The coming weekend has a unique touch to it. While building movies from novels is not uncommon, having three of such movies release on the same day is unlikely to have been seen before. That’s what we have this time, three wide releases battling one another, each having emerged from the pages of a book.
The one considered favourite to win this battle is The Maze Runner. This is the latest “young adult” adaptation based on the book with the same name written by James Dashner in 2007. The book is the first of a trilogy, the other two being The Scorch Trails and The Death Cure. While the “young adult” genre may seem to be a popular one, given the success of Twilight series in the past as well as recent hits like Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars, and let’s not forget that The Hunger Games series continues strong, there have been a number of failures too, such as this year’s Vampire Academy, Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Beautiful Creatures, to name a few. So the genre itself does not decide the outcome for The Maze Runner. But the movie has some bright points. For one, it stars Dylan O’Brien who is a regular on MTV’s Teen Wolf and growing popular as an actor, which would get his fans to the theatre at least. The movie has a male protagonist which is a diversion from the regularly seen female leads in the movies of this genre. For once, we can talk of a male lead opening the movie to a wider audience. It is also a sci-fi flick which would attract the attention of many youngsters even if they are not necessarily familiar with the novel. If things do go well for 20th Century Fox, then this would be the beginning of a franchise, something that you usually do not see occur in the month of September.
The Maze Runner is going to battle the crime-thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones starring Liam Neeson. Liam Neeson would be playing the character of Matthew Scudder who had been created by the American novelist Lawrence Block. Block introduced this character in the 1976 novel The Sins of the Fathers as an alcoholic ex-cop who has recently quit the force. The book culminated in a rather long novel series which includes 1992’s A Walk Among the Tombstones; the latest Scudder story has been published in 2011. Here too, the possibility of launching a franchise like the Jack Ryan movies would have been thought of by the studio Universal Pictures. But one has to wait for the box-office results before concluding such thoughts. The things that would work in the movie’s favour is the presence of Liam Neeson, the one who does little wrong nowadays. Neeson has already been part of the hit film Non-Stop earlier this year, and so those who cannot get enough of him will be making a beeline at the ticket counter for A Walk Among the Tombstones. But a popular novel series hardly sells movie tickets, as we came to know with the release of Jack Reacher which was based on Lee Child’s books that are quite popular and yet failed to translate into solid box-office revenues. Liam Neeson may very well turn out to be a bigger draw than Tom Cruise, we never know!
The final movie of the weekend is This Is Where I Leave You starring Jason Bateman and Tina Fey. The book of the same name was written by Jonathon Tropper in 2007 and became a New York Times bestseller. This is a comedy-drama film, distributed by Warner Bros., where four quarrelsome siblings reunite at their childhood home when their father dies. It seems to be the least appealing of the three weekend releases, and is likely to be the lowest earner of the lot. Fans of a book don’t usually come in masses to lift the movie adaptation up the box-office charts, and so when up against a sci-fi film and a crime movie with Liam Neeson, This Is Where I Leave You is going to find the weekend to be tough. But it should still appeal to the ones looking for a more relaxed and light weekend movie watch.
So three books have been turned into three movies for this weekend. You can take your pick, or else, if you don’t want to step into a theatre, then order one of these books and enjoy the reading!