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Book to Movie Adaptations that Flopped

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Book to Movie Adaptations that Flopped
written by
Nesrien Abdelkader

Nothing is as disappointing as settling down to watch the long-awaited film adaptation of your favourite book only to find that they’ve completely deviated from the original plot. Very rarely is a film better than the original book, and the following ones are certainly not an exception. They’ve got us questioning if the filmmakers even bothered to read the stories or if they just start making things up as they go. So, here are five book to movie adaptations that totally flopped.  

The Percy Jackson Series

Even “White Boy of the Decade” Logan Lerman couldn’t save the tragedy that was the Percy Jackson film series. It wasn’t enough to age up the characters, they also decided to completely rearrange the plot and their personalities. The least they could have done was give Annabeth her signature blonde curls.  Even the author himself was embarrassed by the adaptation, and they ended it after the second film. There is hope for the beloved childhood books though, as a television series is now in the works.  

The Divergent Series

Another YA series that captured the hearts of girls everywhere Hunger Games style is Divergent. The dystopian future setting with a hot male lead was basically 2014’s guide to a successful movie. Although they started off strong with the first movie sticking closely to the source material, they veered off track faster than the Dauntless trains. The final book Allegiant was originally meant to be adapted into two parts, but the shocking failure of the first led to its cancellation.  

The Giver

Unfortunately, The Giver has also fallen prey to the aging up of its characters in order to add an unnecessary romantic plotline issue. While the book was a unique take on individuality and the importance of remembering the past, the film dissolved into yet another cheesy dystopian romance. Also, the random Taylor Swift cameo was… interesting?  

Persuasion (2022)

The allure of Jane Austen’s stories comes from her beautiful writing, and that romantic dialogue translates perfectly to the big screen. So why did Netflix’s persuasion decide to turn her eloquent vocabulary into awkward millennial humor that just doesn’t land. Even though the gorgeous cast distracted viewers, that exes line was just unforgivable.  


Some people do objectively enjoy this movie. However, book readers will notice the obvious changes to the plot that undermine the message of self-acceptance. In the book, the main character Bianca never cuts off her best friends nor does she try to get the cliche makeover present in most rom-coms. The addition of the female antagonist, aka Wesley’s girlfriend, in the movie also felt totally unnecessary. Wesley also has an attraction to Bianca since the beginning of the book as the two start a physical relationship early on.