Twelve eagerly awaited book-to-screen adaptations coming in 2024

On the list are musicals, sci-fi, Arab mythology and modern romance

From left, stills from upcoming adaptions of It Ends With Us, Bridgerton, Dune and The Colour Purple. Photos: Netflix, Warner Bros Pictures, Getty Images
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Any bookworm will tell you that one of the most exciting things to watch is the adaptation of their favourite novel on the screen.

Saudi fantasy romance novel Hwjn by Ibraheem Abbas is the latest to get that honour. Released this week in Saudi Arabia and scheduled for release in the UAE this month, the story follows a good-natured jinn, named Hwjn, who lives among people in modern-day Jeddah.

As he sets off on a journey to maintain the balance between the human and the jinn world, Hwjn forms a romantic connection with Sawsan, a young medical student, and their bond inadvertently puts all their lives and the balance of the world in jeopardy.

Directed by Yasir Al Yasiri, the film stars Saudi actors Baraa Alem, Nour Alkhadra, Nayef Althifery, Alanoud Saud and Mohsen Mansour.

There are more adaptations to come this year, from musicals based on critically acclaimed novels, to period dramas with a feverish fan base, epic space operas and thrillers.

Here are 12 popular book-to-screen adaptations scheduled for release in 2024.

The End We Start From

As a strange environmental disaster submerges London in water, a woman gives birth to a child.

Based on the thrilling dystopian novel by Megan Hunter, The End We Start From has been adapted into a film starring Jodie Comer and Benedict Cumberbatch.

The story follows the unnamed mother and her baby as they are forced to leave their home and seek shelter as the world drastically changes around them.

Release date: January 18 in cinemas

It Ends With Us

From one of the most prolific writers today, Colleen Hoover’s romance novel It Ends with Us sold more than a million copies when it was released in 2019.

The story follows Lily who, after leaving her hometown for Boston and starting her own business, believes she's found true love with Ryle. Despite his shortcomings, Ryle makes Lily feel special as she attempts to understand who he really is. Simultaneously, Atlas, a man from her past, returns and complicates her life and feelings for Ryle.

The film adaptation stars Blake Lively, Brandon Sklenar and Justin Baldoni, who is also directing the film.

Release date: February 9 in cinemas

Spaceman of Bohemia

Philosophical conversations about love, life and death between an astronaut and an ancient giant spider in the depths of space is the reason why Jaroslav Kalfar’s novel Spaceman of Bohemia was a great success.

The film adaptation starring Adam Sandler follows the same premise of the novel , in which an astronaut, Jakub Prochazka, is sent to the edge of the galaxy to collect mysterious dust.

During his mission, Jakub realises that his life on Earth is falling apart, mainly due to his own ambitions, and he finds solace in a strange voice – a creature in the shadows of his ship who will help him make sense of his life and universe.

Release date: March 1 on Netflix

Dune

The sequel to the Academy Award-winning sci-fi space opera Dune will be released this year.

Based on Frank Herbert’s epic and influential novel, this is the third adaptation to the screen, and arguably the most successful.

The film stars Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides, who arrives on Arrakis after his father accepts the stewardship of the dangerous, arid planet. However, Arrakis is also home to melange, a substance that extends life, enhances mental abilities and is a necessary component for space navigation.

The first film focused on the chaos and betrayal that ensues on the planet as dark forces attempt gain control of melange. In part two, Paul must make alliances with the desert planet’s indigenous people, the Fremen, while discovering his own destiny and special place in the universe.

Release date: March 14 in cinemas

The Three-Body Problem

The first novel in the sci-fi trilogy by Chinese author Liu Cixin is a story that blends action with social and philosophical concepts.

The story begins during a cultural revolution in China that leads to secret military project signals being sent into space. The signal is received by an alien civilisation from a nearby system that has three suns.

The alien civilisation, which is on the edge of destruction, uses the signal to find and invade Earth, setting off a series of events that will change the future for ever.

Release date: March 21 on Netflix

Mickey7

In the adaptation of the popular speculative sci-fi novel by Edward Ashton, acclaimed South Korean writer and director Bong Joon-ho, known for his Academy Award-winning satire Parasite, has taken on the project, which centres on the story of an expendable space traveller.

Mickey Barnes, known as Mickey7 (played by Robert Pattinson), is a space traveller sent on a dangerous mission to colonise the ice world of Niflheim.

In this world, cloning technology is so advanced that when Mickey dies, another version of him is cloned with his memories intact. This makes him the perfect immortal soldier to complete any mission. However, when his latest regeneration goes wrong, Mickey7’s mission and life is put at risk.

Release date: March 29 in cinemas in the US and UK

Bridgerton

Fans of one of the most popular period dramas are getting the season they have been asking for – the love story of Penelope, also known as Lady Whistledown, and Colin Bridgerton.

This season is based on author Julia Quinn’s fourth novel from her Bridgerton series, Romancing Mr Bridgerton, and will be released in two parts, each containing four episodes.

Fans can expect more ballroom dances, salacious gossip and character development wrapped in a love story.

Release date: Part one on May 16 and Part 2 on June 13 on Netflix

Wicked

Are you ready to defy gravity? Perhaps one of the most anticipated films of the year, Wicked starring Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande, already has a large fan base owing to the success of the Broadway musical show.

Loosely based on the 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, the musical was adapted by Winnie Holzman and follows an alternate story of Elphaba Thropp, also known as The Wicked Witch of the East, in the story of The Wizard of Oz.

Elphaba, a woman born with green skin, forms an unlikely friendship with Galinda Upland, the most popular woman at Shiz University, which they both attend to learn sorcery. While the two are completely different, they share a bond that is put to the test as the battle for their homeland of Oz begins.

Release date: November 27 in cinemas

The Color Purple

This is the second screen adaptation of author Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple. Steven Spielberg’s 1985 adaptation, which starred Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, was a critical and blockbuster success. The latest adaptation of the novel is based on the successful stage musical version of the story and stars Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P Henson and Danielle Brooks.

The film centres on Celie Harris-Johnson, who is separated from her sister and married off to an abusive husband. As she starts writing letters to God and her sister, Celie makes new friends with the singer Shug Avery and her strong-willed stepdaughter Sophia, and gathers the strength to fight back, find her sister and discover herself.

Release date: TBC

Ripley

It’s the 1960s in New York and Tom Ripley, a con man among other things, is hired by the wealthy Mr Greenleaf to convince his fun-loving son Dickie to return home from Italy. However, when Tom becomes obsessed with Dickie’s lavish life and friends, he goes down a sinister road to remain part of this intimate clique.

The psychological thriller is based on Patricia Highsmith's 1955 crime novel The Talented Mr. Ripley and the Ripley novel series, which was first adapted for the screen in the 1999 film starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow. The new eight-episode limited series delves more into the details of the novel and will star Andrew Scott, Johnny Flynn and Dakota Fanning.

Release date: TBC on Netflix

Queenie

The novel by Candice Carty-Williams, which received critical and commercial success after its 2019 release, follows Queenie, a Jamaican-British woman living in London who is attempting to figure out her career and love life after a messy break-up.

The bestselling novel has been adapted into an eight-part drama series with Carty-Williams as screen writer, and starring actress Dionne Brown as Queenie.

Release date: TBC on Channel 4 in the UK, Hulu in the US and Disney+ in other countries

Turtles All the Way Down

John Green’s young adult novel debuted at No 1 on The New York Times bestseller list in 2017 and was praised by critics as a modern classic.

The noel follows Aza, 16, who struggles with OCD and intrusive thoughts. As she grapples with the grief of losing her father, she sets off on a search for the fugitive billionaire father of her neighbour Davis, with whom she forms an unlikely and strong bond along the way.

The film adaptation will star actress Isabela Merced and Felix Mallard.

Release date: TBC in cinemas

Updated: January 05, 2024, 6:02 PM