Tag: Jaws

4 Books Whose Film Rights Were Snatched Before They Even Hit Shelves!

Zombie Awareness Day officially runs runs every year from May 1st to May 31st because a number of notable zombie films are set in May, such as the classic George A. Romero zombie film, Night of the Living Dead, but seeing as the US Center for Disease Control promoted a Zombie Awareness Month in October of 2012, I saw Zombie Awareness month is any month I chose it to be. You should always be prepared.

And thus you should always have Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide and his awesome-sauce books World War Z!


"World War Z" Cover

Image Via Walmart

All of this is a roundabout way of talking about World War Z even though there’s no reason to. And why shouldn’t I talk about that book? It’s awesome. Made of interviews and testimonies, the novel FEELS real. What to know what a solider felt during the zombie Apocalypse? There’s a passage (and in this audiobook, those sections are narrated by Mark Hamill). What to know what the President felt? Israel? Russia? Cuba? The fickin’ pope!


"World War Z" Release Date

Image Via Amazon

It’s a great novel, and it’s astounding why the heck the film adaptation was such garbage. Why wasn’t this a Netflix series? Who looked at this book and went ‘this could be a great two-hour plus movie’!

Well, the problem lies in the fact that the film adaptation rights were picked up before the novel was completed, probably because the title is cool (which it admittedly is).

In light of that fact, here are five others novels that had their film rights snatched before they hit shelves!

1. The Hate U Give by angie thomas

"The Hate U Give" Cover

Image Via Amazon

The novel started as a short story inspired by the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant, but even her professor knew that Angie Thomas was secretly writing a novel. After graduation, Thomas put the novel down because it was emotionally taxing, however:

When you hear politicians and others on television basically blaming somebody for their own death, when you see Trayvon Martin being put on trial more so than George Zimmerman, when you see Michael Brown being put on trial more so than the gentleman that killed him, you’re seeing Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old child being blamed for his own death … you get angry and frustrated and hurt. And the only thing I knew how to do was write.

Further inspired by the killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and Michael Brown, and widespread ensuing protests against racism and police brutality, Thomas titled the book after Tupac Shakur’s “THUG LIFE” concept: “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody“.

Come 2015, Thomas reached out to literary agent Brooks Sherman on Twitter in June 2015 to ask if anyone might be interested in this narrative about a girl’s whose best friend is shot and killed by the police.

February 2016, Harper Collins’ imprint Balzer + Bray outbid thirteen publishing houses and got the rights to the novel. Since everyone hates auctions, Harper Collins sighed a two-book deal with Thomas.


Angie Thomas

Image Via The Cut

Seeing the signs, Fox 2000 optioned the film rights the following month.

A year after Harper Collins bought the book rights, the book finally hit shelves on February 28th, 2017. After debuted at the top of The New York Times young adult (YA) best-seller list, and stayed there for more than eighty weeks. Once it sold more than 850,000 copies as of June 2018, Fox must have been rubbing their furry paws together.

Their adaptation got a limited release on October 5th, 2018 and wide release on October 19th, 2018, the same year book got nominated for the 2018 Carnegie Medal, was recognized in 2018 by the American Library Association with the William C. Morris Award for best debut book for teens, the Coretta Scott King Award for the best novel by an African-American author for children, and the Michael L. Printz Award for best novel for teens, and won the 2018 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in the “young adult jury” section.

The film adaptation on Rotten Tomatoes an approval rating of 97% with an average rating of  8.12/10.


2. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly


"Hidden Figures" by Margot Lee Shetterly

Image Via New York Amsterdam News

Hidden Figures is about three African-American women who worked as ‘human computers’ to solve problems for NASA from the 1930s to the 1960s because calling them ‘women’ was considered an insult.

So Shetterly is writing this novel. In fact, she’s polishing the final draft when the film rights were sold to William Morrow in early 2014.

Come July 9th 2015, producer Donna Gigliotti had already acquired Margot Lee Shetterly’s nonfiction book, Allison Schroeder wrote the script (so the book must have been completed at this point although it wouldn’t be released until September 6th 2016), and Theodore Melfi was signed on to direct.

On February 17th, 2016, Fox had cast Henson to play the lead role of mathematician Katherine Goble Johnson, Spencer was selected to play Dorothy Vaughan, and by March they had Kevin Costner was cast in the film to play the fictional head of the space program, Singer Janelle Monáe signed on to play the third lead mathematician, Mary Jackson, and Kirsten Dunst, Glen Powell, and Mahershala Ali cast for various other roles.

Principal photography began in March 2016 on the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Come September 6th 2016, the book is finally published.

Come December 25th 2016, the film was released and received a nomination for Best Picture at the 89th Academy Awards.


"Hidden Figures" Film

Image Via Vox

Author Margot Lee Shetterly said of the film:

For better or for worse, there is history, there is the book and then there’s the movie. Timelines had to be conflated and [there were] composite characters, and for most people [who have seen the movie] have already taken that as the literal fact. … You might get the indication in the movie that these were the only people doing those jobs, when in reality we know they worked in teams, and those teams had other teams. There were sections, branches, divisions, and they all went up to a director. There were so many people required to make this happen. … It would be great for people to understand that there were so many more people. Even though Katherine Johnson, in this role, was a hero, there were so many others that were required to do other kinds of tests and checks to make [Glenn’s] mission come to fruition. But I understand you can’t make a movie with 300 characters. It is simply not possible.


3. Jaws by Peter Benchley



Image Via Amazon

Where would this list be without Jaws? Peter Benchley’s debut novel with a weird title not only its film rights snatched before the book was written, but the filmmakers might be responsible for the book being a hit in the first place.

Let’s back up. I already wrote an article (link here) how Peter Benchley was in the middle of writing the book when film producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown read the novel before it was even published thanks to buddies on the inside.

Long story short, Zanuck and Brown bought the film rights, got newbie Steven Spielberg on board, and were already in pre-production when the novel hit shelves.


Chief Brody tries to poke the shark

Image Via Cinablend

Back to why filmmakers might be responsible for the book being a hit in the first place. John Baxter, in his biography of Steven Spielberg, claims that the novel’s entry on California best-seller list was the result of Spielberg and the producers buying hundreds of copies of the novel to send to the press.

Peter Benchley disputes this. In his autobiography Benchley argues that the novel did exceptionally well in other parts of the country, noting that it was a New York Times bestseller for forty-four weeks, second only to Watership Down.

In 1975, a year after the novel was published, the film was released. It did well⁠—so well that it’s responsible for creating the ‘summer blockbuster’.


4. City on fire by garth risk hallberg

Garth Risk Hallberg is known for many things. He wrote city on fire, he has the best middle name in the business, he wrote City on Fire, he got a $2 million advance for City on Fire.

City on Fire is about how there was a shooting in Central Park that happened right on New Year’s Eve during the 1970s. In case you’re wondering, it’s fiction. I too was disappointed to learn this.

It’s an authors dream: Have a film producer snatch the film rights for your story, get a publishing house to buy your manuscript for $2 million, have the novel get released, have the film never get made.


"City on Fire" Cover

Image Via Entertainment Weekly

Hollywood Reporter wrote that “Rudin and his camp read the book overnight and the producer, known for his literary tastes, used his discretionary fund to option it”. This is probably what caused Knof to write Hallberg such a blood big check.

Upon release Kirkus Reviews called it “very-damn-good American novel”. Other were much more unkind. The Guardian wrote “[t]here is prose in City on Fire as transporting as any you’re likely to see in a book in the next 10 years” and said the characters are “uncannily alike”, Publisher’s Weekly wrote, “Readers wishing to wallow in cultural trivia will find much to savor in Hallberg’s all-encompassing, occasionally overwritten effort, but others will be left to wonder how so much energy could generate so little light”, and the New York Post called the novel a  “steaming pile of literary dung” and noted that “[t]he book-buying public isn’t so easily swindled: “City on Fire” lingers at No. 825 on the Amazon sales charts. It can’t even make it up the literary-fiction list, where it’s marooned at No. 134.”

As for the film adaptation? It doesn’t exist…

City on Fire might not be a great book (i’d say based on the reviews it’s probably very mixed), but a film adaption could have given it more of a spotlight.

Sadly,  World War Z is a great book but doesn’t have a great film adaptation. Maybe that’s a good thing, it means the book can stand on its own, but that fact makes me feel like crap. Can we get a limited series based on this written word masterpiece? Or, at the very least, can you tell me film adaptation whose rights were snatched before the book shelves that was worse than World War Z.

Hint: You can’t. Don’t believe me? Go and read World War Z.



Featured Image Via The Prince of The Universe | A Book by Alexandria Rosas – WordPress.com

Oprah Takes a Bite Out of Apple, Reveals Bookclub Revamp

On Monday, Oprah took to the stage at the Apple ‘Show Time’ event, at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California campus, to announced that she will be teaming up with Apple to dominate the market.


Apple company


Let’s back up, because that’s the only way to show how cool this all is.

The first half of the convention was mostly clearing away the smoke. It’s been known for a while now that Apple has been planning to enter the streaming wars: the question was: how?

What the event made clear is that Apple is still trying to sell people its vision of the future—a future filled with with what Wired keenly described as “a seemingly effortless lifestyle filled with always-accessible media, exclusive video games, and cash-back incentives from a literal titanium credit card”.

So basically the same future they’ve been selling since 1984 with the surreal commercial. Watch it below:



Back to 2019.

Let’s look at some of our new toys: A bundle of subscription services, including HBO, Showtime, 300-plus magazines, and two – count them TWO! – Oprah-endorsed documentaries. (We’ll get to those in a bit).

And, according to Imore, it’ll all be available on the Apple TV+. You don’t have to buy a new product to get it, it will be available on Apple TV app. Don’t know where to find the Apple TV app? It’s on your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV 4K, and/or Apple TV HD, and it will come to Mac and smart TVs in Fall 2019

Sorry Android users. Apple hates you, because you’re competition. But you can still buy streaming sticks and boxes starting in Spring 2019. Or just buy Apple products. Remember, an Apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Not sold yet? Well guess who came out on stage?


Steven Spielberg under the power of Apple

Image Via Granite Greek

His name is Steven Spielberg, and he created your childhood. ET? Jaws? Jurassic Park?

What’s he doing on this stage, you ask?

He’s making a TV show and Granite Geek summed it up  pretty well saying “One of the shows being produced for Apple TV’s new streaming service [is] Steven Spielberg’s resurrection of his ‘Amazing Stories‘ anthology series, which was something of a dud in the 1980s”.

Taking a bad idea with a cool premise and remaking it so it’s, dare I say, cool? Sounds great!

Not sold yet? Maybe you’re a cynical person who doesn’t want a new TV show to catch up on. Even with entertainment giants Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and J.J. Abrams you’re go… ‘Who cares? What’s next?”

She’s next…


Oprah, here to save you wearing a white cape in front of black background.


Oprah Winfrey, in case you don’t live on this planet, is amazing. Winnipeg Free Press dubbed her the ‘Queen of All Media’, while Forbes named her the wealthiest African American billionaire, and she’s been rocking those titles.

The Oprah Magazine notes that she opened up “by explaining how the company helps people connect—much in the same way she used to during her twenty-five years on The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

This is what she said, as per Vulture:

“There’s nothing more thrilling than being transported by a brilliant book — nothing…The only thing more gratifying than an extraordinary read is being able to share that experience with others, and we’re going to do just that by building the biggest, the most vibrant, and the most stimulating book club on the planet. This is a club, imagine, where Apple stores stream a conversation with the author and me across all the devices, across all borders, uniting people to stories that remind us that no matter who you are or where you’re from, every man, woman, and child looks up at awe at the same sky. So I want to literally convene a meeting of the minds through books.”

A meeting of the minds? That sounds cool, but what’s that really mean? It means not one but TWO Oprah-endorsed documentaries.

Yes, two.

One will be called Toxic Labor, a documentary currently that, according to Entertainment Weekly, “will explore ‘the toll of sexual harassment and assault and violation in the workplace.'”

The second, unnamed currently, “will focus on mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress, with the hopes that ‘if we do our jobs right, we can replace stigma with wisdom, compassion and honesty’.”


Oprah's book club


In addition, she’s bringing back her Book Club and it sounds great! The Oprah Magazine summed it up with these perfect collection of words with, “[Oprah] plans to bring what she’s best known for—her journalistic expertise—to Apple by interviewing artists, newsmakers, and leaders. That’s right—not only will there be an Oprah-led book club on all of your devices, but you’ll also have new programming from Oprah right at your finger tips.”

Broadly speaking, this could be a revitalization for Oprah. Her book club was a recurring segment on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1996 (the year I was born, which might mean I had something to do with it) which drew book reader’s eyes away from their books and TV viewer’s eyes to a new image.

Vulture notes that the with segment’s “popularity among viewers and literature lovers alike nearly eclipsing the prominence of the show itself…it would later be revived as Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 when she expanded her digital media empire in 2012.”


Oprah under Apple

Image Via AP News

However her selections have gotten rarer. Her last book was Becoming by Michelle Obama, released last October and still going strong, and despite selling a cool ten million copies, thus becoming the bestselling memoir of all time, it still came out half a year ago.

To put things in perspective in 2015, and I’m quoting straight from The Oprah Magazine here, “Oprah revealed she was starting a new imprint with Flatiron Books called ‘An Oprah Book,’ which would focus on publishing nonfiction stories. Now, three years later, we finally know what will be the imprint’s first title…” That book turned out to be Alicia Keys’s More Myself, and while it’s great for Oprah to put the highlight on the book, the time frame for her to announce and choose a book was concerning.

But when she walked on stage with Apple, it was a sign that she was in partnership and thus has to pump out more book-related content.


Oprah and Tim Cook

Image Via ABC

Yay! What could possibly ruin this beautiful moment?

According to CNN  “absent was price information and a specific debut date, though [both Oprah and Spielberg new products are] targeted for the fall”. Yep, Apple company came with an air of bravado that could make one forget that even the earliest services aren’t coming in for a few months. This amnesia is understandable, given that Apple usually announces products weeks, if not days, before the product is available.

Maybe there’s a reason Apple didn’t reveal the pricing for their TV+ service at the announcement.

Guess I’ll stick to Netflix and books when I don’t want to leave my house.



Featured Image Via EURweb

A Timeline of the History and Consequences of ‘Jaws’

The story of Jaws is the story of Peter Benchley. Mr. Benchley recalls in his memoir, Shark Life: True Stories About Sharks & the Sea how, when he was young, he often encountered sharks while fishing with his father and developed a fascination with them.

1964: Montauk fisherman Frank Mundus famously caught a great white shark weighing in at 4,550 pounds.  Peter Benchley was twenty-four at this time.


Image result for frank mundus shark

Image Via 27East

1971: According to BBC News, Peter Benchley was a struggling freelance journalist, who was married with children. One day he met with publishing house editors via his literary agent. Doubleday editor Thomas Congdon dismissed Benchley’s non-fiction and asked Benchley if he had any ideas for fiction. “I want to tell the story of a great white shark that marauds the beaches of a resort town and provokes a moral crisis,” Benchley said, and Mr. Congdon’s interest was peeked.


Image result for jaws novel

Image Via Amazon

“The first five pages were just wonderful,” Mr. Congdon recalls, but the rest – not so much. Mr Congdon asked for rewrites, disliking the comedic tone the novel was taking. Then he disliked certainly scenes, arcs, even disliking Benchley’s title, Stillness in the Water.

On the Jaws: 30th Anniversary Edition DVD, Mr. Benchley recalls in the behind-the-scenes how, “We cannot agree on a word that we like, let alone a title that we like. In fact, the only word that even means anything, that even says anything, is “jaws”. Call the book Jaws. He said “What does it mean?” I said, “I don’t know, but it’s short; it fits on a jacket, and it may work.”

Image result for jaws

Image Via Amazon

It did. And with an ear in the publishing business, film producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown read the novel before it was even published. They bought the film rights and got Steven Spielberg on board, who had directed Duel, about a couple trying to get away from a monstrous semi-truck driven by an unseen individual, and was fresh off 1974’s crime drama Sugarland Express.

The novel came out the same year its film adaption was in pre-production. While John Baxter, in his biography of Steven Speilberg, claims that the novel’s entry on California best-seller list was the result of Spielberg and the producers buying hundreds of copies of the novel to send to the press, the novel did exceptionally well in other parts of the country. It was a New York Times bestseller for forty-four weeks, second only to Watership Down.

By the time Jaws was released in theaters, the novel had sold 5.5 million copies domestically.

However, changes were made. The film put more focus on the shark and the three protagonists – Brody, Hooper, Quint – and completely omitted many of the novel’s minor subplots.


Image result for peter benchley

Image Via Today in History

1982: Peter Benchley published The Girl of the Sea of Cortez about man’s complicated relationship with the sea.

2002: Benchley published Shark Trouble. At that point, he had become an activist on behalf of the sharks and, according to CBS, had made numerous educational documentaries on the species and written articles for publications like National Geographic.

2006: Peter Benchley told The Royal Gazette that “the shark in an updated Jaws could not be the villain; it would have to be written as the victim, for, world-wide, sharks are much more the oppressed than the oppressors.”

Later that same year Peter Benchley passed away.

2008: Frank Mundus, the inspiration behind Jaws passed away. Despite starting out as a shark hunter, he too later became a shark conservationist.

2010: An article on LiveScience.com states: “Now, thirty-five years later… shark numbers worldwide have been decimated due partly to the frightening and false ideas the film helped spread about them.” Despite both its inspiration and creators becoming avid ocean conversationalists, LiveScience notes that “in the waters off the U.S. eastern seaboard, populations of many species of sharks have dropped by 50 percent and some have fallen by as much as 90 percent. The movie helped initiate that decline by making it sexy to go catch sharks.”


Featured Image Via Warner Bros