7 movie adaptations of books that failed on first attempt

 | Updated: Nov 02, 2021, 05:19 PM IST

Not every movie adaptation of book has been successful, with ardent book readers agreeing that most often than not, filmmakers don't do enough justice to the story and the author's vision while reimagining it for the big screen. Here are some examples when filmmakers tried and did not hit the jackpot the first time while adapting a book into a movie until it was tried again by someone else. 

Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary: 

Horror-thriller writer Stephen King's works are possibly one of the most read and loved by generations of readers and frankly no movie adaptation of its book Pet Sematary does justice to the vision of the author.

However, critics agree that the first attempt in 1989 had co compelling characters, was barely scary and focused a lot on gore unlike the book. The 2019 movie is also controversial for many reasons but due to its scary tone and more compelling story, its closer to the book. 




For those who have read the book would know it was practically impossible to bring alive the contructed universe and do justice to it on film. The book has with it centuries of history and dozens of major players in events. 

But the recently released Dune has blown away everyone's mind and many believe it is a superior adaptation of the book than a feeble attempt that was made in 1984. 


Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz:

A classic, 1939 film 'The Wizard of Oz' is remembered to date as the best known films of all time, iconic for its early use of technicolor to show the difference between Kansas and Oz, for its characters, its songs, and its performances. 

But, the 1925 silent, black and white film of the book wasn't apprecaited much back then. It achieved little success due to a disconnected story and somewhat flat humour.


The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book:

We are no one and we believe when we say that the original Jungle Book film of 1967 was bad because it wasn't. It was for a long time one of Disney's most profitable works and is fondly remembered by many, particularly for its visuals and music.

However, the film is largely a vessel for its music. Its plot is thin and heavily padded. Here is where the 2015 live-action comes in with its beautiful CGI, voice cast and a much stronger plot. 

But honestly, we can't say which is our favourite of the two because both are!


Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

The first-written and best-known of C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series, 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe' is a story beloved by many. The first attempt to adapt it was with a TV serial in 1988. Being produced by the BBC in the 1980s, the series has very little budget and has to work with dated CGI, a problem for a story where magic plays a heavy role.

Despite having some fans, the series is widely considered to be inferior to the film released in 2005. While not perfect, the film's larger budget allows for it to tell a full and compelling story in the world of Narnia.




Another one of Stephen King's most iconic books -- IT have been adapted several times. The most recent, 2017 version 'IT: Chapter One' is considered one of the recent success stories for film adaptations. 

With a huge budget and better special effects, the 2017 film is considered to be not only a far better horror film, but a better coming-of-age story. The only area people argue the 1990 version has the upper hand is in the depiction of Pennywise the Clown, as one of Tim Curry's standout roles. It is also noted for being one of the notable performances of Jonathan Brandis's unfortunately short career.


Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings:

We can agree to disagree on who likes the cartoon version better than the film and if that was possible in the time when the original came out. Both 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' received animated adaptations decades before their live-action versions were created.

While first, the animated versions were of short length and were incomplete thus not getting the credit it deserved. Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy remains one of the most popular film series of all time and a triumph of blockbuster filmmaking.