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Why are there no new adaptations of John Grisham's work?

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M: The Original
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  • Jake
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    Legal thrillers based on the books by John Grisham are, for me at least, an epitome of smart and tense 1990s summer flicks with credibility added by first rate directors and actors who, from time to time, got some important nominations, including Oscar nods. It seems like Grisham’s work was a hot subject for at least half a decade.

    The Firm (1993)
    The Pelican Brief (1993)
    The Client (1994)
    A Time to Kill (1996)
    The Chamber (1996)
    The Rainmaker (1997)
    The Gingerbread Man (1998)
    Runaway Jury (2003)

    Not to mention 2-3 films that were not legal genre. Since adaptation of “Skipping Christmas” with Jamie Lee Curtis in 2004 there was no new motion picture adaptation despite the fact that John Grisham is still publishing new books.

    Any idea why is that? Is his work not that well received as before? Did the industry change so much that his books are not considered as viable source of entertainment anymore? Did he decide not to give any rights? I don’t know but I’m very curious.

    • This topic was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by  Jake.
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    kingfan011
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    To be fair I haven’t read his novels since he early ones but maybe his ewer ones aren’t that great anymore.

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    M: The Original
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    Because the adaptation of his books became less financially profitable and less critically acclaimed. You need both for Hollywood to continually mine your archive.

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    Atypical
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    Grisham is very protective of his intellectual property, and maybe his pickiness in that regard and/or casting veto rights came back to haunt him. I recall a fairly big controversy way back when where he vetoed Will Smith for one of his leads. The character was white in the book, and he stuck hard to that line. Many thought the move was racist and color-blind casting could have been applied. He never really recovered from that. Plus, his kind of legal thrillers are out-of-fashion ATM, as the book industry is struggling with changing times and reading habits.

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    vinny
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    The Firm (1993)
    The Pelican Brief (1993)
    The Client (1994)
    A Time to Kill (1996)
    The Chamber (1996)
    The Rainmaker (1997)
    The Gingerbread Man (1998)
    Runaway Jury (2003)

    Not to mention 2-3 films that were not legal genre. Since adaptation of “Skipping Christmas” with Jamie Lee Curtis in 2004 there was no new motion picture adaptation despite the fact that John Grisham is still publishing new books.

    forgot The Innocent Man on netflix.

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    Elazul
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    I love me some Susan Sarandon in The Client.

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    Jake
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    forgot The Innocent Man on netflix.

    It’s a TV series, not a motion picture.

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    Jake
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    Grisham is very protective of his intellectual property, and maybe his pickiness in that regard and/or casting veto rights came back to haunt him. I recall a fairly big controversy way back when where he vetoed Will Smith for one of his leads. The character was white in the book, and he stuck hard to that line. Many thought the move was racist and color-blind casting could have been applied. He never really recovered from that. Plus, his kind of legal thrillers are out-of-fashion ATM, as the book industry is struggling with changing times and reading habits.

    It’s interesting what you wrote about Will Smith as I believe the same issues were raised by Grisham when it came to Denzel Washington on “The Pelican Brief” which I think was a great casting choice. Julia Roberts was playing the character he wrote with her in mind, though.

    (And it lead to infamous “I love my life” when Julia was presenting Denzel with an Oscar, a little bonus :D)

    I read that “Runaway Jury”, the last one of his big adaptations and with Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman sharing the screen for the first time, wasn’t successful at the box office so that was probably it. Still, that run of 7 films between 1993 and 1998 was quite something and all of them are good to great films. Hackman played in 3 out of those (“The Firm”, “The Chamber” and “Runaway Jury”) and he always gave great performances. I miss him on screen.

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