22 Books To Read Before The Movie Hits Theaters

Movies have been looking to previously created material for films for about as long as there have been movies. While more recent media like video games have become popular options for adaptation in recent years, the number one places movies will always look is novels.

A lot of people like looking at source material before going in to see a film. It allows you to understand what's going on before you sit down, and it means that you can see where a movie has taken liberties and made changes to the source. If you're looking for something new to read, here are several books you can read before the movies are released.

Pennywise in It


Written By: Stephen King - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: September 8, 2017

Stephen King is no stranger to the film adaptation. However, his magnum opus It has only ever been brought to the small screen. While King's most recent big screen adaptation The Dark Tower, has many scratching their heads, It looks to be bringing all the chills of the novel to the screen. This movie will actually only tell half the story, of the main characters as children, with a sequel planned that will follow up with what happens when they all grow up. The new Pennywise looks truly terrifying, and that's a very good sign.

American Assassin

American Assassin

Written by: Vince Flynn - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: September 15, 2017

American Assassin is the first film adaptation of a series of spy thrillers by author Vince Flynn. They focus on a character named Mitch Rapp who, following the death of his girlfriend in a terrorist attack, joins the CIA and is trained to become a professional assassin. Dylan O'Brien will play Rapp in the film adaptation, which Michael Keaton takes on the role of the man who will teach Rapp to become the titular American Assassin. Expect to see this become a franchise if the first film does well.

Blade Runner 2049

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

Written by: Philip K. Dick - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: October 16, 2017

Blade Runner 2049 isn't technically based on this Philip K. Dick novel, and even the original Blade Runner took significant liberties with the source material. Still, if you want to know where the entire idea of replicants came from, you'll want to check out Dick's original story. To be fair, there may very well be elements from the book that weren't used in the original film which could end up being part of the sequel, so there's value in checking it out.

The Mountain Between Us

The Mountain Between Us

Written By: Charles Martin - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: October 6, 2017

The Mountain Between Us is a story that's equal parts disaster and romance. It focuses on two characters, a man, who will be played by Idris Elba in the film, and a woman, who will be portrayed by Kate Winslet. The pair are strangers who find that both their flights home have been canceled, but since both really have a need to get someplace quick, one of them charters a plane and offers a seat to the other. Unfortunately, that plane will crash in the wilderness, leaving the pair stranded. Since the book is described as a romance, we're assuming the tense situation draws the pair closer together.

Same Kind of Different As Me

Same Kind Of Different As Me

Written by: Ron Hall and Denver Moore, with Lynn Vincent - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: October 20, 2017

In addition to being based on a book, Same Kind of Different as Me is also based on a true story. The book tells the story of a Louisiana sharecropper, Denver Moore, who, following years of hardship, meets Ron and Deborah Hall. While they come from very different places, they have a profound impact on each other's lives. The film adaptation will see Greg Kinnear as Ron Hall and Rene Zellweger as Deborah, Djimon Hounsou plays Denver Moore. If you're looking for an emotional, uplifting tearjerker, this is likely to be a good one for you.

Thank you for your service

Thank You For Your Service

Written By: David Finkel - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: October 27, 2017

Thank You for Your Service is a nonfiction book that follows the post war life of several soldiers who try to adjust to life at home after being at war. Jason Hall, who wrote the screenplay for American Sniper, wrote the script and will also be taking the director's chair. The book takes a real look at the difficulty dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder which means this one will likely be a fairly heavy affair. Miles Teller and Haley Bennett star among others.

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder On The Orient Express

Written By: Agatha Christie - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: November 10, 2017

Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot is one of the greatest fictional detectives of all time, but it's been quite a while since we've seen him on the big screen. Luckily Kenneth Branagh is here, with an absolutely epic mustache, to fix that. The story sees a murder take place on the famous train, leading to a limited number of suspects. The cast of Murder on the Orient Express is the definition of all-star, and we can't wait to check it out. Even if you read this one so you know who done it, it promises to still be a fun movie experience.

Molly's Game

Molly's Game

Written By: Molly Bloom - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: November 22, 2017

Molly's Game is a true story about a woman who ran Hollywood's most exclusive underground poker game. Molly Brown is clearly a remarkable person, and a remarkable cast and crew are coming together to tell the story. Molly's Game will be the directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin, based on a screenplay he wrote. Jessica Chastain will play the lead, with Idris Elba and Kevin Costner also along for the ride. Seeing a cast like that read Sorkin's signature dialogue, just the way he wants it read, should be worth giving this one a look.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Written By: Chris Van Allsburg - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: December 20, 2017

Yes, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel, but ultimately, it's still based on the original children's book that spawned the first film. The sequel looks to have very little in common with the book, as it will set its story inside a video game rather than a board game, but the world itself appears to be the same that Robin Williams entered in the original movie, so checking out the book will still be useful in seeing at least where the story's ideas came from.

Fifty Shades Freed

Fifty Shades Freed

Written By: E.L James - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: February 9, 2018

As much as it may seem to be the case, not every movie is targeted toward 15-year-old boys. Some of them are targeted to their mothers. If you're already all in after the first two Fifty Shades movies, then clearly you're set for the end of the trilogy. Christian and Anastasia may have a fairly poor BDSM relationship, but that hasn't stopped the films from being smashing successes. We expect nothing less from the third film, which, once again, is being released around Valentine's Day because somebody has an odd sense of humor.

Death Cure

The Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Written By: James Dasher - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: February 9, 2018

It's taken much longer for the third film in the Maze Runner series to make it to theaters than was originally intended. A tragic accident on the set left Dylan O'Brien injured and unable to continue filming the first time around. Now that production has restarted, we expect to see this third entry in the franchise before too long. Hopefully, it won't suffer the same fate as the Divergent films. It would seem the trend of YA dystopia books informing movies may be coming to an end for a while. This could be the swan song.

Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit

Written By: Beatrix Potter - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: February 9, 2018

Peter Rabbit is a classic children's story by Beatrix Potter about a bunny who disobeys his mother and sneaks into a local farm to eat vegetables, something we're guessing more mothers wish their kids would do. He's chased out by the owner, Mr. McGregor, losing his clothes in the process. We're guessing the film version will be expanding on the brief story. The film version is set to be a combination of live action and animation, with human actors as the human characters, while the animals will be animated.

Red Sparrow

Red Sparrow

Written By: Jason Matthews - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: March 2, 2018

Red Sparrow is the story of a Russian agent who is trained in the art of seducing western agents in order to obtain information. However, in this case, the agent actually falls in love with her target. Jennifer Lawrence will play the Russian while Joel Edgerton is set to star as her CIA target. Francis Lawrence will follow up his time directing Lawrence in another set of literary adaptations, The Hunger Games, in what is going to be a much more mature story.

A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time

Written By: Madeleine L'Engle -READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: March 9, 2018

One of the most anticipated film adaptations in 2018 is likely A Wrinkle in Time. The book is an award winner that nearly every school age child has read since it was released in the 1960s. The story follows three young children who go in search of a missing scientist, the father of two of them. The story is fantastic in every sense of the word and the first trailer for the film shows that Disney is really working to make the movie equally stunning. As with many of these books, there's more where this came from if the first movie is a hit.

Robin Hood

Robin Hood

Written By: Various Authors - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: March 22, 2018

The stories of Robin Hood are so old that there's no single author credited with the creation of the character. The stories predate novels, but many books have been written about the heroic outlaw. Perhaps read several of them in order to get an idea of the different ways the character has been interpreted over time. The new movie with Taron Edgerton (Kingsman: The Golden Circle) is set to be an origin story, which would seem to imply it's not taking any particular version of the story as canon and instead, starting its own.

Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Written By: Ernest Cline - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: March 30, 2018

For a certain group of people who grew up in the 1980s, there's no upcoming adaptation as exciting as Ready Player One. Equal parts virtual reality video game story and 80s pop culture nostalgia trip, Ready Player One is like The Da Vinci Code for Star Wars geeks. With Steven Spielberg in the director's chair, hopes are high, and the first trailer has lived up to most expectations. Fans have been waiting for this one for a long time and the wait is nearly over.



Written By: Steve Alten - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: August 10, 2018

The movie credited as the first ever summer blockbuster was a film based on a book about a rampaging sea creature. But Jaws has nothing on Meg. Meg is short for Megalodon, as the movie is about a prehistoric sea creature. That may sound ridiculous, and it is, but the inclusion of Jason Statham makes Meg sound like it's going to be just the sort of insanity we're looking for in the later summer of 2018. We can't wait.

The Girl in the Spider's Web

The Girl in the Spider's Web

Written By: David Langercrantz - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: October 19, 2018

David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a successful enough film, but the plans to turn the entire Millennium trilogy into films never got off the ground. Rather than reboot the series entirely, the rather odd decision has been made to jump ahead and adapt The Girl in the Spider's Web, the first book written by David Lagercrantz following the death of original author Steig Larsson. The main characters are being recast, though the film is apparently supposed to be a sequel to the previous endeavor. Figure that out.

Jungle Book

Jungle Book

Written By: Rudyard Kipling - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: October 19, 2018

Wait, didn't we already get this one? Following Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book for Disney, Andy Serkis is directing his own version of the project for Warner Bros. While the Disney version used CGI to bring the animal characters to life, this version will use motion capture, making Serkis the perfect person to direct the story, as well as play the role of Baloo. The Disney version was a massive success, making this follow up have a lot to live up to.


Dr. Seuss' The Grinch

Written By: Dr. Seuss - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: November 9, 2018

Dr. Seuss' classic story about an angry creature who hates Christmas has been adapted twice before. Once as an animated TV special, and then again as a live action feature. Now, the two ideas will be combined into the first animated feature film. While those of us that remember the Jim Carrey version might wish that they'd just stop making this one, the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch will be providing the voice of the title character is enough to make us curious at the very least.

Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines

Written By: Philip Reeve - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: December 14, 2018

Mortal Engines is a book which is a little bit post-apocalypse and a little bit steampunk. A major geologic event on earth has ravaged the planet and caused humanity to regress technologically. In response, cities have been outfitted with wheels and engines so that they may consume other cities in order to gain resources. The book is being adapted by Peter Jackson and the rest of the team behind The Lord of the Rings movies, so we can bet that this one will be a serious undertaking. Hopefully this one will redeem the mess that The Hobbit films were.

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins Returns

Written By: P.L. Travers - READ THE BOOK

Movie Release Date: December 25, 2018

One of the most exciting literary adaptations currently on the schedule is the return of Mary Poppins to the silver screen thanks to the incomparable Emily Blunt. We know that the new film will see Jane and Michael Darling grown up and with kids of their own and while we have no idea exactly what the story will be, Lin-Manuel Miranda has said that the writers looked to the existing Mary Poppins stories for inspiration into the new film, so we do expect to see some elements from the books enter this otherwise original story.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.