Adapting novels onto the big and small screen is nothing new, nor is tailoring television shows for a moviegoing audience, but what one of the most recent trends in Hollywood is making TV shows based on movies. At first, it may seem like a far-fetched concept — taking a story that would ordinarily take two hours to unfold and develop it into a full-fledged television series — but as it turns out, it’s more than doable.
Over the years, Hollywood studios have worked with TV networks to use the television medium as a way to flesh out their movies or to bridge the gaps between installments (as is the case with Lucasfilm’s Star Wars animated shows). While that has worked in the past, albeit sparingly, it wasn’t always a sure-fire bet, just like making a video game based on a movie doesn’t always work out either.
It wasn’t until recently that networks considered developing original stories in the vein of the original movies or that, at least, complement them with somewhat connected tales. This is evidenced by shows like Fargo, Bates Motel, and Ash vs. Evil Dead. The success of these series have convinced others in the industry to pursue adaptations of their own — and there are a lot of them on the way. Here are 15 Movies You Didn’t Know Are Getting TV Adaptations.
It was a long and arduous journey getting Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer — based on the French graphic novel series Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand, and Jean-Marc Rochette — to release in the United States. But thankfully it did, for it’s easily one of the best science fiction films to release within the past decade. There has been a spike of post-apocalyptic shows on television in recent years, but none of them resemble the isolated world of Snowpiercer. After seeing that atmosphere on the big screen, TNT wants to bring it to the small screen.
The network ordered a pilot episode for a potential Snowpiercer TV series in 2016 from Tomorrow Studios. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles creator Josh Friedman will executive produce the new series, which is expected to premiere within the next year or so. TNT’s Sarah Aubrey, the network’s EVP of original programming, called Snowpiercer “one of the most original concepts to hit the screen in the last decade, and it’s one that offers numerous opportunities for deeper exploration in a series format.”
14. The Departed
Martin Scorsese’s The Departed released to overwhelming acclaim in 2006, scoring multiple wins at the Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture. The American remake of the Hong Kong drama Infernal Affairs starred the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg (who earned a Best Supporting Actor nod for his role), Martin Sheen, and Jack Nicholson. While there is no chance for a sequel — spoiler alert: pretty much everyone dies — things are looking up for a TV adaptation.
Crime dramas are no stranger to the small screen, and The Departed‘s renown makes it a prime candidate to be ported over to television. Amazon has picked up the series, which will be produced by the same people who made the film. And while details are scarce at this stage, we know that the setting is being moved from Boston to Chicago, and that it won’t be a direct remake, but rather follow the general concept of the film.
Everyone loves a good monster movie — be it Godzilla, King Kong, or even Tremors. Unlike the first two, Tremors is a uniquely American film that hasn’t relied on kaiju or iconic monsters of the past. Instead, the franchise (including the entirely unnecessary direct-to-video sequels) focus on the Graboids, a species of sandworms inspired by the legendary Mongolian death worm.
Since the first film released in 1990, there have been four sequels, a prequel, a TV series, and a video game. While there have also been attempts at expanding the franchise, they have all been for naught thus far. But that’s all going to change. Filming is currently underway on a sixth Tremors movie — with franchise star Michael Gross returning — but alongside the new flick will come a second Tremors TV series.
Universal Television has partnered with horror studio Blumhouse Productions for a TV reboot of Tremors for Amazon. Although Gross has said he will not be involved in the new series, Kevin Bacon is expected to reprise his role as Valentine McKee, as well as serve as executive producer. It’s unclear when the new show will premiere, but Tremors 6 is scheduled to bow in 2018.
12. Jack Ryan
Aside from his thrilling novels, Tom Clancy is known for his movies and extremely lucrative video games, of which many are based on his books. While the majority of his stories are generally unrelated to one another, several of them feature the same lead character, Jack Ryan. He’s been portrayed by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine in several different adaptations over the years, the last of which was Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
Since the movie wasn’t as big of a success as the studio hoped it would be, Paramount Pictures has handed the franchise off to their TV division to get a Jack Ryan TV series off the ground. LOST co-creator Carlton Cuse has partnered with fellow LOST writer Graham Roland and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company to develop the series for Amazon. John Krasinski will be playing the eponymous character, with Abbie Cornish set to co-star. Morten Tyldum (Passengers) will direct the pilot episode, and Daniel Sackheim (The Americans, Game of Thrones) will helm several episodes of the rest of the 10-episode first season, which is currently without a release date.
The days of overblown action movies, featured prominently in the ’80s and ’90s, are mostly gone, but there have been attempts in recent years to bring them back into the limelight. Sylvester Stallone had planned to reprise his iconic role of John Rambo for a fifth Rambo film, reportedly titled Rambo: Last Blood, but after being put on hold for several years, it looks like it’s no longer happening — which is unfortunate, considering how well Stallone’s performance was received in the recent but long-delayed Rocky sequel/spinoff Creed.
Instead of convincing Stallone to put the bandanna on one more time for the silver screen, there are plans to continue the franchise on the small screen. FOX has been developing the series for over a year, reportedly titled Rambo: New Blood, which Stallone was originally tapped to star in and executive produce. The plan was to have him pass the reigns off to his son, J.R., a former Navy Seal, but he is no longer interested in doing so. Despite his abandonment of the project, the network is still believed to be pursuing the series.
10. The Notebook
Whether you like it or not, there’s no denying the popularity behind Nick Cassavetes’ The Notebook. Though it wasn’t the first Nicholas Sparks book to be adapted to film, it is by far the most successful and well-liked. Every Sparks adaptation (somehow there have been 18 of them) since has failed to live up to the success of the 2004 film, and that’s possibly why there is interest in bringing the story back on the small screen.
The CW is currently developing a TV series based on The Notebook, which will be set “against the backdrop of the racial politics, economic inequities, and social mores of post-World War II of the late 1940s in North Carolina.” It’s unclear when the series will premiere, but a show like this could reasonably replace one of the network’s dramas that won’t be coming back, such as The Vampire Diaries.
9. To Live and Die in L.A.
There are many who don’t realize that the United States Secret Service does more than just protect the president. Their original mission was to combat counterfeiting; that is until Congress tasked them with also safeguarding the president following the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901. Still, they haven’t forgotten their roots. The federal agency still goes to great lengths to hunt down counterfeiters, which was the subject of William Friedkin’s 1985 film To Live and Die in L.A., based on the novel of the same name by former Secret Service agent Gerald Petievich.
The movie wasn’t particularly successful, but it has since developed a cult following, which is why Friedkin and Crash screenwriter Bobby Moresco want to adapt the film for television. They are currently developing the project for WGN America, which will reportedly go straight-to-series upon approval of the script. Considering that WGN recently canceled Salem, their first original program, To Live and Die in L.A. is a prime candidate for the network to continue pushing for more in-house content.
8. The Last Starfighter
Nick Castle’s The Last Starfighter is regarded as one of the earliest movies to use computer-generated imagery (CGI) extensively, but the filmmakers did so out of necessity. The space opera film tells the story of teenager Alex Rogan as he is enlisted in an intergalactic war between the Rylan Star League and the Ko-Dan Empire. Although the movie wasn’t a box-office hit when it released in 1984, it has since become a cult favorite, having already branched off into different mediums, including video games.
A long-awaited sequel has been in development for almost a decade. Despite some recognizable talents in the industry expressing interest in helming the project, the sequel has yet to move forward. So, in the meantime, The Last Starfighter screenwriter Jonathan R. Betuel is pursuing a TV reboot of the franchise, tentatively titled Starfighter Chronicles, which will be a “serialized story about alien law enforcement” instead of a forthright reboot of the film. There is currently no word on when the series will premiere.
7. Behind Enemy Lines
Owen Wilson had a brief flirtation with the action genre in the early 2000s when he took a role in John Moore’s Behind Enemy Lines. He played U.S. Air Force pilot Lt. Chris “Longhorn” Burnett — alongside Gene Hackman as Rear Admiral Leslie McMahon Reigart and Gabriel Macht as Lt. Jeremy “Smoke” Stackhouse — who gets caught behind enemy lines at the tail-end of the Bosnian War. The movie was a moderate success, and it spawned multiple direct-to-video sequels, one of which was co-produced by WWE Studios (a sure sign of a great film if there ever was one).
Instead of pursuing more home video sequels, 20th Century Fox has decided to continue the series on television. FOX ordered a pilot episode for a potential Behind Enemy Lines TV series earlier this year that is being billed as a “military soap thriller.” It’s unclear how (or if) the show will connect with the original movie, or merely follow the same concept. While no premiere date has been set, chances are that the show will hit airwaves within the next year or so.
6. Shutter Island
Shutter Island stands as the second Scorses/DiCaprio film on our list. Based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, the neo-noir story had DiCaprio play U.S. Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels, who (spoiler alert) turns out to be a patient at Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane. Mark Ruffalo co-starred as Chuck Aule, who is later revealed to be one of Daniels’ attending physicians. While the film had a definitive ending for DiCaprio’s character, HBO believes there is much more to tell about the hospital itself.
The network is currently in development on a Shutter Island prequel series, tentatively titled Ashecliffe, which will recount the early days of the hospital. Lehane will reportedly write the script for the pilot episode, with Scorsese directing. Although it’s been a while since we last heard about the project, HBO doesn’t abide by conventional schedules. They like to take their time developing a new show. Take Westworld for example: there was a three-year gap between when the show was announced and when it premiered.
5. The Mist
There is no shortage of Stephen King adaptations on television and in film. Five of the novelist’s works are receiving movies in 2017 alone, and it seems like every year, there is another TV series of his in the works. In 2017, that show is The Mist. The upcoming series will be based on the 2007 movie of the same name (which itself is based on King’s novel), written and directed by Frank Darabont, and starring the likes of Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, and Laurie Holden.
Dimension Films’ Bob Weinstein is working alongside Darabont to adapt the film for television, with Adam Bernstein (who won an Emmy for his work on FX’s Fargo) directing the pilot. The 10-episode series, which tells an original story (yet still heavily resembles the movie) by screenwriter Christian Torpe, is scheduled to premiere on June 22, 2017, on Spike.
One of the earliest and most influential science fiction films in the industry is Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis. The original cut ran over two-and-a-half hours long, which makes it one of the first feature-length sci-fi movies ever to release. What’s more, the character Maria’s double, the Maschinenmensch, has influenced countless robotic designs over the years (such as Star Wars‘ C-3PO), in film and real life.
While there have been a few attempts to remake the iconic film throughout the years, none of have seen the light of day. Until that happens, we’ll have Sam Esmail’s television adaptation to look forward to. Esmail gained fame by creating and executive producing Mr. Robot, and he’s looking to capitalize on that fame by developing a big-budgeted Metropolis miniseries with the same auteur approach he’s taken with his acclaimed USA Network show.
3. In the Line of Fire
Clint Eastwood made a name for himself starring in Western movies and TV shows in the ’60s and ’70s, though he eventually transitioned into more modern roles, such as U.S. Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan in Wolfgang Peterson’s action film In the Line of Fire. To summarize, Eastwood’s character is the sole remaining agent serving with the agency that was present during the JFK assassination. Decades later, he becomes the only person capable of preventing another presidential slaying.
NBC is planning to retell that story on television with CSI writers Carol Mendelsohn and Josh Berman writing and executive producing. There’s no word on who will play Horrigan (or whoever the agent is), nor when it will premiere. Gail Katz, who served as executive producer on the movie, is the only person from the original crew returning for the TV series.
The past decade has seen a surge in young adult franchises, particularly after the success of The Twilight Saga. One such series was Summit Entertainment’s Divergent, based on the novel series of the same name by Veronica Roth. The first movie released in 2014, directed by Gary Ross and starring Shailene Woodley as the titular divergent, Beatrice “Tris” Prior. While the film wasn’t as successful as, say, The Hunger Games, it did manage to turn a profit. The studio decided to move forward with the rest of the series — Insurgent and Allegiant — but opted to split the third book into two parts.
By the time Allegiant released in theaters, interest in the series had waned, and judging by the critical and financial response, the studio decided that making the fourth movie simply wouldn’t be worth it. Instead, the fourth installment, Ascendant, will be repurposed into a TV movie that will lead into a full-fledged TV series. However, there’s the predicament of Woodley and many other cast members choosing not to reprise their roles for the TV movie, so this one’s somewhat iffy at the moment.
1. Resident Evil
It’s no secret that video game movies have had it rough. So far, the Resident Evil franchise is the most successful video game movie series out there, and one of the few that already had a franchise to begin with. Now that Paul W.S. Anderson’s final installment has come and gone, it’s time to look towards the impending TV series.
A few years ago, Constantin Films announced that they will be developing a live-action series based on the Resident Evil franchise following the release of The Last Chapter. Unfortunately, that’s all we know at this stage. But, judging by the studio’s success by adapting The Mortal Instruments for television in the form of Shadowhunters, perhaps their new Resident Evil venture will prove fruitful. If it ends up happening, that is.
Do you know of any other movies that are being adapted for the small screen? How many of the ones we mentioned will actually see the light of day? Sound off in the comments.