New Data Shows That Books Are Almost Always Better Than Their Movie Adaptations

A comparison of user-submitted Goodreads and IMDb ratings revealed the trend

college textbooks
New data shows audiences tend to prefer the original source material over on-screen adaptations
Iñaki del Olmo / Unsplash
By Bonnie Stiernberg / November 27, 2019 1:16 pm

Any time there’s a film adaptation of a novel or short story, the debate rages: is it as good as the book? New data compiled by The Book People suggests that the answer is almost always no: only one in 10 adaptations are rated higher than their original source material.

To get its figures, the site compared user-submitted ratings on Goodreads and IMDb for 948 works that had been adapted for the big screen. In instances where a book was part of a series or had more than one film adaptation, they referred to the one that had the most ratings.

Some of the best rated adaptations (which were rated higher than their source material) include The Wolf of Wall Street, Nocturnal Animals, The Graduate, The Haunting of Hill House, The Man in the High Castle, The Prestige, Drive and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The lowest rated adaptations were the on-screen versions of Left BehindThe Cat in the HatA Wrinkle in Time and the Fifty Shades of Grey series.

You can check out the full data set, which includes ratings for the book and movie versions of each of the 948 works, here.

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