Best Seller Lists. In 2008 over 5.3 million copies were sold.The series is extremely famous among children and youngsters. New Moon won the Senior Young Reader’;s Choice Award in 2009. It has it’;s translations in numerous languages including Czech, Thai, Russian, Arabic and Norwegian. Advance reading copies were being sold on ebay for $ 380.

Hillias J. Martin of School Library Journal admired the book, saying,

“;Less streamlined than Twilight yet just as exciting, New Moon will more than feed the bloodthirsty hankerings of fans of the first volume and leave them breathless for the third”;.

Norah Piehl of Teenreads.com said,

“;In the middle, the story sometimes drags, and readers may long for the vampires’; return. The events of New Moon, though, will leave Meyer’;s many fans breathless for the sequel, as Bella finally understands everything that will be at stake if she makes the ultimate choice to give up her humanity and live, like the vampires, forever.”;

Chris Weitz directed the film based on the novel. The film was released on November 20, 2009. The novel’;s fame gave the movie the biggest opening in th box office but the reviews were mostly negative. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 28% of 203 critics have given the film a positive review, with an average rating of 4.6 out of 10. New Moon has a rating of 4.5/10 on IMDB based on 248 critic’;s reviews and 874 user reviews. Time Out New York rated  the film  as 3 stars out of 5, declaring it “;acceptable escapism for those old enough to see it yet still young enough to shriek at undead dreamboats”;.

http://flyawaybookreviews.blogspot.com/2010/08/nights-in-rodanthe-by-nicholas-sparks.htmlWinner of the Carnegie Medal in 1996

© Smashing Lists

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