Here is Wikipedia’s introduction paragraph to a what a “movie novelization” is.
“A novelization (or novelisation) is a derivative novel that adapts the story of a work created for another medium, such as a film, TV series, comic strip or video game. Film novelizations were particularly popular before the advent of home video, but continue to find commercial success as part of marketing campaigns for major films. They are often written by accomplished writers based on an early draft of the film’s script and on a tight deadline.”
While most of the above is true, I wouldn’t really refer to a novelization as “derivative,” at least not with the implied scorn the term often brings with it. If anything, when discovering them as a kid, it was because I wanted to know more about the world of a particular movie I was in love with. For example, the novelization to Tim Burton’s BATMAN was mind-blowing to a little 13 year old me after having seen the movie a good 4-5 times in theaters. Eventually, I backtracked and stumbled upon horror-specific ones such as the novelization of HALLOWEEN, based on John Carpenter’s classic film. I was shocked to discover chapters-worth of story that took place within the halls of the sanitarium during Michael Myers’ teenage years!
They don’t make them nearly as much as they used to, but you are bound to find the occasional big movie getting the novelization treatment, such as SUICIDE SQUAD (which is apparently really good!) and THE NICE GUYS. Thankfully, filmmakers Jim Kunz and Stephen Scarlata (JODOROWSKY’S DUNE) are currently in production on a documentary specifically about the long long art of the novelization. But for now, I just wanted to discuss and show off a few of my personal faves in this video!
What are your favorite novelizations? What are the jewels of your collection? Let me know in the comments below!