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The Chicken Soup For The Soul series has produced over 200 book titles, but now it's apparently ready to cross mediums. Alcon Entertainment, the studio behind films like Dolphin Tale, and The Blind Side, is now planning on producing adaptations of the long-running self-help books for both film and television. For the movie, The Hollywood Reporter says that Brandon Camp, the director and co-writer of the 2009 Jennifer Aniston/Aaron Eckhart romantic drama Love Happens, has been hired to pen the script.
While it still seems strange that a self-help book could be inspiration for a movie, the fact of the matter is that we've already seen it happen three other times. First director Ken Kwapis adapted Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo's He's Just Not That Into You; then Tim Story brought Steve Harvey's Think Like A Man to the big screen; and then most recently director Kirk Jones made a film version of the classic baby book What to Expect When You're Expecting (which Alcon Entertainment also produced). Despite the titles having plenty of name recognition due to their source material, the movies have had varying degrees of success. Both Think Like A Man and He's Just Not That Into You made a ton of money at the box office, but What to Expect When You're Expecting wound up being a pretty big bomb, opening at number five and by the end of its run only making $41 million domestically on a $40 million budget.
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen credited as the creators of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, which were first published back in 1993. The tomes are collections of short stories and essays that are meant to inspire and warm the reader. There are multiple spin-offs directed at specific demographics, including titles like "Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul," "Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul," "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People," and "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad." Evidently the film version will be "inspired by a variety of characters and stories" from the books, so I'm willing bet that it will end up being a massive ensemble piece in the vein of Love, Actually featuring multiple storylines that end up connecting in various ways.
Jordan Kerner, who directed both of the Smurfs movies, is also producing the movie through his Kerner Entertainment Company label, and said in a statement, "I have so much respect for the brand Bill Rouhana has built and continues to build and accelerate. It is based on inspiration from true-life stories, an inspiration which is much needed in the world today, as well as a set of beliefs that I hold near and dear."
Potential exists for any project provided that it has the right people behind it, but I'm curious how they are going to make this movie without it feeling like something that was better fit for the Hallmark Channel than cinemas. Hopefully Camp will manage tame down the saccharine sweetness of some of the Chicken Soup for the Soul material and create something entertaining.