I completed the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy just in time for the movie. After the first Harry Potter movie experience I decided to read the books before I saw the movie. That way, my imagination remains intact and then even if the movie screws up, you still have the images in your head from the book. Chances are that, after you read the book, the movie becomes a more enjoyable experience because mentally you are constantly comparing the imagery the book conjured to the visuals on the screen. The plot isn’t a big secret; book adaptations aren’t really a Sixth Sense kind of movies so you can sit back and enjoy the movie experience without getting too involved in the plotline.
Fans of the book usually flock to the theaters first and word-of-mouth takes on from there, sometimes even expanding the fan base leading more people to read the book after they see the movie. Books never die out or go out of print, especially the small-niche classics. Tolkien fans single-handedly spread the buzz about the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I have never seen a trend in the adapted screenplays. The courtroom dramas a la John Grisham find as big as an audience as the sci-fi movies with the razzmatazz of visual graphics do. Is the concept of original screenplay dying? Isn’t anyone, apart from Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation, and Being John Malkovich fame), writing decent screenplays specifically for movies? Someone should do some basic research on whether movies with an adapted or original screenplay make a difference at the box office? I might think it might make more economic sense to write a book, reap royalty rewards, and then sell the movie rights for even more money.
Bollywood movies sadly do not borrow much from books (exceptions being Devdas, Choker Bali, etc.). But then again, I don’t see Hum Aapke Hai Kaun, DDLJ or even Kuch Kuch Hota Hai as books (argh!); they would be mighty boring melodramatic reads.
More about the book in a short while.