10 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 Julia Roberts Source 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 Novel Percy Jackson and Olympians- The Lightning Thief Source 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 Nicholas Spark Source 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 Source 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 Source 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.

2 thoughts on “10 Flop Films Based on Best Sellers and Award Winning Novels

  1. The author of this article has no idea what “flop” means either. It doesn’t mean a critically-derided film, typically, but a commercially unsuccessful one – or one that does poorly with both critics and audiences. His #1 & 2 choices were massive, massive financial successes, and even if they aren’t great movies that doesn’t mean a whole lot – the source novels aren’t exactly Twain or Tolstoy.

    I’m sure he could have come up with much more appropriate examples, but I guess he just had to name stuff that was uber-famous.

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