What is absolutely certain is that not all of these movies will be successful. A few of the books may never even make it to the screen. What is uncertain is which one will be Hollywood’s Holy Grail -- the next "Harry Potter," the new "Twilight," the future "Hunger Games." Most of the novels are the first in a trilogy or a longer series, so commercial success can last for years.
And commercial failure can be a bone-chilling end. 20th Centuiry Fox’s “Eragon” (2006) was to be the first of a series. But the sword and sorcery movie about a boy and his dragon was trashed by the critics, and, with a cost of $100 million before prints and marketing, the $75 million “Eragon” made in the United States did not give Fox an appetite for a second film.
“The Golden Compass,” the first book in Philip Pullman’s award-winning “His Dark Materials” trilogy, cost over $200 million. Flawed but by no means an artistic failure, the New Line film did well abroad but had a mediocre domestic boxoffiice gross of $70 million in 2007, despite starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Its story of a girl living in an alternate Oxford University in an alternate universe where people's’souls take the shape of small animals--witches can be good and polar bears are amored-- was too intellectual, too philosophical, too steeped in theology to work well on the screen. And, although the anti-religious elements that permeated the trilogy were scrubbed away in the movie, their shadows remained. The silver screen demands something simpler and less rigorous.
So, for a wonderful afternoon, read the books.