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Pass the Popcorn: 10 Books to Read Before They Hit the Big Screen

Julianna Haubner joined the editorial team at Simon & Schuster in September 2014. A lifelong reader, she is most drawn to literary fiction, biography, cultural history, and narrative non-fiction; it’s her firm belief that every human should own a copy of Cheryl Strayed’s TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS, and EMPIRE FALLS is the book that changed her life. When Julianna’s not reading and reviewing, she’s downloading podcast episodes as if there are more than 24 hours in a day, watching Bravo, baking, and running the Off the Shelf Instagram. You can follow her on Twitter @jhaubner2.

From children’s classics to dramatic thrillers to inspiring biographies, books have always been source material for some of our greatest and most cherished films. Stories can live on the page and in our minds, but there’s nothing quite like seeing them come to life before your eyes. Here are some of the titles we can’t wait to see in theaters this year and beyond.


The Light Between Oceans
by M. L. Stedman
After years of struggling to start a family on an island off the coast of Australia, Tom and Isabel Sherbourne find a boat that has washed ashore carrying the body of a man and a living baby. Tom wants to report the missing child to authorities, but grief-stricken Isabel claims the child as their own. What follows is a heartbreaking realization about the effects our choices have on others. We can’t wait to see Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander as Tom and Isabel. RELEASE DATE: September 2, 2016
The Light Between Oceans
M. L. Stedman

“The world is full of decent people making disastrous decisions. I love a book that can find the beauty in that.”

Read Susan Crandall’s review here.

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The Queen of Katwe
by Tim Crothers
One day in 2005, 9-year-old Ugandan Phiona Mutesi met a man who would change her life. Robert Katende, a war-refugee-turned-missionary, had a dream to empower local children through the game of chess, and Phiona soon proved herself to be an undeniable talent. This remarkable true story follows her as she rises through the ranks and seeks to reach the highest levels of the game. Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo star. RELEASE DATE: September 23, 2016
The Queen of Katwe
Tim Crothers

Here’s the remarkable true story of Phiona Mutesi, a teenage chess prodigy growing up in Uganda, one of the world’s most unstable countries. Starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo, THE QUEEN OF KATWE will continue to inspire millions from the pages to the screen. RELEASE DATE: 2016

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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
After a horrific family tragedy, a young boy named Jacob is sent to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As he explores, he begins to realize that the past young residents of the home were not only strange, they may have been dangerous—and they might still be alive. We’re thrilled that director Tim Burton is bringing this inventive tale to the big screen. RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2016
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Ransom Riggs

After a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, whose inhabitants may have been dangerous or at least quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And impossible though it seems, they may still be alive. This spine-tingling fantasy, illustrated with haunting vintage photography, will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

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A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness

This Carnegie Medal-winning children’s novel is the latest fantasy adaptation to be translated from page to screen. Set in present-day England, it follows a young boy struggling to cope with his mother’s terminal illness. He’s visited each night be a monster (Liam Neeson) who tells him stories, with profound and escalating consequences. RELEASE DATE: October 21, 2016

A Monster Calls
Patrick Ness

This Carnegie Medal-winning children’s novel is the latest fantasy adaptation to be translated from page to screen. Set in present-day England, it follows a young boy struggling to cope with his mother’s terminal illness. He’s visited each night be a monster (Liam Neeson) who tells him stories, with profound and escalating consequences. RELEASE DATE: October 21, 2016

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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
by Ben Fountain
Part satire, part political commentary, Ben Fountain’s debut has been called “CATCH-22 for the Iraq War.” Coming to the big screen in an adaptation by Oscar-winning director Ang Lee, it follows a young man named Billy Lynn and the surviving members of his Bravo Squad as they are shuffled through a day’s worth of events on their “Victory Tour” at the Texas Stadium. RELEASE DATE: November 11, 2016
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Ben Fountain

A luminous and savage depiction of post-9/11 America, as experienced by one young war hero attending a Dallas Cowboys game.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
by Newt Scamander

Perhaps the most anticipated film of 2016, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter backstory features the wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he travels to 1920s New York. Everything is going swimmingly, until Scamander’s suitcase—which contains a number of dangerous magical creatures and their habitats (indexed in his textbook FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM)—pops open and the state of the non-magical world is threatened. RELEASE DATE: November 18, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Newt Scamander

Perhaps the most anticipated film of 2016, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter backstory features the wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he travels to 1920s New York. Everything is going swimmingly, until Scamander’s suitcase—which contains a number of dangerous magical creatures and their habitats (indexed in his textbook FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM)—pops open and the state of the non-magical world is threatened. RELEASE DATE: November 18, 2016

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The Circle
by Dave Eggers
Mae Holland (played by Emma Watson) is an ambitious young woman hired by the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, which is pioneering a new age of transparency. But as Mae moves deeper into the group culture, her enthusiasm is tested as she begins to face all-too-familiar questions of privacy, history, democracy, and human knowledge. RELEASE DATE: TBD 2016

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The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger
by Stephen King

For almost a decade, Stephen King fans have been yearning to see this epic series on the big screen, and they’ll finally get their wish with this adaptation, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. It tells the story of the fallen land of Mid-World, through the eyes of a knight whose primary mission is to save his decaying world by reaching the titular tower that stands at the intersection of time and space. This mix of horror, western, and sci-fi will be a must-see. RELEASE DATE: February 17, 2017

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger
Stephen King

For almost a decade, Stephen King fans have been yearning to see this epic series on the big screen, and they’ll finally get their wish with this adaptation, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. It tells the story of the fallen land of Mid-World, through the eyes of a knight whose primary mission is to save his decaying world by reaching the titular tower that stands at the intersection of time and space. This mix of horror, western, and sci-fi will be a must-see. RELEASE DATE: February 17, 2017

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Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
The year is 2044, and the world isn’t a great place. So, when the multi-billionaire creator of a virtual world dies, he hides his entire fortune somewhere within his creation to spark the largest treasure hunt the world has ever known. Whoever gets to it first wins it all. If you grew up playing video games, this one is for you, and we’re sure the adaptation—directed by Stephen Spielberg—will be worth the wait. RELEASE DATE: March 30, 2017
Ready Player One
Ernest Cline

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All the Bright Places
by Jennifer Niven

When Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves the life of the other. Violet, a popular cheerleader, and Theodore, an outsider obsessed with death, soon team up on a class project. As they grow closer, they teach each other how to be their best selves and confront life’s challenges head on. Elle Fanning is set to star in this adaptation. RELEASE DATE: TBD 2017

All the Bright Places
Jennifer Niven

When Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves the life of the other. Violet, a popular cheerleader, and Theodore, an outsider obsessed with death, soon team up on a class project. As they grow closer, they teach each other how to be their best selves and confront life’s challenges head on. Elle Fanning is set to star in this adaptation. RELEASE DATE: TBD 2017

MENTIONED IN:

Pass the Popcorn: 10 Books to Read Before They Hit the Big Screen

By Julianna Haubner | August 11, 2016

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