SF & Fantasy

Poll: Will The Hobbit Movies Affect Hollywood Fantasy Buying?


With all the Robin Hobb dragon talk from two days ago, it got me thinking.

Fantasy in Hollywood has often needed dragons to get off the ground. There have been many fantasy movies released over the years, dating back to the silent film days, that have featured the creatures. But when Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings hit movie theaters in 2001, it revolutionized how people viewed fantasy. In a different way. It didn’t need dragons. It needed excitement. The heroics. The struggle between good and evil. The great dialogue. The special effects and their realism. And even some Ringwraith dragons, although they weren’t the primary driving aspect of the film.

What that film did though is this: It made studio executives salivate. Money could be made off fantasy. Suddenly, hundreds of fantasy properties were optioned, making many fantasy authors extremely happy and hopeful.

Sadly, those hopes were mostly crushed. Only one or two fantasy movies have been made in the last decade that have quality about them. Most were so poorly done, I wanted to ask for my money back after watching them.

This year, that ends. The release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

Just watching that trailer gives me the giddy shivers. And why not? It will be fantasy done right. We have George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire on HBO that is being done right too. But that’s it.

Since Thrones aired on HBO and with the impending The Hobbit, it seems studio executives are once again warming up to fantasy. In the last few months, we have seen options for works by Cherie Priest, Tad Williams, Neil Gaiman, and Terry Brooks. There are probably others I don’t even know about. Is this happenstance? Or on purpose?

My question is this: Will The Hobbit Movies Affect Hollywood Fantasy Buying?

And as a side question for the comments section below, will The Hobbit and Game of Thrones make studio executives realize these properties need to be approached with respect if they are going to appeal? Discuss!



3 Responses to “Poll: Will The Hobbit Movies Affect Hollywood Fantasy Buying?”

  1. trench says:

    Peter Jackson apparently can get it right, and HBO can pull it off to. But Hollywood can not make decent fantasy because they have no respect for the genre. They dont want to deal with the themes of the story and the commentaries an author is making about our world in their stories. They all see it as kids stuff, they dont want to delve in to the deeper aspects of the story. Hollywood studios look at all fantasy as Harry Potter, they liken it to Potter and develop it along the same lines as the Potter movie franchise. I dread anytime I hear that a studio has optioned yet another fantasy story, because the chances are good that the studio just wont “get it”.

  2. Fatima says:

    I agree with trench regarding Hollywood’s disrescpect for the genre. Peter Jackson, David Benioff, and D.B. Weiss are fans of the work they aim to adapt. They can bend the story since they know it intimately, but not enough to lose their original work. Again they are motivated by the love of the fantasy story they adapt for their mediums.

    The studios will not look at it that way. They will buy book rights like property, stick a screen writer, stick a director looking to continue or make a name, and even then run it through enough script doctors to turn out a schlocky movie from a good novel.

    The novel itself will determine if it will successfully adapt to movies or television. The Hobbit and Game of Thrones are fairly cinematic novels. A fantasy novel may have a rapid fan base, but be a terrible novel not even a decent screen treatment will help. (Twilight anyone? Although that novel seems to be an exception to any book-to-screen arguement.)

    It will come to a convergence of novel, timing, the right people, and money.

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