Mark Lee at Overthinking It follows up his Words in Books per Second of Movie analysis of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and other successful movies with some additional analysis examining IMDB ratings, plus the trend in adaptations over the decades.
In last week’s article, I started with a simple question: how do book lengths, as measures by word count, compare to their adapted movie run times, as measured by seconds? I was mostly looking for a statistical basis to express my displeasure at The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (and by extension, parts 2 and 3 of this unnecessary trilogy), but I wound up comparing the density of the Hobbit movies, as measured in Words in Book per Second of Movie (WIBPSOM), to other prominent movie adaptations of books: The Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, and the Twilight franchises.
The findings were interesting in and of themselves (TL;DR: The Hobbit Books have way smaller WIBPSOM values than the other franchises), but they begged for a larger scale analysis, both in size of dataset and scope of inquiry. To address the size of the dataset, I found all of the (English language) entries on this list of best-selling books that have theatrically-released, non-silent movie adaptations. After including multiple movie adaptations of the same movie and excluding movies where I couldn’t find any data on book length as measured by word count, I came up with a dataset of 59 movie adaptations of best selling books.
As for scope of inquiry, well, let’s get down to brass tacks: is there any relationship between the density of a book’s movie adaptation, as measured by WIBPSOM, and the quality of the movie, as measured by its IMDB rating?
In a word, the answer to this intriguing question is an emphatic “no.”