Wondering if your favorite book is coming to life this year? Find out with our list of 20 book to movie adaptations of 2020.
Lights! Camera! Action!
Hollywood loves to create book to movie adaptations, and honestly, I love watching them. Seeing a book I cherish come to life can be so satisfying … and sometimes so frustrating.
While books becoming movies are not always perfect, I love discovering new stories that I may have missed. Often after viewing a film, I’ll look up the original work to see how the movie compares to the author’s vision.
The book to movie adaptations of 2020 are certainly giving me plenty of food for thought. Featuring both titles I’ve enjoyed and ones of which I’ve never heard, the books becoming movies in 2020 are already filling space in my calendar.
As a caveat, last year when I wrote about the books becoming movies in 2019, I discovered that film studios are constantly changing release dates. These book to movie adaptations of 2020 are currently slated for release next year, but that could easily change at any time. I’ll try my best to stay on top of the release dates and update this post periodically throughout the year.
At least for now, get excited for these 20 book to movie adaptations in 2020 for they’ll be coming to a screen near you sooner than you think.
Book to Movie Adaptations of 2020 – Winter Releases
Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström
January 10, 2020 (US) – Are you ready for more movies based on books by Swedish authors? Following the success of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series, we have a thrilling new story from Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström. After years spent infiltrating the Polish mafia, police officer Piet Hoffman goes undercover as a Swedish prisoner to unravel an amphetamine distribution ring. After a botched drug deal places Hoffman too close to a murder, his cover is at risk when a driven detective inspector takes the case. Titled The Informer, the movie hits US theaters in January.
January 17, 2020 – I’m honestly not sure why we need yet another remake of Hugh Lofting’s Dr. Doolittle, but here we are. This time, Robert Downey, Jr., is tackling the role of the titular doctor, a man who can talk to the animals. Though based on the series as a whole, Dolittle is said to mostly follow the second book in the series, where Dooolite sets off on a voyage. I’ve heard that though fun, the books definitely show their age when you read them, so maybe just skip it and watch the movie. Or not. Dolittle is my least anticipated of the book to movie adaptations of 2020.
January 24, 2020 – Based on the short classic The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, The Turning is set to release early in January. A young governess’s first job is to watch over Miles and Flora, two beautiful but silent children. Yet as time goes on, the governess realizes this English estate is haunted, and the evil phantoms within want the children. I’ve never read this gothic classic, so I have no idea how good it is, but the trailer for the movie looks terrifying.
The Brothers Grimm
January 31, 2020 – Known for their infamous stories with typically brutal endings, the Brothers Grimm are no strangers to book to movie adaptations. In 2020, Gretel and Hansel hits the big screen with the main star being a young Gretel. The story of two children lost in the woods who came to a witch’s gingerbread house, Hansel and Gretel has been adapted many times. It’ll be interesting to see how faithful the latest movie comes to the classic fairy tale.
January 31, 2020 – Mark Burnell’s debut novel The Rhythm Section is one of those stories prime for a book to movie adaptation. Stephanie Patrick’s world is torn asunder when her family is killed in a plane crash. After descending into prostitution, drugs, and alcoholism, she meets a reporter who reveals to her the truth behind the tragic plane crash. Now Stephanie must rediscover herself as she takes on different disguises in a search to find the terrorist responsible.
February 12, 2020 – Following the success of Jenny Han’s first book to movie adaptation, Netflix is pressing forward with the release of the sequel. The lovable heroine Lara Jean returns just as confused as ever. Although she was only pretending to be in love with Peter, she finds she has developed actual feelings for him. At the same time, another past crush arrives to completely muddle the waters of Lara Jean’s love life. Likely as not, we’ll probably see the third book become a movie next year.
February 21, 2020 – Jack London’s short classic tells the story of a dog named Buck. Stolen from his home on a Californian ranch, Buck is sold as a sled dog in Alaska. As Buck progresses through a series of cruel owners, he becomes more and more feral. Can one last kind owner save him or will he give in to the call of the wild?
February 21, 2020 – Jane Austen takes on a more comedic pace in her lighthearted novel Emma. After successfully arranging the marriage of her governess, Emma Woodhouse sets out to expand on her matchmaking career. Immediately her sights fall on Miss Harriet Smith, and Emma plans to find the perfect husband for her new pupil. Hijinks ensue as Emma finds matchmaking is not exactly her expertise. Along the way, Emma herself will discover love is not quite what she was expecting. Of all the book to movie adaptations of 2020, I’m most divided on this one. I love seeing Jane Austen’s beloved novels brought to life, but I’m not sure anyone can top the 1996 version.
J. M. Barrie
February 28, 2020 – J. M. Barrie’s children’s classic is getting another book to movie adaptation in 2020. This time, the film tries to update the tale by focusing on Wendy. Lost on a mysterious island, Wendy meets a young boy and realizes they are stuck in a place where time doesn’t work properly. If you are dying to see yet another take on the classic, Wendy hits theaters in February.
H. G. Wells
February 28, 2020 – Another short classic book to movie adaption in 2020 is H. G. Wells’s The Invisible Man. This short novella tells the story of a scientist named Griffin who figures out how to turn himself invisible. What at first seems like a thrilling adventure quickly becomes a curse as Griffin, unable to connect with others, descends into madness. However, the movie seems to be taking a different take – focusing instead on brilliant scientist Cecilia Kass, who flees her abusive ex. After his apparent suicide, Cecilia begins to feel like she is haunted by an Invisible Man.
Books Becoming Movies in 2020 – Spring And Summer Releases
A. J. Finn
(DELAYED) May 15, 2020 – Imagine Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Rear Window meets the novel The Girl on the Train. 2018’s hottest psychological thriller peeks into the life of Anna Fox, a New York City recluse who, spying on the family across the street, witnesses a shocking event. With its unreliable narrator and layers of secrets, The Woman in the Window will keep you guessing to the end. Hopefully, the movie can do the same.
(DISNEY+ DEBUT) May 29, 2020 – What if you took a megalomaniac teenager and gave him unlimited resources? Artemis Fowl is rich beyond measure, infinitely clever, and the heir of a criminal empire. When he decides to kidnap a fairy to steal her magic, the very organized and high-tech magical kingdom must fight to get her back and keep their secret safe from the human race.
C. S. Forester
(DELAYED) June 12, 2020 – From the author of The African Queen (made famous by the film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn) comes a new book to movie adaption in 2020. During World War II, Commander George Krause is given charge of a North Atlantic convoy. Although he’s served in the Navy for years, he’s never had a wartime assignment before. In the next 48 hours, he’ll be tested to the limit in U-boat infested waters. Starring Tom Hanks, the film version, titled Greyhound, is expected to release in the spring.
August 14, 2020 – At the Big Top Mall lives Ivan, a gorilla who spends his days watching tv and painting pictures which his owner then sells. Ivan dreams of one day living at a zoo instead of being confined in a small cage at the mall. When he witnesses the abuse of a new baby elephant, Ivan hatches a plan to make his dream become reality, not just for himself but for all the animals he lives with. The 2020 book to movie adaptation of this popular Newberry-winning children’s book will hopefully live up to the strength of the novel.
Books to Movies 2020 – Fall Releases
September 18, 2020 – Hollywood had loved doing book to movie adaptations of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series, with such acclaimed actors as Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, Christ Pine, and John Krasinski take the titular role. The latest Tom Clancy film features the backstory of another main character from the series. Before he becomes the infamous Mr. Clark, John Kelly is a Navy SEAL mourning the tragic death of his wife. After another woman he becomes involved with is brutally murdered by a drug ring, Kelly sets out on a revenge spree, determined to bring down the drug lords he holds responsible. Clancy’s books are always thrilling, but we’ll see how well Michael B. Jordan can bring John Kelly’s morally complicated character to life.
October 9, 2020 – Following the success of the 2017 version of Murder on the Orient Express, Hollywood has decided the time is ripe for another Agatha Christie adaptation. Retired expert detective Hercule Poirot embarks on a relaxing vacation to Egypt. Among his fellow passengers is Linnet Ridgeway, one of the wealthiest women in England, who is on her honeymoon with her husband Simon Doyle. Yet all his not bliss for the happy couple, as they have been followed by a vengeful Jacqueline de Belleforte, Linnet’s former best friend and Simon’s former fiance. Add in a cast of suspicious characters and a murder and you get the perfect recipe for an Agatha Christie mystery.
October 9, 2020 – Revered children’s author Roald Dahl has had several book to movie adaptations based on his works (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach to name a few). In 2020, Hollywood is taking on The Witches (again). At first glance, they might just look like ordinary old women, but they are magical beings who hate children. As with all of Dahl’s fantastical storytelling, it’ll be interesting to see how well this quirky story translates to film.
November 13, 2020 – Unwilling to divorce, Vic and Melinda Van Allen agree to save their marriage. As long as Melinda stays, she can have as many lovers as she wants. Inevitably, Vic’s jealous becomes uncontrollable. The couple begins playing mind games with each other, and the people around them begin to die. Trying to top his performance in Gone Girl, Ben Affleck stars in the first erotic release by Disney in years.
December 18, 2020 – What list of the book to movie adaptations in 2020 would be complete without Dune, the novel that took sci fi to a whole new level. Meet Paul Atreides, the heir apparent to the House of Atreides. At the beginning of the novel, his family takes control of the desert planet Arrakis, the source of the most sought after commodity in the galaxy. But power like that breeds many enemies who will stop at nothing to take over Arrakis. Mixing politics, religion, and mysticism with a whole lot of adventure, Herbert sends you on an epic journey worthy of any science fiction reader. Science fiction aficionados have waited for years for a better remake of Dune, so this one could be huge if done well.
December 25, 2020 – After the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd accepts a commission to transport a young girl back to Texas. Raised for years by Kiowa raiders who killed her family, Johanna has no wish to return to her distant relatives. The Kiowas are her family now, and she doesn’t even remember how to speak English. Jiles’s short novel pushes the boundaries on morals and families and, hopefully, the 2020 book to movie adaptation will do the same.
What book to movie adaptations in 2020 are you most excited to see?